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Day 106 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Second Kings and Psalms.
2 Kings 18 & 19 – In whom do we trust, really trust, when we encounter the great trials of life? This is the important question set before God’s people in these two chapters (18:20; 19:10). The northern ten tribes of Israel had been destroyed and sent into exile by Assyria. Now, only Judah remained in the south, and the southern kingdom was also confronted by the threat from Assyria. It appears that in Judah there were fewer than two thousand men able to mount horses and defend the land. By way of contrast, there were more than 185,000 people in the Assyrian army. By any human estimate, Judah did not stand a chance.
The conflict began as a battle of words, almost like something that occurs in our own minds as we face difficulties: “Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria” (18:19) versus “Thus says the Lord” (19:6). The battle rages as we listen to various competing voices. The foreign king promises godlike deliverance for Judah, even a new promised land (18:31–32). The foreign king mocks the gods of his former rivals and characterizes the one true God in the same manner (18:33–35). But in those times when all other hope is exhausted, the Lord is pleased to deliver His people as they seek His face in prayer (19:14–19).
When the Lord delivers in this way, He does so to make known His own greatness (19:19), for His own sake, and for the sake of the promises He made to David (19:34). At first glance this might seem selfish, but it is really great news for the family of God as its members encounter trials and difficulties in life. As the adopted children of the living God, we also bear His name and exult in His greatness. Since we are united to Jesus, the true and better David (Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 22:16), we share in the promises to God’s people.
By God’s grace, because we bear His name and have received His promises, we can be assured of His great salvation. To prove this point, the Lord went out and instantly killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, exalting His name and delivering His people.
Ultimately, God exalts His name and delivers His people once and for all through the crucifixion and resurrection of His own Son.
In whom do you trust?
Psalm 106 – This Psalm carries forward the historical narrative summarized also in Psalms 78 and 105. This Psalm highlights the contrast between the faithfulness of God and the faithlessness of His people. Over and again, although His people turn from Him, disobey, rebel, and go after other gods, the covenant God of Israel demonstrates His commitment and steadfast love (grace), even though discipline and judgment sometimes must precede reconciliation and restoration.
God’s final word to His people—that is, to His disobedient, wayward people—is not the word of judgment they deserve. Rather, it is a word of their gracious renewal and glorious restoration. No wonder, then, His people are beckoned to “praise the Lord” and “give thanks to the Lord.” His steadfast love indeed endures forever, and His mighty deeds indeed display the wonder of His righteous character.
Although the justice and judgment of God are on display in this Psalm in response to the nearly continual rebellion of His people, in the end God does not forsake those who are His own. Rather, even in the distress brought upon them by God’s own judgment of them, we read, “Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress, when He heard their cry. For their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the abundance of His steadfast love.”
What horrid sin His people have committed! But what amazing grace was granted them for their forgiveness and renewal—and we know this grace in its apex appearance in Jesus. The words of Paul, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20), surely do capture the final message of this Psalm. Indeed, “let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ Praise the Lord!”
The real evidence that we understand grace is not an increased desire to sin more, but less. When we understand the magnitude of God’s steadfast love towards us, we will desire all the more to turn away from the sin that is bent on destroying us. This is the true evidence of grace—the desire to worship Jesus more and live in the true freedom He has purchased for us!
How will you serve others through your freedom in Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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