WEEK 40, Day 6, Saturday, 5 November 2022

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 5 November 2022:

1 Kings 16:2 — Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins.

Sin makes God angry. Don’t convince yourself otherwise. Leaders are held to a higher standard by God. God calls all Christians to be leaders, “priests.”

1 Kings 16:3 – I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

The Bible repeats the warning that sin has a devastating impact on family for generations.

1 Kings 16:12, 13 — Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet, for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel to sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols.

Again, we see that God uses ungodly people to punish other ungodly people. God will still hold accountable the ungodly people He used for His purposes.

1 Kings 16:25, 30, 33 — Sin without repentance gives rise to even greater sin.

1 Kings 16:26 – Again, your sin can cause others to sin.

1 Kings 16:34 — He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.

See Joshua 6:26 – “Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.’” God keeps His promises of blessings and curses through the generations. His commands and warnings apply to all, whether they know about them or not, whether they believe in them or not.

Psalm 127:2 — It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 127 is an important Psalm for parents, though its central truth applies to all of life’s endeavors. It starts out with, “Unless the Lord builds the house….” The word house can refer to ‘dynasty’ for family. I have yet to meet a parent who hasn’t at times felt great stress taking care of his or her family or who hasn’t felt simply overwhelmed by the work involved. Psalm 127 is a reminder to trust in the Lord as you labor in fellowship with Him – you don’t labor in vain. (Psalm 127:3) The psalmist is certainly not suggesting we stop working (Proverbs 6:6-11), stop getting up early (Proverbs 31:15; Psalm 119:148), or stop watching over our families late at night (Psalm 119:62); the psalmist is saying don’t do it anxiously, independently, or hopelessly; rather, labor with God, through God, for God, and in mutually supporting relationships with other Christian families. Strive to be a good “steward” (oikonomos) unto God, a word which means keeper or manager of the master’s house (it’s His house, not yours), and rest easy knowing that God cares for His beloved children; and God, The Creator, The Almighty, The Sovereign, loves your children far more than you possibly could.

If your labors of love feel more like anxious toil, pray that God will give you the peace, rest, and thankfulness which can only come from remaining in His presence while you do the good deeds He has created you for and prepared for you – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

  • Exodus 33:14 — And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
  • Matthew 11:28 — Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  • Matthew 6:25-34 — “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
  • Colossians 3:23-24 — Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
  • Proverbs 16:3 — Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
  • Philippians 2:14-15 — Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world….
  • Galatians 6:9 — And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Proverb 5:14 — I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.

You reap what you sow in life. Eventually, the product of the life you have chosen will be evident to all.

Proverbs 5:15 — Drink water from your own cistern.

Be content and thankful for what, and who, God has given you. Your contentment is like rays of sunlight on flowers, causing them to blossom. Much sin starts with dissatisfaction over the gifts God has given you. Be grateful and content with what God has given you, and do not compare your situation with that of others.

Proverbs 5:19 — Be intoxicated always in her love.

The most important institution established by God on earth is the institution of marriage. Husbands and wives reveal their love for God mostly by how they love each other. The primary testimony and witness of a married Christian is their relationship with their spouse.

Proverbs 5:21 – For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.

Sin starts in the heart, and God knows your heart fully. Consider carefully your thought life. Before you committed any outward sin, whether seen or unseen, you first desired to do it, and that desire was already a sin, breaking the Greatest Commandment of loving God completely. As Jesus pointed out, sin starts in the heart. You may not have murdered anyone, but if, in your heart, you desired to, you are guilty of an even greater sin than murder, and that sin is failing to love the Almighty and other people as you should and as He commands. Putting your desires, even for a moment, above Him is cosmic treason against the One and Only Sovereign Lord. Don’t just repent of the sins you commit in secret, repent of your thoughts that dishonor God. Pray for a pure heart, and give thanks for God’s grace.

Proverbs 5:22, 23 – The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Do not let sin ensnare you!

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Obedience is a discipline – hence, the word disciple. Sinners lack self-control and self-discipline. They are not willing to make the small daily sacrifices required to invest in their spiritual growth and in their relationship with Jesus. They are defeated each day by their desires, emotions, and passions. Rather than being controlled by the Spirit, they are controlled by idols, created things that have become more influential in their lives than the Creator. What will control you today? What will be the source of your motivation? For what will you endeavor and why?

Sin, is a dangerous, deadly trap that exploits a person’s lack of self-control. The Way of life is Jesus and following Him. Disciples are those who truly follow Him and obey Him. The life of a disciple is, by definition, a disciplined life, a life of wholehearted obedience. Joy is found in obedience. The Christian who uses “grace” as an excuse for half-hearted obedience (or disobedience) is demonstrating an incredible lack of understanding and is dishonoring our Holy LORD. The more we truly appreciate our LORD, the more natural obedience becomes.

The first level of leadership, the foundation for all other leadership is leading self (which is actually demonstrating fidelity in following Jesus). Another word for self-leadership is discipline or self-control (a spiritual fruit). Self-leadership must be continuous, and if it fails, the person fails in all leadership at the foundational level. A person without self-control is completely untrustworthy and cannot lead others. Good leaders know the way and show the way. God leaders know Jesus, follow Him, and show others how to know Him and follow Him. If your leader is not following Jesus, he is leading you astray. If you are not faithfully following Jesus, you are leading others astray. As a leader, you are either with Jesus or against Him.

True disciples of Christ are known for their discipline, because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), the natural product of a Spirit-filled person who loves Jesus above all. If you have a self-discipline problem in your life, search your heart, and pray that God will reveal to you what you cannot see in yourself that is quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 November 2022: Rest easy, and strive to be a good “steward” (oikonomos) unto God, a word which means ‘keeper, or manager, of the Master’s house.’

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