Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 7 June 18:
1. 1 Kings 1:6 – [And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the Lord, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”] Idolatry is placing your trust in something other than God or valuing something more than God. God takes that VERY seriously.
2. 2 Kings 1:7 — “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” Where do you go for answers?
3. 2 Kings 1:10 — “Fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” There are consequences from being led by the ungodly. Bad leaders can lead men counter to God’s will and into inevitable demise.
4. 2 Kings 1:13 — “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight.” God shows mercy to those who ask with a genuine heart.
5. 2 Kings 2:2 — “But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.'” Godly love and devotion towards others is permanent. Godly love is covenantal vice contractual.
6. 2 Kings 2:5 — “The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know it; keep quiet.’” God reveals His plans to His prophets. God’s prophets knew what God was going to do. God has given you His word and the counsel of the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you. What has God revealed to you?
7. 2 Kings 2:11 — “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Elijah did not die.
8. 2 kings 2:12 — “Elisha saw it….” The Holy Spirit enabled Elisha to see within the spiritual realm things that could not be seen in the flesh.
9. 2 Kings 2:15 — “Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.” God uses miracles to validate or legitimize His prophets before others.
10. 2 Kings 2:24 — “He cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.” Holiness demands respect. Disrespecting a true prophet of God is a dangerous thing. Even God’s creation is against that offender.
11. Proverbs 7:1-6 — God’s invitation to wisdom is offered to every person.
12. Proverbs 7:22-27 — Real sex education teaches that love waits for marriage, that sex is for marriage between one man and one woman, and that there are eternal dangers to illicit lust and sex. Most children in America are taught sex education in public institutions that start with the mandated premise that God is not part of the equation. Christians in America have allowed this to happen in general silence.
13. Proverbs 7:27 — Where does immorality lead?
14. 2 Corinthians 10:1 — “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Do you challenge others in meekness, gentleness, and humility?
15. 2 Corinthians 10:2-4 — Your enemy is not the offensive sinner but rather the evil powers controlling that captive sinner – never forget that.
16. 2 Corinthians 10:4 — “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” We are fighting a spiritual battle with Holy Spirit power, not through human abilities. We are fighting an insurgency to conquer the kingdoms around us, one heart at a time. At the commencement of his earthly ministry, Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom was at hand, and the Bible calls us a “kingdom of priests” or “priestly kingdom.” Daniel told king Nebuchadnezzar, “In the time of those kings, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 22:45) Daniel would later proclaim, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations, and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed…. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.” (Daniel 7:13, 14, 27) Note that when Jesus gave the Great Commission, he started with this proclamation: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and he ends with this: “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) King Jesus called his subjects to spread throughout the world as Ambassadors of his Kingdom and to advance the Kingdom of God from within the worldly kingdoms. As Micah prophesied, “The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.” (Micah 5:7-9) The physical Kingdom will not be fully established on earth until the return of Jesus Christ, but the spiritual kingdom is established, Jesus Chris is King, and you, Christian, are his Ambassador, and priest on earth, preparing others for his return. Is that our focus today? Is your allegiance to the Kingdom of God? Are you fulfilling your role in the Kingdom? Are you focused on advancing the Kingdom? Are you united with fellow subjects on the Kingdom? Do you have unity of effort with the other subjects around you? Will you live intentionally today? Are you preparing yourself to be worthy to reign with the Lord when he returns? How should the reality of who you are in Christ change your outlook today and your approach the world? Jonathans, get your armor bearers and advance boldly! Armor-bearers: find your Jonathans and join in the fight boldly with all of your heart and soul! “’The time has come,’” he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15)
– 1 Samuel 14:6 – Jonathan said, to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
17. 2 Corinthians 10:5 — Are your thoughts captive to Christ?
18. 2 Corinthians 10:7-10 — We are not empowered by the strength of our personalities or human abilities but rather by the power and authority of Jesus Christ. This is power far beyond anyone’s perceptions or imaginations.
19. 2 Corinthians 10:12 — “But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” How foolish is it for us to judge our own “goodness” based on what we see in others, by comparing ourselves to the “goodness” of other sinners? This is like one mass murderer who has ruthlessly killed ninety-nine people feeling more righteous than the one who has killed one hundred people. This is like two infants arguing over who is the most grown up. We are all sinners, equally unworthy. Our example with which to compare ourselves is Jesus Christ. Fortunately, our salvation does not depend on our righteousness but rather the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. But God calls us to, under grace, pursue righteousness and holiness. It makes no difference what we think of ourselves or what others think of us. All that matters is how God sees us. For those who have been born again, God sees us cloaked in the righteousness of His One and Only Son. Boast in the Lord!
20. 2 Corinthians 10:17, 18 (2 Kings 2:24) — “’Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” It is a shameful, idolatrous, and sinful thing for a Christian to ever boast of their own abilities, even when they fake humility by giving God the credit for how good they are. God shares credit with no one, and we are nothing of ourselves. Never boast with personal pronouns – “I” or “me.” All glory goes to God on earth. It’s not about you. Do not draw attention to yourself, only to Jesus. Do not praise yourself, only Jesus. Examine yourself every time you say “I” or “me” to be sure you are not boasting. Every time you are tempted, replace those personal pronouns with “Jesus Christ.” When you proclaim only Jesus, you lose friends and employment opportunities because you will be seen as a fanatic. However, you will be on a new, much greater path.
21. 2 Corinthians 10:18 — “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” From Henry T. Blackaby: “It is common for us all to seek approval for our actions….. Paul said that he was not striving to obtain the approval of people. Some of his critics thought their criticisms could determine what he did. Yet these same people were praising themselves for their own opinions and behavior. They were seeking the approval of others, and they were receiving it. Jesus said that those who seek to gain the approval of others ‘have their own reward’ (Matt. 6:2–5). Paul, too, realized that achieving the praise of others is not difficult, but earning God’s approval is a far greater accomplishment. The affirmation ‘Well done!’ that Jesus received from the Father became Paul’s goal as well (2 Tim. 2:3–5). Paul knew that self-approval is not hard to attain. Paul himself had once been pleased with his own life, until he came to realize that the righteousness he was so proud of was mere rubbish in the kingdom of God (Phil. 3:8). After his conversion, Paul understood that God’s evaluation of his actions was what mattered, not his own opinion of himself. Whose opinion matters most to you? Have you become complacent, enjoying the approval of those around you? Have you become satisfied with your estimation of the way you are living? The commendation that matters most is the one that comes from God. The pleasure that your life gives to God should be your motivation to live righteously.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 June: See if you can avoid talking about yourself or taking credit for anything today. Don’t use the words “I” or “me” in conversation. Instead talk about Jesus. (2 Corinthians 10:17, 18) Also, focus on being a reconciler today. Remember, God has given you the message of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:16-31) Don’t look at others from a human perspective but rather from a spiritual point of view, understanding that their attitude problems are spiritual problems. Remember, you are engaged in a spiritual battle. The person who offends you is not the enemy but rather the objective, someone who is trapped in sin and suffering. Work through the Spirit to lead that person towards Jesus, regardless of how they treat you. Be a reconciler. (2 Cor 10:4)