Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 8 June 18:
1. 2 Kings 3:3 — “Nevertheless, he clung to the sin.” Character cannot be compartmentalized. All the good you do in one area of your life will not make up for the bad you continue to do in another area of your life. To claim a virtue as part of your character, you must be consistent in it. How many times does a person have to lie before they are viewed as dishonest? Trust is hard to earn but easily lost.
– Proverbs 25:26 — Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
2. 2 Kings 3:4-10 — Trouble often plagues you because you don’t consult the Lord before making decisions.
3. 2 Kings 3:7 — “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Jehoshaphat partnered with Jehoram. But before the Bible records Jehoshaphat’s commitment to Jehoram, it makes this statement about Jehoram: “…he clung to sin… which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.” We will see later that by partnering with sinful people, Jehoshaphat compromised himself and got entangled in affairs that were not what God desired for Him and that would only cause him pain. Who do you partner with in business and in life matters?
– 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
4. 2 Kings 3:11-12 — God makes His word available to you. What you do with it is your choice.
5. 2 Kings 3:13 – “And Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.’ But the king of Israel said to him, ‘No; it is the Lord who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.’” The king of Israel had no desire to hear from God until disaster was apparently at hand. The king was “religious” but his religion had the “form of godliness but without power (2 Tim 3:5).” In this time of calamity, Jehoshaphat convinced him to seek true counsel from the Lord through his prophet. Only because of the faithfulness of Jehoshaphat was this ungodly king saved.
– As opposed to the king of Israel who was a “church goer” and public figure, Elisha was known by all as a true “prophet of the Lord.” He had no interest in the affairs of men and was no respecter of men. The Lord used him in a mighty way to bring glory to Himself.
– In Corinthians Paul warns the church not to be captivated and mislead by false prophets who are talented speakers and dynamic leaders but who in fact serve themselves rather than God and who glorify themselves rather than God. Paul was not a dynamic, charismatic leader, but was sold out for the Lord. The Lord used him in a mighty way to bring glory to Himself.
– We will either live for ourselves or live for the Lord. We will build our own kingdom on earth or seek first the Kingdom of God. We will glorify ourselves or glorify God; we will seek to justify ourselves or rely on justification through faith in Jesus Christ. Are you known as a “good person” or as a “prophet of the Lord?”
6. 2 Kings 3:14 — “And Elisha said, ‘As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you.'” God’s word is available to those who are faithful to Him. (see also 1 Kings 22:43)
7. 2 Kings 3:18 — “This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord.” God does God-sized things.
8. 2 Kings 4:7 — “She came and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.’” God controls nature and all circumstances and can provide for His faithful servants in miraculous ways, though the world will seek “plausible” explanations for these miraculous events.
9. 2 Kings 4:13 — “Say now to her, ‘See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you?'” God blessed the wealthy woman’s consistent and faithful giving with a gift no money could ever buy her.
10. 2 Kings 4:28 — Death can renew old doubts.
11. 2 Kings 4:43-44 — God keeps His promises.
12. Proverbs 8:1-6 — Wisdom is available to anyone with a humble heart.
13. Proverbs 8:13 — “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” To love God is to hate evil, not to accommodate, tolerate, or accept it. The more you love God, the more you hate evil. If you are complacent concerning evil, you care little about God. If you can gaze upon evil (such as on TV) and not be outraged, your heart is not right. If your speech is not gracious and pure, your heart is not right.
14. Proverbs 8:17 — “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” The Christian life requires diligence, a word with the following synonyms: conscientiousness, assiduousness, assiduity, hard work, application, concentration, effort, care, industriousness, rigor, meticulousness, thoroughness; perseverance, persistence, tenacity, dedication, commitment, tirelessness, indefatigability, doggedness. Do these words describe your daily walk with The Lord?
15. Proverbs 8:17-36 — The truth is timeless and unchanging. The truth determines totally predictable outcomes in life, whether we believe the truth or not. What we believe to be true determines our behavior. If we truly believe truth, we will live by truth and be blessed. If we don’t really believe truth (regardless of what we say), we will live by lies and sin and will suffer natural consequences.
16. Proverbs 8:22-31 — When you tap into God’s wisdom, you become synched-up with all of Creation. You are in harmony with all logic. Things will start to work for you like never before.
17. Proverbs 8:34-36 — “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” Wisdom requires daily attention. If you don’t follow God’s wisdom closely, you will only hurt yourself as you resist the power of the Creator and the logic behind His Creation and His plan.
18. 2 Cor 11:3 — “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Purity and fidelity start with your thought life.
19. 2 Corinthians 11:5, 6 — “But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles.’ I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every way.” Much like many people today, the church in Corinth was being led astray by dynamic, impressive false teachers who were falsely preaching “another Jesus” for their own personal gain. They were “rock star” preachers who were wolves in sheep’ clothing. Jesus said that the discerning would recognize false prophets by their fruit, and Paul says the same thing, as humbly as possible, comparing his own fruit to theirs. Paul is a great example of real leadership, a man who has earned the right to lead and, as opposed to false teachers, and has true “knowledge” which can only be obtained from genuine experience on practical application. First, Paul preached the gospel free of charge. How many leaders do you know who lead without reward? Paul gave to others but did not take; his leadership was not burdensome. Paul was motivated solely by love, and he did not direct attention to himself but rather to Christ. Paul’s leadership was gracious, gentle, patient, and enduring; in fact, Paul at this point questions that perhaps he was too gentle (2 Corinthians 11:21). Paul could match credentials with anyone, but he did not consider credentials or pedigree to be the measure or qualifier of leadership but rather sacrifice and suffering in love for the cause. Paul had put his life on the line countless times for Jesus and often endured without even food or water. All the while in the face of many pressures and temptations, he remained holy and faithful – he did not falter, and his character was unblemished. Despite his shining character, he did not boast in himself but rather boasted in Christ and was quick to point out his own sins, flaws, and weaknesses in order to reveal the Grace of God in his own life. (2 Corinthians 11;28-32) To those who are easily enamored by superficial “leadership,” Paul’s meekness was seen as weakness, but Paul warns not to be deceived. Consider the popular preachers and leaders today: how many live like Paul? How many “gifted speakers” have been raised up to “super-apostle” status? Take a moment to be introspective. Do you lead like Paul? Have you paid the price to lead? Thousands of years ago, Sun Tzu once remarked that great generals are never honored or noticed because they don’t fight great battles – they win quietly, behind the scenes so that the “great battles” are never required, and they don’t have egos that demand the recognition that comes from spectacular victories. The irony is that greatness is not glamorous, most will miss it. Case in point, in the time of the reign of the mighty Herod, our Savior was born in a manger. What does the world remember of the mighty Herod?
20. 2 Cor 11:14 — “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” Satan’s servants will present themselves as godly or good people. It takes discernment through the word of God to identify these imposters.
21. 2 Cor 11:24-27 — “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” What are you willing to endure to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 June: Walk today with a total expectation that God will richly bless you beyond your imagination. Commit everything without doubt, and watch God do miraculous things. (2 kings 4:4-7) Today, examine the purity of your thought life. Journal what you observe about your thoughts. Do your thoughts reflect “steadfast love and faithfulness”? (Proverbs 3:3) If not, pray that God would purify your heart. (2 Cor 11:3)