Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 14 November 2022:
2 Kings 3:3 — Nevertheless, he clung to the sin.
Character cannot be compartmentalized. All the good you do in one area of your life will not make up for the bad you continue to do in another area of your life. To claim a virtue as part of your character, you must be consistent in it. How many times does a person have to lie before they are viewed as dishonest? Trust is hard to earn but easily lost.
Don’t cling to sin in any area of your life, and don’t tell yourself any sin is too tempting for you to overcome – you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the power of God within you is far greater than your temptation. Remember, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Notice in this verse that sin is described as “overtaking you,” not overpowering you. Also notice that God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability (you are able to resist it), and God provides “the” way of escape, not “a” way of escape. There is only one way of escape, to trust in Jesus Christ and to choose to obey Him out of love rather than obeying your passions. Also, notice that this takes endurance. Temptations are continuous, but the Presence of God is also continuous, and “God is faithful.” You must choose to act in faith in response to God’s faithfulness. The responsibility is yours (response ability) to use the gift of grace and power God has already given you to honor and glorify Him in the moment of decision. You are not a mere victim to sin; you are a victor in Christ, so act like it.
- Proverbs 25:26 — Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
2 Kings 3:4-10 — Trouble often plagues you because you don’t consult the Lord before making decisions.
2 Kings 3:7 — I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.
Jehoshaphat partnered with Jehoram. But before the Bible records Jehoshaphat’s commitment to Jehoram, it makes this statement about Jehoram: “…he clung to sin… which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.” We will see later that by partnering with sinful people, Jehoshaphat compromised himself and got entangled in affairs that were not what God desired for Him and that would only cause him pain. Who do you partner with in business and in life matters?
- 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
2 Kings 3:11-12 – And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?” Then one of the king of Israel’s servants answered, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
God makes His word available to you. What you do with it is your choice.
2 Kings 3:13 – And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No; it is the Lord who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.”
The king of Israel had no desire to hear from God until disaster was apparently at hand. The king was “religious” but his religion had the “form of godliness but without power (2 Tim 3:5).” In this time of calamity, Jehoshaphat convinced him to seek true counsel from the Lord through his prophet. Only because of the faithfulness of Jehoshaphat was this ungodly king saved.
As opposed to the king of Israel who was a “church goer” and public figure, Elisha was known by all as a true “prophet of the Lord.” He had no interest in the affairs of men and was no respecter of men. The Lord used him in a mighty way to bring glory to Himself.
In Corinthians Paul warns the church not to be captivated and mislead by false prophets who are talented speakers and dynamic leaders but who in fact serve themselves rather than God and who glorify themselves rather than God. Paul was not a dynamic, charismatic leader, but was sold out for the Lord. The Lord used him in a mighty way to bring glory to Himself.
We will either live for ourselves or live for the Lord. We will build our own kingdom on earth or seek first the Kingdom of God. We will glorify ourselves or glorify God; we will seek to justify ourselves or rely on justification through faith in Jesus Christ. Are you known as a “good person” or as a “prophet of the Lord?”
2 Kings 3:14 — And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you.”
God’s word is available to those who are faithful to Him. (see also 1 Kings 22:43)
2 Kings 3:18 — This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord.
God does God-sized things.
John 9:2-4 — And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”
Jesus and His disciples passed by a man who had been blind from birth, and the disciples took advantage of the opportunity to ask Jesus a question that has perplexed mankind since the Garden of Eden: “Why?” The disciples questioned Jesus about the cause of the man’s plight – Whose fault was it? Who was to blame for this man’s suffering? Much like Job’s friends, the disciples assumed there had to be a direct connection between someone’s sin and the malady. Certainly, all pain and suffering are ultimately the product of sin, the effects of a broken world, and often we experience the direct, obvious consequences of our own sins. However, we have all experienced situations where suffering was simply unexplainable, and we were left with “Why?” Our human nature wants to find someone or something to blame, an easy answer, and too often, when no scapegoat can be found, people blame God or conclude life is only meaningless chaos.
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The disciples were asking the wrong question. Instead of getting stuck in “Why,” staring hopelessly at the problem, they should have been focused on, “Who,” and “Now what?” Trusting the Sovereignty of God (the “Who”), they should have been asking how they could serve God and glorify God (the “now what”) in this situation which was otherwise outside of their control. Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day,” and He began to minister to the stranger’s needs, ultimately healing Him and bringing Him to salvation. Following Jesus’ example, we must deal with suffering by working the works of God.
- Ephesians 5:15-17 — Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- Ephesians 2:10 — For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Titus 3:14 — And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
- Hebrews 10:24 — And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works….
- Romans 8:28-29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- John 16:33 — I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- 1 John 5:4 — For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
In this broken world, there is much suffering, and we will suffer too. However, victims become victors in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Make the most of every opportunity to minister to the needs of others while leading them to Jesus. Be strong and courageous in the Lord — “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
- 1 Peter 4:19 — Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- Romans 8:18-28 — For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
John 9:16-29 – Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
The Pharisees’ opinions about Jesus were based on what they thought they already knew, while the healed man’s opinion of Jesus was based on his first-hand encounter with Jesus, which was life-changing. This man’s testimony about Jesus, along with the evidence revealed in the man’s changed life, divided even the Pharisees. Do you know Jesus from your personal experience with Him or just from the testimony of others? Those who know Jesus personally are excited to talk about Him with others and don’t have trouble knowing what to say.
John 9:18 – The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight.
Even the greatest miracle won’t convince the hard hearted and prideful that Jesus is Lord.
John 9:19-23 – “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered…. “Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
Many choose religion over Jesus. However, those who have received the grace of God can’t help but proclaim (at all cost) “though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25) And the true disciple of Christ knows that, “God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (John 9:31)
John 9:23 — He is of age; ask him.
Fear of people causes people to remain silent about Jesus.
John 9:24 – So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”
Our pride and selfishness can turn our genuine, God-centered worship into self-centered, misguided religion that makes us a false judge of godliness rather than a messenger of God.
John 9:29-30 – “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.”
Religion is not relationship. Knowing what is written in the Bible is not the same as knowing Jesus. The Pharisees saw the Bible as a rule book from God rather than a book intended to introduce them to Jesus and to learn how to know Jesus. The Bible points to Jesus, but the Pharisees did not recognize Him. The man who was once blind likely didn’t know much Scripture, but he knew Jesus through actual experience. We must strive to know our Bibles inside and out, but we should not hope to learn about Jesus but rather to know Jesus personally.
John 9:31 – We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
God works through those who obey Him.
John 9:38 – He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Belief leads to genuine, heartfelt worship. You won’t truly worship a person you have only read about, but you will worship the God you actually know firsthand.
John 9:39-41 – Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
Judgment comes on those who claim to be experts in God but do not believe in Jesus.
God holds people accountable for what they know. The evidence of God is all around us. How you respond to it is a matter of the heart.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 November 2022: Make the most of every opportunity today to tangibly help others in need while leading them closer to Jesus. Speak Hope into the lives of the hopeless, victory into the lives of victims, and peace into the lives of the harried. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.