Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 12 June 18:
1. 2 Kings 11:1 — “Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family.” Selfishness can grow in a person’s life to where they are willing to do unthinkable things. When a person is fundamentally motivated by selfishness, though they might appear nice under favorable conditions, you never know what they will be willing to do under unfavorable conditions — “It’s you and me until it’s you or me.”
2. 2 Kings 11:2 — “But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom.” Unselfish people are willing to take great risks and make great sacrifices for others, placing others over self. While Athaliah was willing to murder for personal gain, Jehosheba was willing to put her own life on the line for a baby. Jehosheba played a critical role in the history of Israel and earned a place of honor in God’s eternal word because she was willing to risk her life out of love for another; at the moment of decision, she did what was right, and it made all the difference.
3. 2 Kings 11:4 — “And he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the LORD, and he showed them the king’s son.” Covenant relationships are life commitments that instill powerful trust and confidence, enabling amazing accomplishments. Marriage is intended to be a covenant, not a contract.
4. 2 Kings 11:5 — “And he commanded them, ‘This is the thing that you shall do: one third of you, those who come off duty on the Sabbath and guard the king’s house….” Even God-enabled efforts require planning and organization.
5. 2 Kings 11:7, 8 – “And the two divisions of you, which come on duty in force on the Sabbath and guard the house of the Lord on behalf of the king, shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand.” Some had to work on the Sabbath, but they shifted to another day of rest. This was a church service with great security.
6. 2 Kings 11:8 — “And whoever approaches the ranks is to be put to death.” Strict rules surround holy things. Where there is no room for error, there can be no opportunity for complacency or compromise. Today, in our “it’s all good” society, we have grown too comfortable around holy things.
7. 2 Kings 11:9 — “The captains did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded….” Someone has to be in charge, and that person must command the loyalty of others. In this case, warriors submitted to the tactical leadership of a priest.
8. 2 Kings 11:10 — “And the priest gave to the captains the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the LORD.” The church kept weapons and had a plan to fight.
9. 2 Kings 11:12 — “Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!'” This was a revolt against the standing government. But how do you reconcile this act with Romans 13:1, 2 — “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”? All authority has been given to Jesus. We must obey government until government calls us to disobey the KING of Kings. We serve King Jesus above all else.
10. 2 Kings 11:14 — “And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, ‘Treason! Treason!’” The most treacherous person in the kingdom accused everyone else of treason. Those who are guilty of treason are quick, with great passion, to call the faithful treasonous.
11. 2 Kings 11:20 — “So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword at the king’s house.” People want justice and rejoice in justice, but they often aren’t willing to pay the price of sacrifice to get justice. Everyone benefits from justice, but only a few are willing to fight for justice. Jesus said we are the “Salt and Light” of the world. Salt preserves, and light exposes darkness. We must be the few in society that are willing to expose the darkness and preserve society. Proverbs 29:2 — When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
12. 2 Kings 11:21, 12:2 — ” Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign…. And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” The people who advise the leader are often more important than who the leader is. In American politics there is much debate as to whether a person is equipped for the job (as there should be), but often what is more important is who that person surrounds themselves with for counsel and guidance. As an eight-year-old (2 Kings 22), Josiah was not equipped for the job, but he was surrounded by godly administrators and counsellors. Note that the first counsellor mentioned in 2 Kings 22 is his mother. Parents are critical to the success of their children. We will see later that Josiah slips a bit when he does not listen to sound, godly counsel.
13. 2 Kings 12:3 — “Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.” There can be no compromise with sin. The slightest bit of disobedience to God’s commands can have devastating consequences, often not revealed for many years. What are you still hanging on to that detracts from your purity?
14. 2 Kings 12:4, 5 — “Jehoash said to the priests, ‘All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” There are different types of giving — tithes, gifts, and alms. The tithe is 10% given to the church. It is mandatory and given in public. Gifts are given to the church above and beyond the tithe. It is private and given in secret as are alms which are gifts to the poor and needy, again, above and beyond the tithe. The average church giver gives less than 2% of their income. This is wrong. Many believe that the tithe is a part of the Old Law which is no longer required. However, the tithe is not simply part of the Old Law. Abraham gave a tithe before the Law (Gen 14:20), and Jesus endorsed the tithe (Luke 11:42 — “These you ought to have done”). The tithe is a steady, reliable source of income for the church to use to do its work. Today, our churches are weak in part because God’s people don’t tithe. Give your tithe as a public commitment and display of worship, and give your gifts and alms in secret. God loves the cheerful giver.
15. 2 Kings 12:7 — “Why are you not repairing the house?” With good intentions and good ideas must come a specific plan for execution. As they say, “The devil is in the details.” Leaders must set goals and objectives and ensure people actually get things done. Hope is not a method. God calls us to work efficiently and effectively to turn vision into reality. And any good plan accounts for the reality of human nature. People act like people do, and that is a reality that must be accounted for in the plan.
16. 2 Kings 12:13, 14 — “But there were not made for the house of the Lord basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the Lord with it.” First things must come first. Before the church buys that new electric drum set, they may want to consider buying Bibles for those who don’t have one. Before you consider buying that new large screen TV, you might want to replace your roof. Take care of what matters most first. Do the hard thing first. Proverbs 24:27 — Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.
17. 2 Kings 12:18 — “Jehoash king of Judah took… his own sacred gifts….” Jehoash led by example and did exactly what he was asking everyone else to do.
18. Proverbs 12:1 — “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Don’t resent the Lord’s discipline.
19. Proverbs 12:4 — “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.”
– An ungodly spouse can have a detrimental effect on your health.
– Relationship problems cause health problems.
20. Proverbs 12:9 — “Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.” Let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
21. Proverbs 12:10 — “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” The righteous treat animals better than the wicked treat people.
22. Proverbs 12:16 — “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” Do you ignore insults or stew over them?
23. Proverbs 12:18 — “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Do all your words bring healing?
24. Proverbs 12:25 — “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Do your words lighten the emotional burdens of others?
25. Proverbs 12:26 — “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Are you leading your neighbors closer to Jesus?
26. 2 Corinthians 13:1 — “This is the third time I am coming to you.” Information is not transformation. People don’t just need to hear the truth, they must be coached into truth — this is discipleship. A leader must be willing to work with people over time, not just throwing truths at them without follow-up.
27. 2 Corinthians 13:1 — “Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” You should apply this Biblical principle in your interactions with others.
28. 2 Corinthians 13:2 — “Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Don’t believe hearsay. More and more in our society, we are guilty until proven innocent. Accusations are accepted as truth. God calls us to a much higher standard.
29. 2 Corinthians 13:4 — “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.” Don’t confuse humility and sacrifice with weakness. The power of God flows through the humble. The most powerful person in any room is the true servant of Jesus.
30. 2 Corinthians 13:5 — “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” The Bible calls you to be self-aware, always comparing yourself to the standard of Jesus. Faith is revealed in obedience to Jesus. If you are disobedient to Jesus, be honest about it. Where you are not living in selflessness, where you are not taking up your cross in relationships, where you are not truly following the example of Jesus, repent. Your test is certainly not what others around you are doing. Your test is the example Jesus gave you through His life. If your excuse for disobedience is, “Well, I am not Jesus, and I live by grace,” you are really missing the point.
– Are you still doing things you wouldn’t do if Jesus were in the room next to you, oblivious to the fact that, if you are truly a Christian, He is within you? Are you thinking things as if Jesus doesn’t know your thoughts?
31. 2 Corinthians 13:7 — “But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.” Note that Paul’s prayer is that those around him would not do wrong. Also, note that Paul’s motive in rebuking others is not to condemn them but rather to draw them closer to Jesus through obedience. His goal is reconciliation. That should be your motive and goal.
32. 2 Corinthians 13:9 — “Your restoration is what we pray for.” Examine your heart: If you are pointing out the sins of others without an earnest desire and intent to reconcile them or restore them in Christ, your heart is wrong and your best move is to keep quiet. If you are going to criticize someone, be willing to invest in them and coach them through the problem or issue.
33. 2 Corinthians 13:9, 10 — “Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.” Every word that comes out of your mouth, whether positive or negative, will either build people up or tear them down. Sometimes a situation requires an encouraging word, and sometimes a situation requires a rebuke. You must have the wisdom and willingness to provide both as required to build someone up. To be a true reconciler, you must speak the word of God, and you must speak from the right heart. If your heart is not focused on reconciliation, you will misspeak and will be an ineffective ambassador for Christ. True love speaks the truth in love.
34. 2 Corinthians 13:11 — “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” In his rebuke, Paul called people to rejoice through discipline and to always seek peace. Peace is agreement, friendship, unity, and love with God – of one mind with Him. There can be no peace where there is disobedience to Jesus. Those who are of one mind with Jesus will naturally have peace with one another. If you want to promote peace, you must bring people into obedience to Jesus. You cannot just accept sin.
35. 2 Corinthians 13:11 — “Aim for restoration.” Remember, God gave you the mission of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19) Your goal in all relationships or encounters, particularly the challenging ones, should be to lead people closer to Jesus and peace. When you disagree with another person over an issue, don’t let the issue become a distraction from your mission; don’t lose sight of the goal, which is not winning but rather reconciling. Remember, an ambassador cannot represent themselves. If you lose the disagreement, what have you lost that God can’t restore instantly? Have an eternal perspective.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 June: “Your restoration is what we pray for.” Your mission on earth is to promote reconciliation — bringing everyone around you closer to Jesus. Your specific assignment given to you by God is the people God has placed in your life. Perhaps, the one that needs your influence the most is the one who is the hardest to be around due to their behavior resulting from their distance from Jesus. Be ready to suffer their offenses and to live in grace that they might surrender to the grace of Jesus. Deny yourself, take up your cross in relationships, and follow the lead of Jesus to impact those around you. Be faithful today to your calling and mission of reconciliation. Today will only come once in your lifetime.