WEEK 48, Day 7, Sunday, 4 December 2022

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 4 December 2022:

2 Kings 23:13, 14 — And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And he broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the bones of men.

Josiah made a covenant before the Lord, “to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul.” His first step was to “put away all filthiness.” (James 1:21)

We cannot experience the fullness of joy and blessings in our relationship with God while we continue to hang onto sins which are detestable to the One we love. Josiah had to dig deep to remove the idolatry around him which was deeply rooted in Israel’s history and included national high places for idol worship. These high places, built around the same time as the Temple, were by now as much a part of Judah’s national identity as anything else, built by their hero, Solomon, the wisest man of their day, the son of David! Yet, they had to go, likely much to the dismay of many.

As Christians, fidelity may require that we remove things or change things that have always been a part of our lives but that do not meet God’s standard. Looking at our lives from God’s perspective and His standard will most certainly demand massive change in our lives. We may have to get rid of sins which have become old companions or which we have even attached to our personal identity – “That’s just who I am.” The change may come at a tremendous personal cost. However, our love for God demands it. It takes great faith to change what has always been there. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

2 Kings 23:24 – Moreover, Josiah put away… the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law… found in the house of the Lord.

What might be your “household gods,” those close and personal, perhaps private thoughts, attitudes, practices, relationships or things in your life which detract from your holiness and hinder your relationship with God? Today is the day to remove them. As you seek to clean house, don’t ignore those “respectable” inconspicuous sins like jealousy, anger, judgementalism, selfishness, and pride, which are just as deadly as the so-called “big” sins widely considered unacceptable (Consider reading the Book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges). Don’t let anything stand which is unacceptable before the Lord, even if it has always been there.

  • Joshua 24:23 — He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
  • Hebrews 12:1, 2 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • 1 Samuel 15:23 — For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
  • Colossians 3:5 — Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
  • Ezekiel 14:3 — Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
  • Psalm 66:18 — If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened….

Psalm 140:1, 2 – Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually.

Compare these verses with Proverbs 26:17-28. God wants us to call on Him to protect us from the ungodly.

Psalm 140:11 – Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

Eventually evil catches up to the sinner.

Psalm 141:3, 4 – Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Pray to God that He will guard you and give you strength where you are weak and easily tempted by sin. If you can’t seem to control your mouth, pray to God for help. If you are tempted in a certain area of your life, pray that God will guard your heart. If you are easily influenced by others, pray for a greater influencing of the Spirit in your life.

Psalm 141:5 — Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.

Strong rebukes against sin are a gift often under appreciated.

Psalm 142:2 – I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.

If you are going to complain, complain to God and to no one else.

Psalm 142:3 — When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!

No matter what you are going through, God knows your situation and will take care of you.

Psalm 142:4 – …there is none who takes notice of me.

When you feel completely alone, God is there for you, the only One who can truly love you unconditionally, the only One who will never abandon you, the only one you can really count on, the only One you really need. Walk with Him through trials, growing closer to Him every day. Trust Him completely.

Proverbs 4:7 – The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.

If you want to be wise, you have to choose to seek wisdom from God’s word. Many say they want to be wise but hardly crack that Bible. You cannot have true wisdom apart from God’s word.

Proverbs 4:14 – Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.

To be wise, you must also choose to reject all that is unwise, all that is sinful, all that God rejects. Have nothing to do with worthless, ungodly things.

Proverbs 4:16, 17 – For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

Ungodly people can’t help but cause problems and pain for other people; they can’t control themselves.

Proverbs 4:18, 19 – But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

Everyone is either growing closer to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life, or farther away. No one stays where they are. If you are not getter brighter by reflecting the Light of Jesus as you get closer to Him, you are getting darker as you move farther away from Him. How will your light shine today?

Proverbs 4:18, 19 – But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

Only Christians have any hope of sanctification.

Proverbs 4:20-21, 23 – My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart…. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Key to life is protecting your heart from sin; critical to protecting your heart from sin is remaining in God’s word and storing it up in your heart.

Proverbs 4:23-27 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

The Bible warns, above all else, to guard your heart, and it tells you how to do it: Watch your mouth; don’t gaze upon or ponder sinful things; consider very carefully what you are doing and why, scrutinizing your motives; and walk far away from evil and temptations, keeping your path straight towards Jesus.

Daily choices impact your heart and your character. How do you guard your heart? Proverbs 4 gives you sound guidance.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 December 2022: Clean house today. Remove those things in your life which dishonor God and distract you from Him.

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