Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 13 June 18:
1. 2 Kings 13:2 — “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them.”
– There is a theme that runs throughout the Bible — it is hard to break free from customs, courtesies, social norms, traditions, and ‘common sense’ that have been passed down from generations but is contrary to God’s word, will, and commands. We all must remain grounded in God’s word and willing to challenge sinful norms. God wants you to live a holy life, not a socially acceptable life.
– The Bible continually reminds us how destructive the sins of one person can be on following generations and also continually reminds us the parents bear a burden of responsibility to raise their children to be godly — “Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” (see Malachi 2:15)
2. 2 Kings 13:4 — “Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him.” God will respond to genuine repentance.
3. 2 Kings 13:18, 19 — “And he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground with them.’ And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.’” How you respond to little things reveals how you respond to big things. Given a command by Elisha, Jehoash responded with marginal commitment, reflecting how he would lead his people in battle. Had he doubled his efforts before Elisha, he would have demonstrated they type of zeal required to totally defeat Syria. What sort of energy and passion do you bring to your chores or to work? How well do you energize others to bring out their very best when they really don’t want to? What you do with little things today reveals what you will do with big things tomorrow.
4. 2 Kings 13:10, 11 — “In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Later in life, Jeroboam sought the Lord. Unfortunately his son Joash remained on the path of evil. Parents must train their children in righteousness starting at a young age.
5. 2 Kings 13:19 — “Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.’” Elisha had a bigger vision for Israel than the king did. Have God-sized expectations as you serve God in your lifetime. Remember, you have the power of God working through you if you are working for God.
6. 2 Kings 14:4 — “But the high places were not removed.” Many people struggle their whole lives with sins they refuse to surrender to God. Surely, you have seen this in others. Do you see it in yourself? God demands that you surrender all to him and pursue purity and holiness. Your sins are not your identity. Don’t say, “That’s just the way I am.” You have the Holy Spirit within you. Be faithful and wholehearted.
7. 2 Kings 14:14 — “But the high places were not removed.” Hopefully you are getting the point by now…. Joash obeyed God accept for this one area. Partial obedience is ultimately disobedience. Do you have “high places”, things you simply won’t let go of and that you let stand in the way of your purity, holiness, and fidelity to God?
8. 2 Kings 14:6 — “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.” Parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children, but people held accountable for their own actions.
9. 2 Kings 14:8-14 — Taking pride in what God has allowed you to accomplish often leads to defeat and shame.
10. 2 Kings 14:19; see 14:3 — God allowed a king who obeyed Him to be assassinated. Our reward is knowing Jesus and being with Him. God’s perfect plan for you may include great hardships, even death. However, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) No matter what you are going through, God is using it to draw you closer to Him.
11. 2 Kings 14:25 — Notice that Jonah is mentioned in the account of Jeroboam, without referencing Jonah’s eventual work in Nineveh. Jonah had an international mission, doing big things at home and big things abroad.
12. Proverbs 13:5 — “The righteous hates falsehood.” Are you truly righteous? If you love flowers, you have to hate weeds. If you are ok with little lies, you have a heart problem. Be honest with yourself first and consider deeply where you have grown complacent with falsehood, even in little ways.
13. Proverbs 13:7 — “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” You will never fix what you aren’t willing to be honest about. Don’t pretend to be something you are not, be honest with yourself and with others about your strengths and weaknesses.
14. Proverbs 13:10 — “With those who take advice is wisdom.” Are you truly wise? Where do you get your advice. The Holy Spirit should be your primary Counsellor, but you must humbly seek and receive His advice.
15. Proverbs 13:11 — “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” A major and critical life principle in the Bible is that growth in any area requires consistent discipline, day-by-day over time. People always over estimate what they can do in a day and under estimate what they can do in a lifetime. There are no quick fixes to the things that really matter in life. What are you willing to do consistently every day to become who you want to be at the end of your days?
16. Proverbs 13:16 — “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” Fools are always the loudest and most confident. They are proud, not humble.
17. Proverbs 13:20 — “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” When the Bible repeats itself it is for the purpose of really making the point. Proverbs 13:20 is a repeated theme found throughout the rest of Proverbs for a reason. Pay attention.
18. Proverbs 13:20 — “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Your friends should be in pursuit of godly like you and strengthen you in your journey.
19. Proverbs 13:22 — “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” Again, things that matter are built over time. The righteous work diligently today for a result that will last for generations to come.
20. Proverbs 13:23 — “The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.” God is a God of justice. God hates injustice. Injustice robs people and society of the good that could have been.
21. Proverbs 13:25 — “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” The wicked suffer want in part because they do not maintain the disciplines required to get what they want and in part because when they get what they want, it is never enough. The righteous work hard and learn to be satisfied with what they have.
22. Galatians 1:1 — “Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” Don’t miss this important them in Galatians 1: God calls, commissions, and empowers His servants, not men. Many attempt to serve as an intermediary between God and people. They do not have the authority to do so. You have direct, personal access to God and have as much access to the leading of the Holy Spirit as anyone else. You do not need a degree from an institution or special rights administered to you by another person. All authority belongs to Jesus, and he appoints and equips people directly. Yes, you can learn from more mature Christians, but your Counsellor and Guide is the Holy Spirit. You are an Ambassador for Christ, not because you were chosen by men, but because you were chosen by God. Proclaim what you know about Jesus to others today!
23. Galatians 1:6,7,9 — “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ…. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Another critical theme: Many, sometimes well meaning, people are distorting the Gospel and preaching a false gospel by mixing it with popular philosophy. The Good News is Jesus and salvation through Him alone. However, many are preaching hope in other things — psychology, self-help techniques, positive thinking, bright ideas, “common sense”, etc. Many are trying to turn the Bible into a self-help book and mix it with quotes from modern, secular gurus who also offer a hope apart from Jesus. We are Ambassadors of Christ, not today’s version of morality or human wisdom. We cannot use various techniques to save ourselves. We need Jesus. The Good News of Jesus is that we can have Jesus and salvation through him alone. Don’t mix messages. Preach Jesus only!
24. Galatians 1:7 — “There is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Nothing has changed. Understand that many “teachers” of God’s word distort the Gospel. You are called to carefully study your Bible to test every spoken word of people. The Holy Spirit is your teacher. Every other Christian is just a student like you, some good students, some bad. Some who are in the class are really not students at all.
25. Galatians 1:10 — “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” False teachers seek the approval of men. Some of these false teachers convince others that they need their approval to be a disciple or Ambassador. Your authority comes straight from God and God alone. Don’t let institutions set up false barriers to your relationship with Jesus, to your growth in Him, and to your witness. Learn from others, but don’t be limited by others.
26. Galatians 1:12 — “For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Institutions or other people do not distribute the revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ reveals Himself to faithful followers.
27. Galatians 1:13 — “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.” Following the teachings of the most brilliant men in the church, Paul was working diligently and effectively but directly against the will of Jesus.
28. Galatians 1:14 — “So extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.” Church or national traditions, long accepted for generations, can be a very dangerous thing. The word of God alone, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is our guide for life. Test everything against God’s word.
29. Galatians 1:15-16 — “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone.” God chooses to reveal His Son to whomever He chooses, and those He chooses, He chooses for an earthly purpose — to preach the Good News of Jesus to others. Don’t wait for some sort of validation from others. Preach now what God has revealed to you and grow in the word over time.
30. Galatians 1:22 — “And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.” You don’t need to be well known or accepted to be used by God powerfully. You don’t need the approval of people to serve God today. You just need to yield to the Holy Spirit.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 June: Preach Jesus only today. If you want to give someone advice, point them to Jesus. (Galatians 1:6,7,9)