Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 14 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 23:1-11 — God’s faithful people need to come together to plan how to promote revival.
2. 2 Chronicles 23:3 – “And all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And Jehoiada said to them, ‘Behold, the king’s son! Let him reign, as the Lord spoke concerning the sons of David.” God keeps His word. No one can thwart His plans.
3. 2 Chronicles 23:9, 10 — “And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains the spears and the large and small shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of God. And he set all the people as a guard for the king, every man with his weapon in his hand.”
– We see throughout the Bible the expectation and responsibility for men to be ready, able, and willing to fight to defend themselves and others when necessary and within God’s standards. We see throughout the Bible that fighting, in itself, is not evil just as commerce in itself is not evil; it is the motive and the means that must be considered carefully. In 2 Chronicles, we see that Jehoiada the priest leads the fight with weapons from the Temple against the corrupt illegitimate, ruling authorities. In Luke 22, Jesus warns his disciples to buy swords to defend themselves if they don’t have any – “The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ ‘That’s enough!’ he replied (Luke 22:38).” Self-defense is a responsibility and right that cannot be delegated or abrogated.
4. 2 Chronicles 23:16 – “And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people.” Covenant is made in a community of faithful believers.
5. 2 Chronicles 23:17 – “Then all the people went to the house of Baal and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.” Obedience means forsaking all ties with substitutes for God. To follow Jesus, you must completely eliminate those things that have been distractions and that have tempted you to sin. Is it time for you to clean house?
6. 2 Chronicles 23:18 – “And Jehoiada posted watchmen for the house of the Lord under the direction of the Levitical priests and the Levites whom David had organized to be in charge of the house of the Lord, to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David.” A faithful, powerful church has faithful ministers God chooses for the congregation in order to do what God commands.
7. 2 Chronicles 24:1, 2 – “Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” A seven-year-old leader guided by wise, godly counselors is far better than the most experienced secular politician. Often more important than the leader are the counsellors and advisors to the leader, those who are the real decision-makers. Particularly at seven years old, Joash was simply a figure head, and Jehoaida was the real power broker who lead the nation in a godly way. Likewise, our political leaders today will be guided by others behind the scenes, and knowing who they are and what they believe is of vital importance. Who gives you advice and counsel? Your counsellor and advisor should be very close to Jesus, but your eyes need to always remain on Jesus. Bad counsel and advice can be devastating in your life.
8. 2 Chronicles 24:17, 18 — “Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs.” The Bible further makes the point to you — “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) When Jehoaida’s counsel was replaced with the counsel of the princes, Joash turned from God and led the entire nation astray. Do not let anyone lead you astray simply because (s)he likes you, has a great personality, and is very kind to you. If your friends, relatives, and coworkers are not following Jesus as their top priority, they are adrift and will desire you to go with them to someplace other than where God wants you to go.
9. 2 Chron 24:17,18 — Political ambitions ruin integrity and obedience to God.
10. 2 Chronicles 24:19 — “Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.” Church and State – The church is called to be the conscience of government and society whether they desire to listen or not. If the church remains silent in order to remain comfortable or agreeable, destruction is inevitable.
11. 2 Chronicles 24:20 — “Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah.”
– Romans 13:14 — But put on the Lord Jesus Christ….
– 1 Corinthians 15:33 – For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality….
– Galatians 3:27 — For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.…
– Ephesians 4:24 — and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.…
– Ephesians 6:11 — Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.…
– Colossians 3:9-14 — …put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator…. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.….
– 1 Pet 3:3, 4 — Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.…
– Are you dressed for success? You cannot fulfill your purpose in life without first putting on Jesus and being wrapped filled with the Holy Spirit.
12. 2 Chronicles 24:20 — “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’” You cannot prosper while continuing to disobey God in any area of your life. Yes, you will continue to sin, but you must have, as your heart’s desire, the intent not to sin, and you must pursue holiness with all of your might.
13. 2 Chronicles 24:20 — When political leaders stray from justice and righteousness, a faithful prophet is required to proclaim the truth.
14. 2 Chronicles 24:21 — “But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord.” A successful prophet is one who is faithful to God’s word, regardless of what people think. God might very well allow you to suffer and die for Him. Spoiler alert: we all die anyway. Dying for God is an honor, but truly living for God, in Christ, dead to self, is an even greater honor. Martin Luther King said, “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.”
15. 2 Chronicles 24:24 — “Though the army of the Syrians had come with few men, the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.” God Himself destroys wicked people and wicked nations, and He may use other wicked people to do it.
16. Proverbs 14:2 – “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.” Our actions reveal how we really feel about God in our hearts. When we sin, we prefer something more than God. Though we find ways to justify our sin and make light of it, the Bible calls it spiritual adultery and idolatry. We will make excuses for our sin by blaming something other than ourselves – circumstances, chemistry, upbringing, external instigators, etc. However, how we respond to our circumstances is our choice, and that choice reveals what is truly in our hearts. For example, rude, disrespectful people don’t make you angry, they reveal the anger that is already in your heart. So, the question is “Why is there anger in your heart?” As it has been said, “The heart of man’s problem is the problem with man’s heart.” We should pay very close attention to Amaziah’s story in our readings today. The Bible says, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart (2 Chronicles 25:2).” Amaziah was a “church-goer” who followed the rules but not out of genuine love for the Lord. He believed in God, and knew that God’s rules “worked,” to generally bring prosperity to a person’s life, but in his heart, his king and lord was himself. Rather than “seek[ing] first the Kingdom of God,” he desired to build his own kingdom on earth. The truth of his heart was eventually revealed, not in crisis, but rather in success. He became proud and began to worship idols (merely a tangible representation of his adulterous heart). Eventually, his heart had become so hard, he refused to listen any longer to God’s word (“I don’t have time to read the Bible”), and he was destroyed. “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways (Proverbs 14:14).”
17. Proverbs 14:4 – “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” True strength is revealed not in what you have but rather in what you can reproduce.
18. Proverbs 14:7 – “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” Don’t waste your time seeking wisdom from those who do not know the Source of Wisdom, Jesus Christ.
19. Proverbs 14:10 – “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” You don’t really know what is going on in the lives of others. Be patient with them and serve as a constant source of healing by always pointing to Jesus.
20. Proverbs 14:14 – “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” Contrary to the beliefs of many in the “Grace” movement, believers do experiences consequences and discipline for disobedience. God gives salvation through grace and disciplines us for our sanctification.
21. Proverbs 14:25 – “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.” A truthful witness proclaims Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Proclaiming any other ‘truth’ is to be a false witness and a liar.
22. Proverbs 14:29 – “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Those slow to anger truly understand the forgiveness that they have received through Jesus and the truth of the Gospel. Understanding the Truth changes how you respond to others as love compels you to forgive.
23. Psalms 79:9 – “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” God will always deal with you in a way that brings glory to Him.
24. Psalm 79:10 – “Why should the nations say, ’Where is their God?’ Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes!” It is sometimes hard to understand why wickedness continues and why God allows the innocent to suffer. We must remember that God has a plan and will remain faithful to Romans 8:28. Continue to trust and obey.
25. Psalm 79:13 – “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” In the midst of suffering, continue to give thanks to God and to praise Him to all.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 July 18: Endeavor from this day forward to get dressed in Jesus before you step off, and don’t be caught improperly dressed or even naked in public — “Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah.” (2 Chronicles 24:20) “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ”… (Rom 13:14) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality…. (1 Cor 15:33) “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”… (Gal 3:27) “and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”… (Eph 4:24) “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”… (Eph 6:11) “…put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator…. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.…” (Col 3:9-14) “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.…” (1 Pet 3:3, 4) Are you dressed for success? You cannot fulfill your purpose in life without first putting on Jesus and being wrapped filled with the Holy Spirit.