Year: 2022

Amos 3-5

Have you been on trips through areas where every few miles there is a place marked “scenic view” or “historical landmark”? You want to stop but you don’t and always say, “The next time I make this drive I am going to allow some margin for pulling off and seeing what is there.” But we don’t. That is how I feel about these passages. I would love to stop along the way but there is too much to cover. ...[Read More]

Amos 1-2

This morning we begin a four week study in the book of Amos – one of the twelve minor prophets. Why do we call them the minor prophets? Is it because they are less important or seen as the second team supporting Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel? No, they were first called the minor prophets in the 5th century by St. Augustine and the designation has remained. Why did he call them the min ...[Read More]

2 Kings 17

The last several years of the Northern Kingdom were a chain of disasters. (Remember, it is only after the fall of the Northern Kingdom that we refer to the whole nation as Israel. Up until now, only the Northern Kingdom is called Israel while the Southern Kingdom is called Judah.) Here is the list of kings of Israel in those final days: Zechariah reigned six months and was assassinated. Shallum re ...[Read More]

2 Kings 12

It is 413 years from the death of Solomon to the fall of Jerusalem and our text for today is just around 120 years after Solomon’s death. While many of the kings are direct descendants of previous kings, the history of Judah is filled with assassinations, coups, attempted coups, insurrections and illegitimate rulers. It’s a mess. From Solomon to the fall of Jerusalem there are only a handful of ki ...[Read More]

Elisha and Gehazi

Following the story in 2 King’s 5 of Elisha’s curing Naaman, the commander of the king of Aram’s army, of leprosy is the story of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha. I’ve known people who had such discernment and sensitivity they could instantly know when things were not going well or someone was shading the truth or telling a lie. My mother was that way. I don’t know how she knew but she could look at ...[Read More]

1 Kings 17-22

Every prophet lives in a context. Some, like Nathan, are only called on one time to correct a king who is a man after God’s own heart. Others, like Jeremiah, are called to serve when a whole nation is on the brink of disaster and his whole life is given over to conflict, persecution, hatred, obstruction and then an unknown death. Like the book of Hebrews says, “Some faced jeers and flogging, while ...[Read More]

The Ways of Jeroboam

Partly as a response to the division of the country and the crisis of loyalty caused by the Civil War, Francis Bellamy, the son of a Baptist minister, was given the assignment in 1892 to write a Pledge of Allegiance to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. It was very simple: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands—one Natio ...[Read More]

1 Kings 11:1-13

My travel agent informed me this week that for people my age to rent a car in Ireland we must now provide proof that we are not only fully insured but a statement from our doctor that we are healthy enough to drive. I believe I have graduated to a different status in life. I am now elderly. Elderly is better than simply old. Elderly means exactly that. It means I have the opportunity now of being ...[Read More]

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

This is our last week in Thessalonians. Next week we will start the new series on 1 and 2 Kings. Paul rarely uses the word “command” in his letters. More often than not he will use “urge” as he does in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. Sometimes, he uses the word “appeal” as in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 Corinthians 10. Now and then he will actually use the word “plead” as he does in Galatians 4 and then in a ...[Read More]

2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

This is our next to last lesson in the two letters to the Thessalonians.  Paul has finished correcting some of the rumors that had been flying around the church about the end times and all of the speculation which was unhealthy and unhelpful. He has told them how thankful he is for them and how they are to stand firm and hold on to the teachings he passed on to them. Then, he underscores that by s ...[Read More]