Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 22 January 2023:
2 Chronicles 20:9 — If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.
When crisis comes, God expects His people to turn to Him and to trust in Him.
2 Chronicles 20:12 — We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
No one knows what to do without God’s guidance. We are totally dependent on God for direction, understanding, and wisdom. Human wisdom, apart from submission to the Lord and Holy Spirit empowerment, is an illusion.
2 Chronicles 20:14 — And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel.
The Spirit enables us to know God’s word and will. No one can understand without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
2 Chronicles 20:17 — You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.
If you are walking with the Lord, you will not need to worry about defending yourself. Hold to the truth, and watch God work.
2 Chronicles 20:21 — … he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Faith causes you to give thanks in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
2 Chronicles 20:35-37 — Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.
Again, God does not want His people to partner with the world and will hold His people accountable if they do.
Psalm 8:1 — Psalm 8 starts like the Lord’s Prayer, acknowledging the Majesty of God. Without the right perspective of God, even our prayers are misguided. All sin starts with seeing God wrongly. All wisdom starts with seeing God rightly.
Psalm 8:4 — What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
After seeing God correctly, the second key to life is having the right perspective of ourselves in relationship to Him, totally undeserving of His mercy and grace, nothing but His humble servant, but loved by Him unconditionally.
Psalm 8:9 — O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Start and end praising God’s majesty!
Psalm 9:1 – I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
The habit of praising God publicly keeps you on track and points the Way to others.
Psalm 9:10 — And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
How well do you really know God, not how well you know ‘about’ God, but ‘know’ God? Jesus came that we could truly “know Him who is true.” (1 John 5:20) In fact Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God – “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) The better you truly know God, the more you will trust Him (faith), love Him, and obey Him and the more you will grow in the big three Christian attributes – faith, hope (faith projected forward), and love. Paul reminds us that among these three, love is the greatest, but he also tells us that love rests on faith – “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) Love is the greatest mark of faith and true relationship with God – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) The one who knows God and loves God, obeys God – “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3, 4) Jesus said that his sheep not only know his voice, but they also follow him. (John 10) In fact, it is in the following that we grow in the knowing, trusting, loving, and obeying. We grow in our trust through personal experience in the faithfulness of God. Knowing God is not just reading about God, it is about walking with God and seeking Him with all of our heart. Knowing God is about relationship, not religion. Witnesses testify to what they have experienced first-hand, not about what they have heard about (that is hearsay). Our witness to others is only powerful when it is first-hand. Paul said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11) “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) Knowing God, trusting Him, loving Him, and obeying Him, is a growth process – “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Though we have a relationship with God, we must pursue greater relationship with God – “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) So, how well do you know God? Do you desire to know him further? Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Today is a new day.
Psalm 9:13 — O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death.
How are you trying to solve your relationship problems and the injustices you are experiencing? Go to God. He controls everything including the hearts of people.
Psalm 9:17 — The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God.
What happens when a nation makes laws contrary to God’s laws?
Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Your character is your most precious asset.
Proverbs 22:2 – The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.
Riches mean nothing on Judgment Day.
Proverbs 22:4 – The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
Riches and honor and life are in the hands of the LORD. He gives them to the humble.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The formative years of a child’s life are critical to life-long success.
Proverbs 22:9 – Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
Giving requires trust that God will richly provide. Generosity is a measure of faith.
Proverbs 22:10 — Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.
Strong teams, churches, or organizations cannot tolerate divisive people.
Proverbs 22:11 – He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
Gracious speech comes from a pure heart; a pure heart is to be greatly valued.
Proverbs 22:14 – The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.
Adultery is a punishment from God against the adulterer who has already been unfaithful to God in his heart. “…none who touches her will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 6:29)
Proverbs 22:15 — Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
Do you obey God’s word on your own, or does God need to give you some incentive in the form of discipline? Better to listen and obey instantly.
Proverbs 22:17-19 — Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.
Obeying God’s word will be pleasant to you. To bring you fullness of joy in life, God has done an amazing thing: He has given you His very word. Memorize it, and let it guide your every move.
- John 16:1 — “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.”
- 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.”
- John 15:11 — These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
- John 17:13 — But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
Proverbs 22:21 — …to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
God’s word will give you a true answer.
Proverbs 22:24, 25 — Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Be careful not to let the bad habits of others be a greater influence on you than God’s word.
Proverbs 22:26-27 — Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?
Again, God doesn’t want His people to have debt. “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
Proverbs 22:28 – Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.
God has established certain rights that you never have the right to take from another person.
Proverbs 22:29 – Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
God expects you to be excellent in what you do. Your excellence will give you influence and magnify your testimony as you glorify God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 January 2023: Today, rejoice thankfully in the face of your challenges, praise the LORD in gratitude, recount your many blessings, obey the LORD, and trust Him with the outcomes, remembering that nothing can separate you from the love of God or rob you of His perfect blessings. Faith is not proven in easy times, faith is proven and strengthened in difficult times, and through trials we experience the love of God in ways we couldn’t without clinging to Him in complete dependence.