Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 8 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 11:1-4 — Since God’s thoughts are far removed from our thoughts, He will, if we are listening, tell us to do many things that are contrary to our will and to our wisdom. We must be careful to heed the word of God and not be tempted to merely do what seems right to us.
2. 2 Chronicles 11:4 — “Thus says the LORD, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me.’ So they listened to the word of the LORD and returned and did not go against Jeroboam.” God desires peace in families not strife.
3. 2 Chronicles 11:14, 15 — “Jeroboam and his sons cast them [the Levites] out from serving as priests of the LORD, and he appointed his own priests for the high places.”
– Ungodly leaders will seek to shut up or eliminate godly priests and preachers and replace them with preachers who will proclaim what they want to hear.
– Notice that when a nation rejects God it will no longer tolerate sound doctrine; it is replaced with religion that is acceptable to the unfaithful, religion the seeks to legitimize sin. These are hard times for the faithful. Paul had this to say to Timothy: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5) Conversely, when a nation accepts the teachings of God, the people of God are treated well and the nation is strengthened. Regardless the choice of a nation, regardless the cost, God’s people must remain faithful to the KING.
4. 2 Chronicles 11:16 — “And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came….” You may have to leave everything behind and lose everything to remain faithful to the LORD, to go where He wants you to go, and to do what He wants you to do. You shouldn’t be surprised when many ‘religious’ around you refuse to make that sort of committed sacrifice. Most choose comfort over fidelity and justify it through clever lies, often religious lies. (2 Chronicles 11:13-17)
5. 2 Chronicles 11:16, 17 — “And those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came… to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.” Godly people strengthen a nation. Nations are blessed through the influence of godly people.
6. 2 Chronicles 12:1 – “When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.” When the faithful were forced to leave Israel, Israel went into great depravity.
7. 2 Chronicles 12:2 — “In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.” Again, God uses ungodly nations to punish his unfaithful people.
8. 2 Chronicles 12:7-8 — “When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: ‘They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance…. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.” God responds to genuine repentance but may not completely remove the consequences of your sin. It is hard for us to see how God is using pain to chisel away the unwanted sinfulness in our hearts to reveal the masterpiece He is creating us to be. Beautiful rose bushes must be pruned, pure silver must be put through the fire, and our hearts must be refined through adversity. Romans 8:28 reminds us that, in Jesus, there are no bad circumstances, only good.
9. 2 Chronicles 12:14 — “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.”
– You must set your heart to seek The Lord or you will inevitably do evil. If the earnest desire of your heart is not the LORD, perfect unity to Jesus, you will fail to accomplish your life’s purpose.
– In one generation after Solomon, the kingdom was forever divided. Chronicles records that “Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.” (2 Chron 11:16,17) However, by the 5th year of Rehoboam’s reign, “he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:1) Rehoboam’s goal was not to establish a kingdom for God but rather a kingdom for himself (11:1), and “he did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.” Today’s readings from Psalms point out that God had commanded fathers throughout the generations to impress upon their children the vitality of fidelity to the Lord that “they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” (Psa 78:7). 1 Kings 2 records that David charged Solomon to “be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses.” However, 1 Kings 11 records that “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, [and] Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.” Tragically, the Bible does not record a charge from Solomon to Rehoboam to set his heart on seeking the Lord and to remain faithful.
10. Proverbs 8:1 – “Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?” Wisdom is obvious to those willing to open their eyes.
11. 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.” Do you hate evil, pride, arrogance and perverted speech? You don’t really love God if you don’t hate evil.
12. Proverbs 8:22 — “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.” God is the source of all wisdom, and all of His Creation functions are based upon His wisdom, the closer you draw to God, the more in synch you become with universal truth and the more effective you whole life becomes. You cannot get true wisdom apart from Jesus who is the “Word”, or “Logos” or “Eternal Logic” (see John 1)
13. Proverbs 8:35 – “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father but through me. You must decide for yourself whether He was a liar, lunatic or The Lord.
14. Psalm 77:11 — “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” In times of trouble and doubt, it is good to remember what God has done for His people and for you in life; count your many blessings. When you begin to doubt God’s faithfulness, remember His perfect record of love and faithfulness. God is always good, loving, and faithful.
15. Psalm 78:4 – “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” God expects you to tell your children (or children you know) all that you have seen God do in your lifetime as a witness to His glory.
16. Psalm 78:5-7 — “Teach… children that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” God expects parents to teach their children to trust and obey God. Jesus said that our mission on earth was to make disciples (not just believers). Your first responsibility of discipleship is within your own family.
17. Psalm 78:7 — “…so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;” Believers believe Jesus is the Son of God, but disciples don’t just believe, they follow and obey Jesus, dedicating all of their lives to Jesus. Jesus has appointed us to make disciples who obey – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20)
18. Psalm 78:11 – “They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.” Forgetting what God has done leads you to depart from Him.
19. Psalm 78:20 – “He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?” You selfishly depart from God when you selfishly want more than He provides or when you don’t wait patiently and confidently for Him to provide.
20. Psalm 78:34-37 — “When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly…. But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.” Many people obey God only out of fear or hope for reward, but God demands obedience motivated by love. God knows the difference between selfishly motivated worship and unselfish worship and service. Outwardly, they may look the same to other people, but God judges the heart behind the deeds. God is not fooled like people are.
21. Psalm 78:52 – “Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.” God is the Good Shepherd. (see Psalm 23; John 10)
22. Psalm 78:67-68 — He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves.” God judges once faithful people no longer useful to His mission. Past fidelity does not make up for today’s infidelity. It is today that matters, and it is not how you start that matters by how you finish the race.
23. Psalm 78:72 — “With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.” Good leaders require both character and competence. They must be both ethical (by God’s definition) and good at what they do. Many leaders are talented, with large personalities, but lack integrity. High competency often overshadows bad character in the eyes of the public, with unfortunate consequences.
24. Psalm 78 — God’s history of discipline within your family and your church should teach you the futility of sin and rebellion.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 July 18: Today, “set your heart” or resolve to seek The Lord, not just to be a “good person”, to pursue the person of Jesus Christ as your life goal. (2 Chronicles 12:15)