YEAR 2, WEEK 2, Day 7, Sunday, 15 January 2023

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 15 January 2023:

2 Chronicles 13:6 — Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord….

To rebel against God’s chosen workers is to rebel against God.

2 Chronicles 13:8 — And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods.

No number is sufficient to defeat God’s plan.

2 Chronicles 13:9 – Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands?  Whoever comes for ordination with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are not gods.

God chooses His leaders; they are not chosen by powerful or influential men, popular vote, or any other means.  Remember, David wasn’t even invited to his own anointing ceremony.

  – 1 Samuel 16:6-13 — When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.”  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”  Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel.  And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”  Then Jesse made Shammah pass by.  And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”  And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.  And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.”  Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”  And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.”  And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”  And he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome.  And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”  Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers.  And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.  And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

2 Chronicles 13:11 – They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him.

God’s true disciples are revealed by how they prioritize and emphasize worship.

2 Chronicles 13:18 — The men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers.

With God on your side, nothing and nobody can defeat you.  Nothing on earth can thwart God’s plan for your life if you are willing to trust Him and obey Him.  The faithful rely on God through seemingly impossible circumstances and are rewarded by God.

2 Chronicles 13:20 – Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah.  And the Lord struck him down, and he died.

Don’t worry, God knows those who oppose Him and will judge them in His ways and His timing.

2 Chronicles 13:22 – The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

God’s account of your life will focus on your relationship with Him and your fidelity to Him, not so much on your accomplishments.

Psalm 5:3 – O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Start your day the right way, rededicating yourself to God, and then keep your eyes open to see what God is doing, prepared to join Him in His activity.  One of the best things you could do this year is commit to beginning every day with prayer and Bible study.

Psalm 5:4 – For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.

Don’t let sin hinder your relationship with God.  He can forgive your sin, but He cannot tolerate it.  He cannot bless sin.  God hates sin.  He will deal with it.

Psalm 5:5 – The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

God does hate some people.  “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and love cannot “envy or boast” (1 Corinthians 13:4).  A boastful person is an unloving person, and an unloving person (defying the Greatest Commandment of God) is ungodly and therefore, at enmity with the LORD.  If you love flowers, you hate weeds.  To love love, one must hate hate.  Those who promote hate (unloving behavior), are committing the highest cosmic treason against the Sovereign LORD and will face judgment.  Ironically, though not surprisingly, today many who speak out against “hate” are the most boastful and hateful people of all.  The true apprentice of Christ will not be deceived.

Psalm 5:7 – But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house.

We can approach God because of His steadfast love, not because of our own merit.  We are unworthy apart from Jesus who covers us over with His righteousness.

Psalm 5:8 – Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. 

We cannot know the way; we must be led by the Holy Spirit.  Only God can make our way straight.

Psalm 5:11 – But let all who take refuge in you rejoice.

Taking refuge in God requires obedience to Him.

Psalm 6:1 – O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.

This is what we want from God; are we willing to give this type of grace to others?

Psalm 6:8, 9 – Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.  The Lord has heard my plea. 

When persecuted, don’t try to take matters into your own hands.  Turn to the Lord, and wait on Him to deliver you.  God will hear your prayer and do only what is very best.  Again, you cannot know what is very best from your very limited perspective and understanding.  God knows what you cannot know.  God can do what you cannot do.  When you try to act from your perspective, you only add to sin and make matters worse.  Be patient and persevere through persecution.  Trust and obey and watch what God will do.  When He sees you through, you will grow in faith and have more strength to follow Him than you did before.

Proverbs 15:1, 18 — A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger….  A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Christians should be masters at bringing peace into every situation, at being able to de-escalate conflict and to promote unity.  Look at every conflict or potential conflict as an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ.  Challenge yourself to be a peacemaker at all times and critique yourself with each event.  Our mission is reconciliation, and we are God’s priests on earth.  How well do you handle difficult people?

Proverbs 15:3 – The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Nothing escapes God’s attention, and He is in complete control.  He will not be mocked.

Proverbs 15:4 — A gentle tongue is a tree of life.

Do your words refresh others and make them feel more alive?

Proverbs 15:7 — The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

Are people smarter after talking with you?

Proverbs 15:8, 9, 29 — The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.  The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness…. The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. 

Your true worship is loving others.  No amount of Sunday services can make up for an unloving heart and unloving behavior.  Yes, God forgives the repentant person, but with genuine repentance comes a changed heart and changed behavior.

Don’t let unrepentant sin stand in the way of your prayers.

Proverbs 15:10 – There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.

Discipline is pain delivered in love designed to protect you from destruction.

Proverbs 15:11 – Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!

God knows everything about your heart, far more than you do.  Pray that God will expose your heart to you and create in you a pure heart that loves Him wholeheartedly.

Proverbs 15:12 – A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.

Scoffers despise Christians who call for repentance.

Proverbs 15:14 — The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

Do you talk when you should be listening and learning?

Proverbs 15:16 – Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. 

Jacob got it all along with great trouble.  Better he had simply waited upon the Lord and received it all without sorrow.  Getting all that you want is never a blessing unless all that you want is Jesus.

Proverbs 15:18 — The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.

Lazy people seek a life of ease, not realizing that they are actually making their lives much, much more difficult.

Proverbs 15:19 – The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns.

Laziness prevents us from achieving all that we could.

Proverbs 15:23 — To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

Do you know when to speak and when to be silent?  Do you have a good, constructive sense of timing when providing advice to others?

Proverbs 15:24 – The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.

Everyone is either on the right path or the wrong one.  Only one path leads to God, and it is “narrow.”  Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  No one gets to God but through Him.  The Jesus path is the only path.  If you don’t really believe that, you not only have no witness, the Bible says to are an anti-Christ.

Proverbs 15:28 — The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Do you think before you speak?

Proverbs 15:31 — The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.

Do you receive correction well? “Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 January 2023:  Focus on following God’s lead today.  Don’t just act – pray and wait.  When in doubt, test your thoughts with the standard of God’s word before you act.  Obey what you know, and continue to pray for more insight.  Be very careful not to act on emotions or ‘common sense.’  Remember, feelings are often very misleading.  Gut feelings and intuition can be very valuable, but only where they are aligned with God’s word.  God will never lead you into sin or ask you to do ‘good’ things in bad ways. (Psalm 5:1-8)

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