Psalm 25:1–7; 2 Chronicles 21:18–23:21; Acts 22:17–29

Psalm 25:1–7: The first stanza of this psalm provides us an beautiful example of an intimate prayer to God. Even though it’s unlikely that David actually wrote this psalm, its tone is certainly consistent with the king we come to know—a king who followed God, but was nevertheless a sinner who recognizes his sins:
To You, O Lord, I lift my heart.
My God, in You I trust. Let me not be shamed,
let my enemies not gloat over me.” (1b,2)

Shame arises when we recognize that we have sinned—a recognition that seems to occur less and less among public figures in our culture. Our psalmist extends this supplication to not be shamed to everyone who comes to God n prayer: “Yes, let all who hope in You be not shamed.” (3a) This is an invitation that the psalmist has extended to each of us. But it requires recognizing that we, like David, are sinners.

On the other hand, David prays, “Let the treacherous be shamed, empty-handed.” (3b) Of course now as then, the treacherous never seem to know shame.

The tone of the prayer shifts to a more intellectual footing as the psalmist prays to learn—and follow—God’s truth and God’s law:
Your ways, O Lord, inform me,
Your paths, instruct me.
Lead me in Your truth and instruct me…” (4,5a)

But above all else, God is where rescue and hope is found:
…for You are the God of my rescue.
In You do I hope every day.” (5b)

That hope arises from memory—ours to be sure, but the psalmist also calls upon God’s memory, and how he has forgiven past sins
Recall Your mercies, O Lord,
and Your kindnesses—they are forever.” (6)

At the same time, we see that it is entirely proper to pray for God’s forgiveness, expressed here as God forgetting our previous wrongdoings:
My youth’s offenses and my crimes recall not.
In Your kindness, recall me—You;
for the sake of Your goodness, O Lord.” (7)

There are two great themes that come together here: our recognition that we have sinned and God’s forgiveness expressed as God forgetting that we have sinned. But it’s worth noting that while God may forget our sins, we cannot escape the have consequences of our sins.

2 Chronicles 21:18–23:21: King Jehoram dies an agonizing death, whose symptoms sound like colon cancer. But perhaps even worse than death itself is that after a disastrous eight year reign, his subjects were glad to see him go: “He departed with no one’s regret.” (21:20)

Ahaziah is crowned king by the inhabitants of Jerusalem but reigns only one year as “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” (22:4a) He was obviously a morally weak character and “after the death of his father [the followers of Ahab] were his counselors, to his ruin.” (22:4b) Our authors are incredulous at Azahiah’s credulity in following the advice of the Ahab counselors: “He even followed their advice, and went with Jehoram son of King Ahab of Israel to make war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead.” (22:5)

However, it was not the battle that causes Ahaziah’s downfall, rather “it was ordained by God that the downfall of Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit Joram.” (22:7)  There, Jehu kills Ahaziah and as a result there was no successor “able to rule the kingdom.” (9)

In this power vacuum, Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah,  seizes the throne and “set about to destroy all the royal family of the house of Judah.” (10) But the Jeroham’s daughter “took Joash son of Ahaziah, and stole him away” (11) thus saving one heir from the line of David by hiding him with the priest Jehoiada.

Six years later, “Jehoiada took courage” and gathers the leaders of Judah and “the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God.” (23:2) I’m sure that they had suffered enough under Athaliah and were only too happy to undertake a palace coup. The assembly crowns Joash as king and they form a continuous guard around Joash since they knew Athaliah would seek to kill him.

Athaliah hears the rejoicing now that Joash has been crowned king and cries,”Treason, Treason.” (13) But she has no allies.They seize her and Jehoida instructs the soldiers not to kill her in the temple. They take her out to a city gate and murder her.

Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people.” (17) The Baal idols are torn down, Joash is placed on the throne and “all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been killed with the sword.” (21) Thus, once again an ancestor of David reigns in Judah, but it was certainly a close call.

Acts 22:17–29: Paul continues telling his autobiography to the Jewish crowd, relating how while he was praying in the temple at Jerusalem, “I fell into a trance and saw Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’” (17, 18) He then tells the Jewish crowd that Jesus sent him to the Gentiles.

This story enrages the Jewish crowd. They shout, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” (22) Paul is dragged to the Roman barracks and about to be flogged so the tribune could learn the reason for the riot. After they tie him up, ready to be flogged, Paul rather calmly asks, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?” (25) The centurion carries the news to the tribune, who comes and asks Paul if he’s a Roman citizen. Paul replies that he was born a Roman citizen, (unlike the tribune who had to buy his citizenship).

The fact of Paul’s Roman citizenship causes the tribune to be afraid, “for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.” (29)

But I’ve always wondered: did Paul have documentation showing he was a Roman citizen or was simply verbally asserting Roman citizenship sufficient?

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