making bread June 20 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Kings 22:47-49; 2Chronicles 20:35-37; 2Kings 1:2-18; 2Kings 3:1-3; 2Kings 2 2Kings 3:4-27; 1Kings 22:42-46; 2Chronicles 20:31-34; 1Kings 22:50; 2Chronicles 21:1-3; 2Kings 8:16-25; 2Chronicles 21:4-20; 2Chronicles 22:1-6; 2Kings 8:26-29

A Little Yeast

Many who have made bread know that just a little yeast mixed in with a batch of dough makes it grow much greater in size. So it is with our lives. Sometimes the little things we do in our lives can affect those of future generations.

A humorous story is told of a mother preparing a ham before baking. Before she put it into the pan, she cut off both ends. Seeing this, her daughter asked her why she did it. “I don’t know. My mother used to do this so I do it,” she said. Later, this girl asked her grandmother why she had cut the ham before putting it into the baking pan. “I don’t know,” replied the grandmother; “that’s the way my mother showed me how to do it, so I did it that way.” The girl’s great grandmother happened to be there with them, and so she asked her great grandmother why she had cut the ham off both ends before putting it in the pan for baking. “Because I did not have a baking pan big enough for the ham to fit in it,” was the reply of the great grandmother. We smile and laugh at such antics, but our children are always watching and copying what we do. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes this is bad. Good King Jehoshaphat ventured with bad relatives, and his example was copied by his sons to the detriment of the nation.

Jehoshaphat helped the kings of Israel fight their battles and made alliances with them. Perhaps he did this in order to maintain good political alliances with Israel, their sister nation. The problem with Jehoshaphat’s thinking was that he was helping an ungodly nation. Israel was following wicked kings, and God was using war with other nations to discipline them.

Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him [Jehoshaphat] and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God” (2Chronicles 19:2-3, NIV).

Do we help the ungodly because they are our neighbors, friends or family? We must be careful not to enable ungodly practices or allow ungodly alliances to affect our lives; a little yeast affects the whole lump.

In today's chronological Bible reading we see Jehoshaphat once again joining in battle with the king of Israel (Ahab's son, Joram) and also the king of Edom. When they run short of water in the desert wilderness, Jehoshaphat insists that they call on Elisha the prophet of the LORD.

Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”

“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the LORD who called us three kings together to hand us over to Moab.”

Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice you” (2Kings 3:12-14, NIV).

Despite Jehoshaphat's unwise alliance, God is gracious to these three kings by miraculously providing water for their armies. As the sun glints on the waters, it looks like blood to the Moabites. This fools them into thinking the Israelites have fought and slaughtered themselves.

But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.

They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it as well. (2Kings 3:24,25, NIV)

If God allows us grace, we must not take it for granted. Little allowances of evil and ungodly compromises can be copied for generations, and God may not always be so gracious. 2Kings 8:16-18 (NIV) gives us the record of the reign and downfall of Jehoshaphat's son:

In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab [emphasis mine]. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Jehoram also kills all of his brothers (this was a frequent practice in Israel and the surrounding nations to remove competition for the throne, but it was never condoned by God). Because he does evil in the eyes of the LORD, God brings enemies upon the kingdom of Judah, and God inflicts him with a horrible disease of the bowels. He dies in terrible pain. He also dies in disgrace; no one wants to come to his funeral, and he is not buried with the other kings of Judah.

The results of Jehoshaphat’s compromises and unwise alliances do not just affect his son; they also affect his grandson, Ahaziah.

Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri [a previous king of Israel]. He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong [emphasis mine]. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father's death they became his advisers, to his undoing. (2Chronicles 22:2-4, NIV)

Ahaziah, like his grandfather, is encouraged to go to war alongside the king of Israel. Joram the king of Israel is wounded in the battle and Ahaziah goes to see him. In our next Bible study we will see how his friendship with Joram becomes disastrous for him.

Lessons to Live By

  • Sometimes the little things that we do in our lives can affect future generations. Therefore, we must make sure what we do is beneficial, not harmful, for our children are always watching and copying what we do.
  • We must be careful not to enable ungodly practices or allow ungodly alliances to affect our lives; a little yeast affects the whole lump.
  • Do we want our children and grandchildren to succeed in life? Then we must set proper examples and not let our ungodly compromises threaten their success. We must not allow allegiance to friends, relatives or even family to come before our allegiance to God.
  • Do we know God? He offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). Following Him leads to a better life.

Focus Verse

1Corinthians 5:6 (NIV) “Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

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A Look Ahead: Should we Avenge Wrongs done against us? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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