Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 3 January 2023:
Here is a short video overview of Chronicles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR7xaHv3Ias
2 Chronicles 1:1 – Solomon the son of David established himself in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
Solomon was great because the LORD was with Him.
2 Chronicles 1:9 – O Lord God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.
God fulfilled His promise to Abraham. (See Gen 12:2, 13:16)
2 Chronicles 1:11, 12 — Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.
God does not want your motivation to be power and prestige but rather the ability to serve others. God rewards selfless service.
Matthew 2:1 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king.
Herod was one of the most powerful kings of his day, his ruins still remain visible to this day. But in the time of Herod, Jesus was born, without earthly wealth, without political power, and without grand acclaim. He had no armies and never built anything we can see today. It took incredible faith to believe that in the time of Herod, a small poor Jewish child was the Savior. Would you have believed then? Do you believe today? Do you believe enough to surrender your life to Him? Have you placed your complete trust in Him? Has He become your life’s purpose?
Matthew 2:1-7 – Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him….” Herod… [assembled] all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him…. Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
Very few people knew Gods’ word well enough to know that the time of Jesus was at hand – almost everyone completely missed it. However, among the very few who knew that the Messiah had come, even fewer sought Him out to honor Him as King. Some studied God’s words with intent to counter Jesus while others studied the same word in order to worship Him. Even armed with superior knowledge, some still chose to reject Jesus. The same remains true today. Elite Bible knowledge is required, but it isn’t enough. Ultimately, belief is a spiritual matter not an intellectual matter.
Matthew 2:13 – Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
“Whenever God clearly speaks to you and you obey His will, you can expect to face opposition. Spiritual assaults and attacks by the ungodly are not always signs that you are out of the will of God; they may even indicate that you are in the very center of God’s will. Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a righteous man who feared God, yet his obedience to God forced him to flee for his life to a foreign country. Joseph’s hardship came, not because of his sin, but because of his obedience. Although Joseph and Mary were forced to move to another country, they remained in the center of God’s will.
Jesus warned His disciples to expect persecution from the world as they obeyed the Father. He reminded them that they would not face persecution alone, for Jesus, too, had faced the hostility of the world and had been victorious (John 16:33).
Don’t become discouraged when you face opposition. Opposition may indicate that you are acting in obedience to God. Do not let opposition cause you to doubt God’s will. Examine your heart. If you have done what you know He has asked you to do, trust Him to see you through the antagonism that comes from those who are not walking with Him. When they encountered persecution, the disciples did not ask God to remove their opponents, but to give them boldness as they faced opposition (Acts 4:24-31). God’s will for you may involve hardship, as it did for His Son (John 15:20), but He loves you and will not allow you to face more than you are able to handle.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Matthew 2:13, 20 – Remain there until I tell you…. Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel.
God knows what you cannot know and sees what you cannot see. Our natural perceptions are very limited, but the Holy Spirit can give you supernatural perceptions. When you walk in the Spirit, guided by God’s word, He will lead you where you would not know to go and when you would not know to go. He will keep you from the threats you never saw. Joseph was tuned-in to the Spirit’s guidance because He was committed to obedience. He obeyed the word God had given Him, and God gave Him more. If you are walking in disobedience, you are not in position to hear God’s next instruction. “Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 January 2023: Consider your motives behind your Bible study: Are you seeking God’s blessings or seeking God Himself, to be closer to Him? Even with Bible study, you can endeavor in a self-centered way or a God-centered way. Seek to study God’s word in a way that places Him at the center, that makes knowing Him and loving Him the only goal, regardless of whatever blessings you might receive. Be like the wise men in the Bible who only sought to Honor the King and found their greatest joy merely in being in His presence. (Matthew 2:1-10)