Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 2 July 21:
2 Chronicles 7:3 — When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
When the people clearly saw great miraculous signs from God, they were quite eager to worship Him and proclaim their allegiance to Him, but as soon as the obvious miracles ceased, the people were quick to disobey and drift from God, including Solomon, the wisest man on earth.
- Matthew 12:38, 39 — Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
- John 20:29 — Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
- Hebrews 11:1 — Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:6 — And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
God warned the people that their faith would be tested when obedience was required without obvious signs from God, and that when (not if) they failed to remain faithful, repentance and prayer would be required –
- 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 — Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
In 2 Chronicles 7, through great signs and dreams, God tells Solomon and the people what was required of them, and then in the next chapter, Solomon immediately compromises himself by becoming unequally yoked with an unbeliever — “Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, ‘My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the Lord has come are holy.’” (2 Chronicles 8:11; see 2 Corinthians 6:14) As 1 Kings 3 points out, Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter as a form of treaty or alliance with Pharaoh. This was a commonly accepted practice in ancient times intended to prevent war between potentially hostile nations; this was considered a very wise and noble thing for a king to do. However, it was contrary to God’s will for His people, requiring them to be holy and set apart. Unfortunately, as 1 Kings 11 points out, Solomon chose human wisdom over obedience to God and eventually married 700 wives, and “his wives turned away his heart.”
- Colossians 2:4, 8 — I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments… See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 3:19 — For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
Your faith will be tested when you have to choose God’s commands over “plausible arguments… human tradition… [and] the wisdom of this world,” worldly philosophies, social morality, and ‘common sense.’ Your faith will be tested when others judge your convictions in Christ to be foolish, unreasonable, hateful, and perhaps even dangerous.
- Colossians 2:23 — These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Your faith will also be tested when people encourage you to trust in religious works, good deeds, religious moralism, religious traditions, and various forms of performance rather than a humble reliance on the grace of God through faith in Jesus, which naturally produces obedience inspired by love rather than fear, pride or simply duty.
- Colossians 2:18 — Let no one disqualify you… going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind….
Still others who proclaim faith in Christ will test your faith with their ‘special word,’ which they claim is from the Lord. Do not be deceived by these puffed up people. God’s word has been provided to you, and you have been given as much access to the Holy Spirit, which is in you, as they have. Trust and obey God and His will as is clearly revealed in the Bible.
- Colossians 2:19 — holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
When there are no miraculous signs from God, and when so many around you are proclaiming various forms of truth and offering you all kinds of answers to today’s challenges, hold fast to Jesus, pray, remain in His word, be attentive to the Spirit, and seek first His Kingdom. When you fail, fail forward — repent, rejoice in God’s grace, return to prayer and your Bible, and try again. ““For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:3)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 July 21: Trust and obey today.