Survey of the Bible: Fall of Samaria and Jerusalem (722-586 BC)

We sang 291 ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds’
Revolutionary times and domination for Judah – hard to imagine and a cause for doubt. Assyrian exile – 3 deportations. 1&2 was the 10 tribes, 3rd included Judah. Babylonian exile – 4 deportations
Isaiah 39 Hezekiah, blessed and delivered but pride arose in his heart: ‘my house’, ‘my treasures’
2 Chron 32 ‘his heart was lifted up’ – severe punishment? Severe sin. We can become proud if blessed! Perverse! See Matthew Henry: blessed Paul needed a thorn in the flesh to help him cope with the revelations given him. How we need to watch over our spirits when others look upon our possessions, it must be in the region of grieving the Spirit. Irony in the punishment upon the sin.
Manasseh’s wicked reign coincided with the rise of Assyria’s Empire. But his repentance was as famous, even in his old age, the mirror image of his father.
We ought not to look to a man. Hezekiah, as a king, was a bad example of godliness. The aggravation of sin! How stupid sin is, pride here – where does that emerge from.
The Lord is a Jealous God, we can measure the seriousness of sin by God’s reaction to it: the fall, the flood, etc.
Calvary itself is the best ‘view’ to get a sense of the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God.
Manasseh repented but the consequences are still in place – sin casting a long shadow.
2 Chron 36:14-17 ’till there was no remedy’ – We face a similar circumstance – as the church and nation descends into ever deeper godlessness. The grace of God sent messengers – those prophets came in a marked concentration during this period. Looking forward – the gospel thread is apparent in the prophecies of course.
Helpful books: Gareth Crossley’s OT, and Alec Motyer’s. We should understand scripture in order to read it. Challenge to read background and context of a book.
Jeremiah’s theme is the certainty of judgement and yet the eternity of God’s love. Jer 7:32-34 vs Jer 29:10-14
‘The terror of law and of God, with me can have nothing to do; my Saviour’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view’.
In Jeremiah we also have the gospel foreshadowed in the way the law is written on the fleshy tables of the heart and it is here that we must guard grieving the Spirit with our pride and other such heart sins.
Looking for the Saviour in the Old Testament, we were reminded, that the Lord as well as Jeremiah wept over the temple’s destruction, both were also accused of treason.


John J Murray: Providence

At the Birmingham Conference.
Popular belief is chance. Biblical truth is God’s providence.
But even Christians fail to recognise providence in ordinary events and nature: we say, ‘Really providential’ for great things.
Flavel’s work on this is based on Ps57:3 but how much more needing to emphasise in this say.
‘Seeing beforehand’ and ordering events presupposing wisdom and power to perform them. See the shorter chatechism. Creation, providence and redemption but the latter is part of, the supreme work of his providence.
All is in his care. Individual Christians and as a church, and all cosmos – 3 ‘windows’ or contexts of God’s activity. Paul in Acts 27. All ships are under God’s care, but that ship was preserved. General providence over Paul’s ship and his life in particular. Rom 11:36
Elements of providence: eternal, sovereign (independence is God’s – not a single act of anyone is outside God’s providence). ‘The God who risks’ – denies foreknowledge of God! If he does not know the future, how can he help us?! Providence is also vast, holy, wise and powerful – brings good out of evil.
The observation of providence. God has two ‘books’: His Word and His Providence. Study them together. Providence is God’s word accomplished.
Also in order to avoid His displeasure. Also so as to praise God – Ps107: their plight and deliverance. We are to praise Got for this. Ps 111: we have pleaSure in these things, we marvel at His deliverance. And so that we look for answers to prayer – look for the signature of your own prayers or backsliding on providences. We come to know God better through these providences: discoving himself suitably: high over us. God owes us no explanations. We owe him implicit trust.
It gives certainty to our work: General Stonewall Jackson: as safe in a battle as in his bed.
The seasonableness of a mercy makes it so much flavour to it. Jesse sent David to the camp, led to defeat of Goliath.
Will God cure Naaman via a little maid? Will the Israelites be freed by a heathen king. Blessings come through several iron gates: Boston had so many problems!
So we must recognise the providence. To deny it is the same as denying his existence.
Flavel: so many professing Christians are practical atheists. God-fearing people think of God’s hand when hard things happen. Turning away from God whereas our forefathers would hold days of prayer and everything governed by a sense of God’s providence: saying ‘Lord willing’, or ‘if all’s well’, saying grace before and after meat. Ps 107: God delivered these people and the summons to praise Him: Ps 107:43
Captivity of Jews was for their good. Each providence comes with the love of God, personally ‘wrapped’, not fate or chance or God setting the universe in order. Warfield’s illustration of a lad playing near a windmill.
Everything is now under the feet of Christ: for his church and believers. 1000 friendly hands are working in the favour of the Christian. Rom8:28
Man-centred age wanting a problem free Christianity. Wimber wants power evangelism and faith curing. But raw perseverance in incredible suffering is the real triumph of faith. The pattern is laid down by Christ himself, leading to more use in the life and then in the glory. Spurgeon: God gets his best soldiers from the highlands of affliction. DM Lloyd-Jones: we are on too good terms with ourselves.
We are chosen in the furnace of affliction. Sickness has been of more use to the Christian than health. Workshop downstairs, showroom above (Ferguson). The dark threads are as necessary as the golden.


Pooyan Mehrshahi on Holiness in the ministry

Birmingham conference Friday afternoon address:
Holiness is what God is. So little deemed by men. 3 times is not repeated about any other attribute. Elect angels had to cover themselves!
God is totally an other.
God makes us holy, by his Word and His Spirit.
Who can preach on this? We in every way are faulty. Shadows afflict our prayer and praises. Only in Him are we accepted 1Pet He cleanses and purifies.
The depth of this truth! Those who claim to be called to this work of the gospel do not reflect this. Life is passing so quickly.
He is our Lord, we are His hosts, we must be like Him. 1st quality in the ministry.
A degree of Christlikeness, more full of the Spirit, more familiar with the Word, more like the Perfect Man – not satisfied with comparing with others. Every morning we must view ourselves in the sight of God. Ministry is not normal work. Holiness sets the tone. Great aim to save men, leaders of God’s people, so should we not have a life beyond the norm! ‘Come up and see Jesus high and lifted up where nought that defiles shall enter’. No ordinary profession! Holy Bible, holy gospel, holy Son, Holy Spirit.
He came to seek and to save that which was lost. We must go beyond.
This holiness is before everything else – before talent, learning (eg. Hebrew roots grow best in dry ground says Spurgeon). Can’t build a ministry upon anything but the Holy God, the precious blood of Christ – the blood of sprinkling that consecrates everything. We tend to get busy. Isiaiah saw this. Godly men: Martyn, McCheyne,
The importance of godliness. Names used by God for his ministers: Pastor, undershepherd – reminds of the One who says he is the Good Shepherd. Same word.
Ambassador: must have been standing in His presence. How much we stand in man’s presence not of God! He cleanses and sanctifies. Entrusted with a message from the holy place, authority from the Holy One. The business is tremendous: message of peace to enemies of God! Need so the clean hands. We the most needy as we serve God!
Stewards: 1 Cor 4:1 of the mysteries of God! ‘Lights’, we are called! Light needs a source. Teachers, witnesses, epistles, ‘that is the minister’, ‘that is his children’, expectation of holiness. Witness in the greek is related to ‘martyr’ – death to self. No regrets on the day – except if we did not die to self more. Can we sustain such names with out holiness?!
What if I upset people? We’re compromising if we stop at that. Holiness in our teaching. Serious business!
We’re speaking about that which is unclean. Mark 1:38-39. He dealt with unholy things. So we must and need to be distinct from evil. Thorough consecration required!
Lives are changed, translated! What should we then be?! A sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved or that perish – who is sufficient? Praise God! Our sufficiency is of God – that He is Holy. We must daily cry and despair of ourselves and go to Christ.
The minister’s work is grandest in the world. None would admit it. But God! The very Son of God came as a minister! Rom 10:14-15
Struggle to keep this before me each day.
Barnabas – such a good man and full of the Holy Ghost. Acts 11:24
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
What about these godly men – what was blessed about it? God’s word channelled through a godly man. One reason for the lack of success is a lack of Christlikeness. How is the closet prayer – pleading with God to be more like Christ. Reviewing my life to grow in holiness. Where Christ is they make impact – turning the world upside down.
Isaiah saw a land in stability fractured by the death of the king. He sees the glory of God, in the midst of threatened judgement, God touches his lips and he was a blessing to millions of souls. May God help us. We live in days that kings have died. We want to see people saved, get people in. People fear men. We must take our gaze up to Him. The puritans served the Lord more in prison than when they were free. What you do as a holy person will last.
Paul – in prison – what could he do?
Those bound at home – they feel helpless. But to see this person pray! Busy, not lazy.
Holiness makes a man to be like God who does not sit. Engaged with God we win battles.
Let us go home and seek God about these things. The Holy God blessing a holy ministry…


Survey of the Bible 11: Assyria rises, Samaria falls (736-722 BC)

Alex Hutter led today’s doctrine class. We sang ‘Great Providence of Heaven’. Most of the study was concerned with 2 Kings 15.

We looked at the way that the kings of Israel were corrupt, often being assassinated, with Israel eventually being vanquished by Assyria and any semblance of their identity as God’s people becoming irrecoverably polluted. Meanwhile Judah operated separately, even wicked king Ahaz being allowed to continue the Davidic line and the threats to that countered by God to preserve His promise to David.

There were a number of points of doctrine that emerged from this theme. Firstly, that God keeps His word – He means what he says. This is so different to the vacillating of men. Jehu had been promised the throne until the fourth generation and that is exactly what happened:

10     And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him [Zachari’ah], and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
12     This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. (see 2 Kgs. 10.30) And so it came to pass.

These thoughts showed something of the outworking of a correct view of God’s sovreignty and man’s responsibility. The decree of God was ordained from the foundation of the world but the mess of Israel’s kings was clearly the product of their own sin. We see our own modern society reflecting exactly what God’s word in Romans says will become of us if we reject God as generation follows generation and even ‘respectability’ is flouted and abject sin insinuates further into every aspect of life. Christians must take their position as God’s children seriously and avoid grieving the Spirit. Sin’s consequences are devastating: what a mess that Israel became. A long time before the Lord Jesus met the Samaritan woman, it could have been said:

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:22

We touched on the importance of the church and Christians to walk closely with God, not to settle for living ‘at ease in Zion’ – there is too much at stake.


Survey of the Bible 10: Uzziah (786BC-736BC)

With Hendriksen as our guide, we take our focus on two aims:

  1. Trace the Christ in the old testament
  2. Become more date-conscious

1. Dawn of history to the Flood (4004-2328 BC)
2. Flood to call of Abraham (2328-2094 BC)
3. Call of Abraham to Descent to Egypt (2094-1879 BC)
4. Descent to Egypt to the Exodus (1879-1449 BC)
5. The Exodus to Joshua’s death (1449-1388 BC)
6. Death of Joshua to King Saul (1388-1052 BC)
7. Saul, David Solomon (1052-932 BC)
8. Rehoboam and Jereboam (932-722 BC) 210 years
9. Omri and Hazael (886-786 BC) 100 years Alliances between Is and Judah
10. Uzziah (786-736)  50 years “The glamor years”

1700 years from Creation (4000BC) to Flood (2300BC)
1000 years each from Abraham (2000BC) to David (1000BC) to Christ.
Exodus was 1450BC

Mike Taylor’s charts are helpful:

  1. Timeline: Prophets in the Reigns of Kings of Judah and Israel
  2. Major Events in the Reigns of the Kings
  3. The Messages of the Prophets

Read 2 Chronicles 26

Q. Why does Hendriksen focus on this section of the survey?
52 year-long reign?
Notable godliness?

Q. Having read the chapter, what was Judah like in those days?
Take a look in Amos
Amos 2:4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:

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