house (3:10) He would forget all their hard words and deeds and fill them with bless- ings more than they could ask or think (Sph. 3:19.20). What a reasonable and for- giving God I' III. IT WAS A MESSAGE OF CONSOLA- TION. (1) He had a book of remembrance for them who amid all the base Ingratitude re- vered their God. The LORD listened as they talked to each other about their Father, and how they could trust Him though He slew them (Job 13:15), and said, though the fig tree, the vine, the olive, the field, the flock, the herd, should fail, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy In the GOD of my sal- vation" (Hab. 3:17, 18). Even their loving and trustful thoughts about Him He heard and made note of (3:16). (2) He held them to be His peculiar treasure (Ex. 19:5); "they shall be Mine," He said, "My jewels" in that day, and I'll make them into a glor- ious "royal diadem" (3:16, 17; Isa. 62:3). 3. He told them that Christmas was com- ing; "the LORD whom ye seek," "the Mes- senger of the Covenant whom ye delight in" (3:1); "the Sun of Righteousness with heal- ing in His wings" (4:2) would come. For more about this see Mat. I, and Luke II. But the promise reaches far on to the sec- ond coming, when Israel shall be healed and grow up, and subdue its enemies the wicked (Psa. 2:; Ac. 2:11; 3:19, 20; 15:15, 16; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 2 Thes. 1:5-10; 2:3-14; Rev. 19:11-20:4). Christmas, the real Christmas, has never come yet. carried on the work of restoration during the course of a hundred years plus from the year of liberation. III. PROMINENT CHARACTERISTICS. 1. Israel had nine dynasties comprising nineteen ungodly, idolatrous, immoral kings, who followed their predecessor,. "Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." MisgoVernment, oppression, and persecution marked their reigns. 2. Judah was ruled by eleven kings (and one woman), all of David's line, according to divine promise. These reigns were about equally divided between godly and ungodly sovereigns. The temple being at Jerusalem, the priests naturally gravitated there and conditions were more favorable to. -the old worship. The more prominent kings of Is- rael were Jeroboam, Omri, Ahab, Jehu; the best kings of Judah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Uzziah, Hezekiah. These names re- call much instructive history. IV. THE PROPHETS. Out of the evil good came. And to the feligious conditions of the times we. are in- debted "for the mighty deeds and theocratic teachings of Elijah and Elisha; and for the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezeklel, Daniel and .pther. holy men of God: for many of -the Psalms, and for predictions of good things to come. . V. THE EXAMPLES.' B /"""•. I The character sketches, and Divine deal- ings with the evil, and Tyith the good, men of those times, are full of wisdom, warning and consolation for u§ Sll.
said so much against Thee?" (3:13). Is it not a wonder rthey did not fall dead like Ananias and (Saphira? (Ac. 5:10); or were not swallowed up like the host of Korah?" (Num. 16:31-33). We have many such hypocrites, blasphemers, and infidels today. The long suffering of God leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4). But the day is com- ing for the despisers of GOD'S goodness (Jude 14-16). (7) They were time servers. Not one would shut a door or kindle a fire for the Lord without pay. They said "It is vain to serve God, and what profit is it to keep His ordinance?" (1:10; 3:14). Misfor- tunes natural and. judicial had fallen on them. They sowed "much" and got "little," there were "holes" in their money bags (Hag. 1:6). All was due to their sin and improvidence, but they charged it to God. (8) They were very wicked. Were sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers; defrauders of the poor, of widows and orphans and strangers (3:5). God hates these, but loved them. God loves us. What a God He is! .3. A message of righteousness. (1) Love Is not all tenderness. Love like the LAMB, has wrath (Rev. 6:16). (2) The welfare of the ilock demands the destruction of the wolves. "I will come near to you 'in judgment" (3:5); "For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stub- ble" (4:1). "THEN shall ye discern be- tween the righteous and the wicked" (3:18; Mat. 25:31-33; Rom. 2:5-10; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Thes. 1:6-10). (3) It offered salvation. If they would be obedient and bring the tithes, the honor due to the LORD, into His store- We have 30 minutes in which to cover 52 lessons, which cover 580 years of Jewish history. We can touch only a point here and there, but these should be made to lead somewhere. I. OUR STARTING POINT. This was the division of the glorious king- dom of Solomon, and the breaking up of his empire (1 Kgs. 12); a catastrophe immediately due to the folly of his son, and the perfidy of his servant, but originally by his own apostasy from the theocratic principle and faith of the Hebrew monarchy. II. FOUR PERIODS OF OUR HISTORY. 1. The career of the rival kingdoms as contemporaries. For 260 years their stories run .parallel. Israel fell first by an Assyrian invasion. Samaria and the territory of which it was the capital and metropolis was depopulated, its people being deported to northern Mesoptomia. 2. The second period covers an addi- tional century and a third, during which Judah survived, till in 605 B. C. she fol- lowed her sister kingdom into captivity; Judea and Jerusalem, their population hav- ing been transported to Babylon. iay in des- olation, and the tribes dwelt in sorrowful banishment under Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. 4. The fourth period. Babylon fell 535-7 B. C., and the Medes and Persians took the empire. Cyrus gave the captives liberty to return. About fifty thousand exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabal, a Judean prince, returned. Ezra and Nehe-mlah later
Lesson XIV.—Dec. 31. 1911—REVIEW—1912
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