Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 13 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 21:6 — “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” There is a reason why God forbids marriage with unbelievers. People who are close to you will have a positive or negative influence on your life. You must be very careful not to establish covenant-type relationships with those who will only tempt you to be unfaithful to God. Those close to you must be ready to walk with you in a mutually supportive relationship as you both of you follow Jesus together.
2. 2 Chronicles 21:11 — “Moreover, he made high places in the hill country of Judah and led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray.” The Bible describes spiritual unfaithfulness as whoredom.
3 2 Chronicles 21:12, 13 — “Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel and have enticed Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom, as the house of Ahab led Israel into whoredom, and also you have killed your brothers, of your father’s house, who were better than you.” God may allow sinners to have earthly victory over the faithful, but God will ultimately hold everyone accountable, and our reward is eternal.
4. 2 Chronicles 21:13 — People are tempted to hurt those who are better than them.
5. 2 Chronicles 21:12-15 — “Because you… have… enticed Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom, as the house of Ahab led Israel into whoredom, and also you have killed your brothers, of your father’s house, who were better than you, behold, the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day.’” Jehoram’s greatest offense was leading people astray from God; this was worse in God’s eyes than Jehoram killing his brothers. Jehoram’s spiritual infidelity caused everyone around him to sin and to suffer tremendously before Jehoram himself died a painful death. How striking is it that Jehoshaphat had so little influence on Jehoram?
6. 2 Chronicles 21:15, 16 — “…and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels…. And the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabians who are near the Ethiopians.” God punishes with sickness, enemies, and negative circumstances. Those who reject God will not attribute these things to God’s discipline.
7. 2 Chronicles 21:20 — “And he departed with no one’s regret.” Jehoram was influential, but in the end, no one respected him or cared about him. He had a miserable and painful life because He walked away from the faith of his father to serve other gods.
8. 2 Chronicles 21:1-6 — “Jehoshaphat king of Israel…. gave [his sons] great gifts of silver, gold, and valuable possessions, together with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram [who] reigned in his place…. And [Jehoram] did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
– 2 Chronicles 22:2, 3 — “Ahaziah…. also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.”
– No person, regardless their position in life has a greater responsibility, ministry, or position than that of parent. There is no greater test of genuine leadership than that of parent, a position that costs greatly but comes with little glory. It is easy to get caught up in earthly pursuits and worldly measures of success and lose sight of our first priority in leadership. Even service to the church can be out of balance, robbing the family of essential leadership. The first measure of genuine leadership is within the household and family. (1 Timothy 3) In the Old Testament, God built His kingdom by starting with one man, one wife, one family. God’s charge to parents was very clear: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your
house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise…. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9) In fact, God has revealed the purpose of his first institution of marriage: “Godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15) Of course, children too have free will, and the story of the “prodigal son” reminds us that faithful parenting is not an inoculation for our children against rebellion and sin. Nonetheless, our responsibility is clear.
9. 2 Chronicles 22:3 — “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.” Again, the Bible warns about the influence of close relationships – a person will either help or hinder another person’s walk with Jesus. Don’t be led astray by those closest to you, and don’t lead others astray. Good relationships are first and foremost about growing together in Christ. Everything else is secondary. If your friends or family members don’t share with you your goal of Jesus, you cannot be yoked together.
10. 2 Chronicles 22:9 — “He searched for Ahaziah, and he was captured while hiding in Samaria, and he was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, ‘He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.’” Jehoshaphat was respected for generations because of his fidelity to God. How will you be remembered?
11. 2 Chronicles 22:10 – “Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah.” There is no limit to what the godless will do.
12. 2 Chronicles 22:11 — “But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be put to death.” Jehoshabeath’s brave action at the critical place and time was used by God to sustain the lineage of the royal family of Judah. If you will be faithful with the moment, God can use you to do amazing things.
13. Proverbs 13:7-11 – God’s word has much to say about the dangers and deception of riches.
14. Proverbs 13:8 – “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.” It can be freeing to have nothing left to lose.
15. Proverbs 13:10 – “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” Arguments are fueled by selfish pride.
16. Proverbs 13:13 – “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” There are consequences for disobeying God’s word, always.
17. Proverbs 13:18 – “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” God’s discipline is intended to teach you valuable lessons for life. Don’t ignore it.
18. Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Wisdom is a journey. Walk with the wise and become wise.
19. Proverbs 13:25 – “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” The wise know how to be content in any situation. The wicked are never satisfied.
20. 1 Thessalonians 3:10 – “…as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?” Prayer should be earnest and continuous.
21. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 — “…and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” God is love, only God is pure Fidelity, and only God is blameless and holy. He Created all wisdom and goodness. He is the Creator and Source of all love and goodness. You cannot create love and wisdom – you can only receive it from the Creator and transfer it. To grow in love, faithfulness, purity, and holiness, you must grow closer to Jesus – there is no other way, and all of your earthly relationships depend on your relationship to God. Willpower, self-motivation, positive mental attitude, personal power, and knowledge cannot get you there – you must depend solely on Jesus and be guided by the Holy Spirit which is not natural but supernatural.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 July 18: Today, make a list of those friendships you have made with others where Jesus is your mutual goal. Focus on those few relationships and be as “iron sharpens iron” with those few people. Grow with them in Christ day-by-day. Seek more friendships like those – they will likely be very few. Then you brightly radiate the Truth to others. (see today’s readings)