WEEK 22, Day 7, Sunday, 3 June 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 3 June 18:

1. 1 Kings 15:3 – “And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him.” The Bible continually reminds us of how important parenting is to the development of our future leaders.

2. 1 Kings 15:3 — “His heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.” God desires “wholehearted” disciples.

3. 1 Kings 15:13 – “He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.” People aren’t helpless victims of their childhood upbringing and experiences. You can overcome the character flaws that were ingrained in you from childhood, and you can reject the sinful practices you were taught. Many people had rough upbringings, but, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they can create a new legacy for future generations.

4. 1 Kings 15:13 — “He also removed Maacah his mother.” We should allow no other relationship compromise our fidelity to God.

5. 1 Kings 15:14 — “But the high places were not taken away.” We must be very careful to remove anything from our lives that might cause ourselves or others to sin. Even if we can handle a temptation, we don’t want to cause others to stumble. Do you still have ‘high places’ in your life?

6. 1 Kings 15:18. 19 — “Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house and gave them into the hands of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, ‘Let there be a covenant between me and you [against the king of Israel]….” Asa’s actions should have been unthinkable: not only did he essentially sell out God’s people to Damascus, but he use the Temple Treasury to do it — Wow! At this point, however, the people of Israel and Judah had drifted so far away from God that the “good” leaders are nowhere near God’s standards. Asa may have seemed “great” compared to the rest, but he was still leading the people down the path of destruction. The statement made earlier about Abijah is probably the most important statement in our readings today: “his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” This statement stands in stark contrast with what is said of Joshua and Caleb who “followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” Partial obedience is disobedience, and partial commitment and compromise leads to destruction and ruin. As a people move farther and farther away from God, the “smaller” God appears in their eyes and the more irrelevant sin becomes in their eyes — but God’s perspective remains unchanged. Rather than placing his trust in God, Asa placed his trust in armies, economies, treaties, alliances, and politics. He did what was “right” from his perspective rather than from God’s standard. Aram was building a kingdom upon a foundation of sand rather than the Rock. Our Kingdom is not of this world. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.

7. 1 Kings 15:23 – “Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?” Notice that God’s word spends much more time on Asa’s obedience to God than on his royal achievements as king. Success is fidelity to God. What was the last thing Solomon want to say to the world at the end of his life? “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

8. 1 Kings 15:30 – “It was for the sins of Jeroboam that he sinned and that he made Israel to sin, and because of the anger to which he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel.” Your sins can have a terrible influence on many people and many generations. We take sin far too lightly.

9. 1 Kings 16:2 — “Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins.” Sin makes God angry. Leaders are held to a higher standard by God. God calls all Christians to be leaders, “priests.”

10. 1 Kings 16:3 – “I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” The Bible repeats the warning that sin has a devastating impact on family for generations.

11. 1 Kings 16:12, 13 — “Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet, for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel to sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols.” Again, we see that God uses ungodly people to punish other ungodly people. God will still hold accountable the ungodly people He used for His purposes.

12. 1 Kings 16:25, 30, 33 — Sin without repentance gives rise to even greater sin.

13. 1 Kings 16:26 – Again, your sin can cause others to sin.

14. 1 Kings 16:34 — “He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.” See Joshua 6:26 – “Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.’” God keeps His promises of blessings and curses through the generations. His commands and warnings apply to all, whether they know about them or not, whether they believe in them or not.

15. Proverbs 3:3 – “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Love and faithfulness go together. The level of your fidelity reveals the level of your genuine love.

16. Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We must walk in faith and not in our own understanding.

17. Proverbs 3:7 – “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” From the day Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the Apple, human wisdom has been founded on the lie that we can discern right from wrong, good from evil for ourselves. Godly wisdom trusts God, The Author of Truth, with right and wrong, good and evil. To fear the LORD is to turn away from evil, as defined by God’s word. To love God is to obey His word, regardless of our own reasoning. If we entertain sin, our wisdom is foolishness, and our love is flawed.

18. Proverbs 3:6-8 — Faith is trusting God’s word over your own knowledge, observations, instincts, or feelings.

19. Proverbs 3:11, 12 – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Faith believes that when God punishes His children, it is always from a position of perfect love.

20. Proverbs 3:11, 12 — Hard times might actually be God’s act of love towards you.

21. Proverbs 3:17 – “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Wisdom brings pleasantness and peace.

22. Proverbs 3:27, 28 — Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” God expects you to meet the needs of others if you have the ability, with no delay. Don’t overthink it. If they need it, and you have it, give it.

23. Proverbs 3:32 – “…the upright are in his confidence.” Are you close enough to God to hear His whisper? God confides in the upright.

24. Psalm 65:4 – “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!”

– God chose you before you chose Him.

– You are blessed by God when you go to church.

– “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house….” Do you know anyone who is never satisfied with how the church services is run? Criticism reveals more about the critic than it does the critiqued.

25. Psalm 65:5 — “By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation.” Our God is a righteous God who reigns in perfect righteousness. In our gratitude for His mercy and grace, we must not make light of His righteousness. Today we read that Ahab considered it a “light thing” to walk in sin and “did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:33) We must never consider sin to be a “light thing” and in so doing mock, test, and dishonor our God. God will always deal with unrighteousness. Today, David says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! (Psalm 66:16-20) If you are cherishing sin in your heart, deal with it today through humble repentance.

– Hebrews 10:26-31 — For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

26. Psalm 65:6-13 — Consider how God has richly and perfectly provided for mankind. How could we not praise Him?

27. Psalm 66:10-12 — God will allow you to go through great trials to refine you like silver. Trust Him. Don’t resent His discipline.

28. Psalm 65:13-15 — The more you truly appreciate God, the more you want to worship and obey Him.

29. Psalm 66:18 – “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Don’t let sinful desires hinder your prayers. You cannot choose sin over God and expect to have a meaningful relationship with Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 June: Choose God over self and over sin today. Give it all up to God today in appreciation for what Jesus has done for you. Live in joyful obedience today. (Psalm 66:18)

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