Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 5 December 2022:
2 Kings 24:3-4 — Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the LORD, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also for the innocent blood that he had shed. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD would not pardon.
God will hold nations accountable for the shedding of the innocent blood of babies.
2 Kings 24, 25 – God’s judgment can instantly eliminate what took generations to create. In an instant, the pride of a nation can be gone.
2 Kings 25:7 — They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon.
Godless people are cruel for cruelty’s sake. There is no limit to the evil a godless person might do.
2 Kings 25:18 – And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest and the three keepers of the threshold….
God’s judgement holds both political and religious leaders accountable.
2 Kings 25:22 – And over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, he appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, governor.
Through devastating judgment, God leaves a remnant and hope.
Revelation 3:1 — I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
The most popular and active church was spiritually dead though the population knew it not.
Revelation 3:2 – I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Partial obedience is disobedience.
Revelation 3:7-12 – “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
The church that was viewed as weak by people received praise without rebuke from God. The powerful church is the church which remains faithful to God with perseverance in a world of infidelity — “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
Some believe this verse means that the faithful will be protected from tribulation, while others believe this verse says Christians will be kept from final judgment, not worldly tribulations.
Revelation 3:15-20 — “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The richest church in the earthly sense was the poorest church in God’s eyes. In partnership with the world, they were half-hearted followers of Christ, which really isn’t following at all. You are either walking with Christ or walking somewhere else. Jesus has no part-time employees; you are either working for Him or against Him. He is either your goal today or you are in pursuit of idols. It’s really that simple.
Revelation 3:16 – So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
God does not accept the half-hearted ‘Christian.’ Either Jesus is both your Lord and Savior, or He is neither. There is no partial marriage with Jesus.
Revelation 3:17 — I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot….
These are particularly haunting words because the church was blind to its own spiritual condition, believing it was spiritually on fire when, in fact, it was lukewarm and unacceptable to the Lord. Perhaps they wrongly interpreted their financial prosperity as blessings of approval from God. In reality, their comfort only made them complacent. Of note, the only churches that aren’t rebuked by God are the poor and persecuted. It is so very critical that we humbly and continually measure our lives from the plumb line of God’s word while also remaining receptive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the rebukes of other Christians who reveal the truth of our personal ‘blind spots’ – what we can’t or refuse to see in ourselves. To God we should pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23) We should also have the attitude of the Psalmist from our readings this weekend – “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.” (Psalm 141:5) The foundation of your integrity is your ability to be honest with yourself about your fidelity to God — humility. Can you handle the truth?
Revelation 3:19 – Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Be thankful for God’s discipline as it shows He loves you. Your response should be repentance, surrender, and wholehearted obedience.
Revelation 3:22 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Can you hear the Spirit? Only through the counsel of the Spirit can you know what to do in life. Only through the Spirit can you have wisdom. Knowing how to hear the Spirit is critical to your life. To hear the Spirit, you have to truly listen from your heart, desiring God’s will and not your own; you have to walk if faithfulness to what you already know from God’s word, you have to pray without ceasing, and you have to remove the noise of selfishness and sin that keep you from hearing.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit.
- Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
- Ephesians 4:3 – Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Galatians 5:25 – If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 December 2022: Be guided by the Spirit today. (Revelation 3:22)