Week 13

22 - 28 June:
Psalms 64 - 68, 2 Kings, Romans 1 - 11, Proverbs 15

22 June
2 Kings 1 - 4.41Rom 1
23 June
2 Kings 4.42 - 7.20Rom 2
24 June
2 Kings 8 - 10Rom 3 - 4
25 June
2 Kings 11 - 14Rom 5
26 June
2 Kings 15 - 18.12Rom 6 - 7
27 June
Ps 68.12 - 222 Kings 18.13 - 21.26 Rom 8 - 9
28 June
2 Kings 22 - 25Rom 10 - 11


Psalm 64 is an individual prayer for help, with an assertion of confidence in God.
Psalm 65 is a song of joyful praise, reciting all that God does for us.
Psalm 66 celebrates all that God does for his people in a song of praise and thanksgiving.
Psalm 67 gives us a priestly blessing: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.' and its theme is blessing.
Psalm 68 praises God for delivering the people during the wilderness period following the Exodus from Egypt. This may be one of the earliest psalms to be recorded in written form, containing many uncertainties and unusual words.

2 Kings

The story of the kings of Judah in the south and Israel in the north is continued from 1 Kings, covering the loss of first Israel to the Assyrians and then Judah to the Babylonians, with the subsequent deportation of the people. The city of Samaria in the north fell in 722BC, and the ten northern tribes then ceased to exist as a separate nation state.  Meanwhile, in the south, Judah tried to find safety in alliances with Egypt and Babylon, unsuccessfully. The city of Jerusalem was sacked in 597BC, and the state ceased to exist as a separate political entity from 586BC. The temple was destroyed, and most of the governing and wealthy class was taken into exile in Babylon.
2 Kings covers the period of some of the prophets whose words are recorded in the Bible: Amos, Hosea, Isaiah 1-39, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habbakuk and the early part of Jeremiah's life. All of them warned that God's judgement was at hand unless the king and the people took notice of him, and obeyed him. 2 Kings sees the northern kings as almost universally wicked, and most of the southern kings also, leading the people astray by worshipping false gods. 
Prominent themes include the reality of God's judgement against those who are disobedient; that his word, given through his prophets, will be fulfilled; and that he is faithful, remembering his promise to David.

Romans 1 - 11

Rome was the capital of the Roman empire, the most important city in the Roman world, the centre of political, military and economic power. Romans might well be seen as Paul's most important letter, not only because of the position of Rome, but also because here we have a huge wealth of reflection by the Christian church's first theologian. Later theologians, including St Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Karl Barth were all hugely influenced by their engagement with Romans. In 1 Corinthians, Paul warned his readers that they weren't ready for solid food, needing to be given baby's milk still; in Romans, he provides good, solid food.
Paul reflects on God's plan for the salvation of creation, particularly in the light of what we see happening around us and God's promise of redemption. The background against which he wrote includes Platonism, the view that the world is made up of a transitory, material realm, and a permanent spiritual realm. The material realm is evil, the spiritual realm is where God resides. Human nature includes both elements. Another element was the Stoicism which tried to avoid dependency on anything not within one's own control and led to emotional detachment from everything and everyone. Another strand was his Jewish heritage, with its belief that if only people could obey God's law, all would be well.
Paul clearly expected the judgement of God to happen soon, with the return of Christ, and writes in such expectation. He knew God was the Lord of creation, and that the culmination of his lordship would be to bring creation to where it should have been from the beginning. However, he sees this stage as already having begun in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
These first 11 chapters are the story of God's gracious lordship rejected, but then restored in Jesus, focusing on human rebellion and sin, the anticipation of Christ in Abraham's faithfulness, the contrast between Adam's disobedience and Christ's obedience, and how although our past was dominated by sin, we are delivered through baptism into the future in the Holy Spirit, which is now open to the gentiles.

Proverbs 15

How we are inside determines how acceptable our worship and life-style will be to God. Knowing when and how to speak is an important aspect of wisdom.

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