For some reason I can’t log in to WordPress on my computer. I’m using my phone right now, but my computer only shows the WordPress logo in grey. It won’t let me comment on other blogs, or post on my own. Anyone else experienced this? I could use some help! 🙂
I Kings 15:1-24, 2 Chronicles 13-16
Baasha, king of Israel, was at war with Asa, king of Judah. King Asa heard that the Israeli army was going to cut them off, preventing anyone from coming in our going out of Judah. So Asa sent silver and gold to Ben-hadad, king of Aram, asking him to break his treaty with Israel, and help the people of Judah.
Here’s the thing. Asa had been doing some pretty good things in Judah. He led his people in worship of God, and removed the idols from the land. But when Asa’s true colors were seen when went he to Ben-hadad for help instead of going to God, the seer Hanani got a word from God to deliver to Asa. The message went something like this:
You blew it, Asa. You didn’t trust God to help you against the Israelites, but you trusted a mere man. So God wants you to know that from here on out, your nation will surely have wars. (16:7-9)
I’d like to tell you that Asa repented when faced with his sin. But he didn’t. In fact, he got mad at Hanani and threw the seer in jail.
I get it. Nobody enjoys hearing they’re wrong. Nobody likes having their sins thrown in their faces. But when we are wrong, and we will be, how we handle the correction is very important.
Asa’s stubbornness led to an illness . Even in this, Asa didn’t turn to God. He turned to the doctors and just tried to side-step the Lord. Not a smart move.
I need to remember that when God points out sin in my life, whether through reading His Word, through a Sunday sermon, or through the voice of a friend, my reaction is crucial. May I not react harshly toward the messenger, but rather repent of that sin.
And may my worship of God come from a heart that wants to please Him, even in those times I have to swallow my pride and admit I’m wrong.
I suggested yesterday that we read Lamentations and consider our relationship, and the relationship of the Church, with God. I was struck again today by what I found in 4:12:
The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
That really scares me.
There are some who believe the Church is invincible because of God’s power. I think that leaves us open for a fall. If we believe the adversary and the enemy can’t enter the doors of the church, we haven’t been paying attention. It’s already happened.
It has nothing to do with God’s power. It has everything to do with our sin.
Once again I feel the urgency of lighting a fire under Christians and shouting WAKE UP! It’s time we identify the enemy and get him out of our pulpits, strip the name “Christian” from him, and call sin sin.
How long are we going to ignore our adversary, or worse – listen to him?
Dear God, help us defeat the one who is impersonating You. He is the adversary, the enemy. Satan isn’t just the power of evil out there in the world. He’s right here in our home. Defeat the evil in us, and in our churches, for Jesus’ sake.
It is likely that, when we read Jeremiah’s lament over the condition of Israel and the devastating consequences they were experiencing as a result of sin, we are tempted to say, “Boy! God was really mad at the Jews.”
But I am reminded that the Bible is not merely a history book. It is alive and active and powerful for today. What was true for the nation of Israel in Jeremiah’s day is still true today for the 2016 Church.
I know there are some wonderful things happening in the name of Jesus throughout the world. I know there are many of you who are standing on the Truth of Scripture, who are sharing the Gospel with boldness. I thank God for you, and praise Him for souls saved because of your faithfulness.
Yet sometimes when I read the Bible I get a sense of urgency. Warning bells go off. Like when I read 2:13b-14:
To what shall I liken you as I comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; who can heal you? Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.
This makes me think about the number of “churches” that have eliminated the word “sin” from their theology. Larger denominations that have accepted, and even promote sin in regards to abortion and homosexuality. The growing number of divorces happening in Christian homes, indicating that a vow to God is meaningless. The emphasis on positive thinking, deserving happiness, taking care of yourself before all others.
I think about the “tolerant” mantra being repeated by people claiming to be Christians, the acceptance of multiple paths to God, the denial of the inerrancy of Scripture, and the idea that Jesus wasn’t really God.
The prophets in Jeremiah’s day spouted false and misleading oracles. And Israel was suffering the consequences for going along with them. We’ve got some of those kinds of prophets yet today. I believe God is very clear to warn us that if we go along with them, we’ll suffer the consequences, too.
I hope you’ll read Lamentations and ask God to speak to your heart about your own relationship with Him, and what your church fellowship is feeding on.
Are we as broken before God over sin in the Church as Jeremiah was over sin in Israel? May it be so.
2 Chronicles 10-12
Rehoboam wasn’t a child when he became king, but he did a very childish thing. Instead of listening to the sound advice of the elders, he listened to the foolishness of his buddies. He established himself as a hard, ego-maniac leader. “Don’t mess with me,” he seems to have said to the people who were working for him.
We all need advice once in a while. I’m thinking of selling my home and I can use all the good advice I can get. But there is all kinds of advice out there. How do you discern the good from the bad?
I believe the Bible is full of good advice. In Scripture we see example after example of what happens when God’s people go to Him before doing anything. When they take time to pray, to seek His face, they are blessed.
It’s when they go it on their own or listen to the advice of others who have not gone to God first, that trouble follows.
I want to know God’s will. So before I talk to a realtor, I’ll talk to God. Before I go talk to the bank, I’ll spend time in God’s Word. I’ll ask my Christian friends to pray for me. And I’ll be careful not to try to push open doors God closes.
If you want my advice, you’ll do the same before you make a decision of any kind.
I Kings 12-14
How important is it that you spend time in God’s Word, that you read it, that you memorize it, and pray for understanding? I Kings 13 has that answer.
If you don’t know what God has said, you will believe anyone who says they’ve had a message from God. You’ll believe that preacher who uses verses to promote his lies. You’ll believe God gave someone an addendum to the Bible, and follow a new religion.
Now here is what God says about that. Just because someone says they’ve had a message from God doesn’t make it so. And if you believe the lie, you will be held accountable.
The prophet of God died because he fell for the lies of a false prophet. God didn’t overlook his disobedience, didn’t say his intentions were good, didn’t say he was sincere, or gave him a pass because he had followed God in the past.
And God won’t say that to any of us, either.
Many times in Scripture God has warned about false prophets. Do you know one when you hear one? They are out there. They are on our TV’s, in social media, they are bloggers, and some are standing behind pulpits in some of our churches.
You won’t recognize their lies if you don’t know Scripture. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, if you haven’t read it yourself. Don’t believe what I say, without reading the passages for yourself. Don’t assume your pastor is true to the Bible if you don’t know what the Bible says.
You have got to know God’s Word, the Scripture He inspired men to write so long ago. This Bible we hold in our hands is the only Truth that matters. Your life depends on your knowing it.
There is an old woman who has been following me around lately. Most of the time I’m not even aware that she’s there. But once in a while I look in the mirror and see her gazing back at me. Sometimes I look down and see her hand holding my pen. Truthfully, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore her. I certainly can’t deny her. I just signed up for MediCare.
The description of a worthy woman here at the end of Ecclesiastes has me examining my life. And before you men out there quit reading this post because you think it doesn’t apply to you, let me remind you that believers are described as “the Bride of Christ.” So don’t think you’ve dodged a bullet. This Scripture is for you, too.
Looking beyond the material description of the Proverbs 31 woman, I want to use it to check my relationship with my eternal Bridegroom.
Can Jesus trust me? Do I represent Him well, or do people see a bit of evil in me? Do I serve Him with delight? Do I care for the people in my home, in my church, in my community? Am I concerned about their souls? Do I put on the whole armor of God, keeping the light of my witness burning? Is Jesus recognized and honored by my neighbors because of me? Do I plant seed by sharing the Gospel? Do I know Scripture so that when I do open my mouth, it’s with wisdom from God?
The proverb tells us beauty is fleeting. It certainly won’t matter how many wrinkles we have when we leave this life to meet our Bridegroom. What will matter is the life I lived while I had the chance.
There are so many things about this Proverbs 31 woman that speaks to our life in Christ. I hope you read it and allow God to speak to you about your own relationship with Him today.