Guide Me In Your Truth and Teach Me

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2 CHRONICLES 30:1-31:21 | ROMANS 15:1-22 | PSALM 25:1-15 | PROVERBS 20:13-15

Hezekiah, the good king of Judah, decides not only to clean house, but to also observe the Passover in grand-style.  He sends out proclamations throughout the land, even to those up in the north who, albeit belonging to the twelve tribes of Israel, have their own king of Israel and have not always had the most cordial of relations with Judah. 

Hezekiah’s message to the people is as follows:  “People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the LORD, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the LORD. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the LORD, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”

And so, the people come, and the festivities begin, and after all is said and done, the event is undoubtedly considered a great success. 

The text says, 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place. 

Furthermore, Hezekiah took steps to ensure that the priesthood was well-provided for, and that there were sufficient resources for the maintenance of the Temple and for those who served within it by contributing to the coffers set up exclusively for the Temple, and also in encouraging the people to do so.  This would have taken considerable planning and oversight, and we get the impression that Hezekiah took this task quite seriously. 

The chapter ends with this note about Hezekiah’s efforts:  20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

Turning now to our reading in the book of Romans, we find Paul continuing to exhort his readers to do a good turn toward their neighbors. 

He says, 1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 

Furthermore, he encourages his Jewish brethren to continue to accept the new non-Jewish believers into the fold.  He says, 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

Paul goes on to assert his own mission and ministry to the non-Jews, i.e., the Gentiles.  He sees it as his life’s purpose and work, and wishes to remind the reader that he has been busy attending to his calling, which is one of the reasons why he hasn’t had the time to visit them more frequently. 

Paul says, 17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written:

   “Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”

Turning now to our psalm of the day, we find one in which David is plaintively asking the Lord for help in his hour of need.  Simple and direct is his prayer; a timeless one that is as good today as it was in the day it was penned.  Like David, may we also say:

4 Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, LORD, are good.

The psalmist is accepting of the Lord’s ways, and these verses may seem to be a type of consolation to one’s self:

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

And finally, David is unwavering in his faith in the Lord to bring about only the very best as the final outcome.  He says:

12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs in which Solomon, the wise king of Israel, offers this definition of wealth and wisdom:

15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

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