Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 2 February 2023:
2 Chronicles 31:1 — Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all.
Worship should lead you into a desire for purity and holiness before the Lord.
2 Chronicles 31:2-4 — And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, each according to his service…. The contribution of the king from his own possessions was for the burnt offerings… And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord.
God expects everyone within the church to play a specific role in worship and ministry under the direction of a church leader. Leaders must lead by example in every way. Hezekiah first gave from His own possessions before asking others to give.
2 Chronicles 31:4 – And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord.
The priests were fully supported so that they could completely dedicate themselves to the Law of the LORD. The church was supported by the tithe.
2 Chronicles 31:10, 14-19 – Azariah the chief priest, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the LORD, we have eaten and had enough and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed his people, so that we have this large amount left.” ….
Financial obedience ensures the church has needed resources for worship, ministry, evangelism, and fellowship and also enables church leaders to focus on leadership rather than fund raising.
2 Chronicles 31:20 – Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.
Good leaders must be good managers and stewards. Not every manager is a good leader, but every good leader is a good manager. Leadership starts with self-leadership. You must be able to effectively manage your own time, money, and resources before you are ready to lead others and manage more.
2 Chronicles 31:21 — And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.
Faith in God and wholehearted dedication enables you to finish the work God appointed you to do.
Matthew 24:3, 30, 36-45 – Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? …Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?”
Today, the disciples ask Jesus two questions addressing two prophetic topics:
1) Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 (Matthew 24:1-35) and
2) Jesus’ final return to judge the living and the dead (Revelation 20–21).
When interpreting Jesus’ response, it is important to remember He is answering two different questions, and scholars debate which verses deal with the destruction of Jerusalem and which deal with End Times. There is much fascination, speculation, confusion, debate, and unfortunately hype associated with End Times prophecy. Here are a few things that seem clear:
1) No one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). Jesus repeatedly emphasizes that His return will be sudden, unexpected, and unannounced. This is an important point. And just to be abundantly clear, “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Anyone who claims to know the day our hour is unquestionably a false teacher.
2) Most people will not see it coming at all, even those who view themselves as religious. (Matthew 24:37-39)
3) People will be going about their business as usual (believers and unbelievers) when the Lord returns. (Matthew 24:40-41)
But the most important thing to take away from today’s readings is Jesus’ warning to remain faithfully obedient while we await His return. Jesus gives this warning several times in different ways. “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” (Matthew 24:46) It is far too easy to become complacent. In the name of grace, we are tempted to take sin far too lightly. As we continue to read this year, consider all the verses that command our pursuit of holiness, purity, and obedience. Also, take to heart all the verses which charge us to be faithful with the Gospel message —
- Philemon 1:6 — And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
- Romans 1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- Romans 10:14-15 — How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
- Jude 1:20-23 — But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Matthew 24:4 – And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.”
Jesus emphasized a warning against deceptive leaders. “Christ” is not a name but rather a title meaning “The Anointed One” or “God’s Chosen Leader.” Many will claim to be the leader who has come to solve all of our problems, but we should only follow Jesus Christ. This is important for Christians to remember during political debates. The only person on earth who is worth following is the one who is closely following Jesus and pointing to Him rather than to themselves.
Matthew 24:11 – And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
Many will be led astray by ungodly political leaders and also by ungodly church leaders who deceive in the name of God.
Matthew 24:12 – And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
Love is dependent upon obedience to God. You cannot really love while in disobedience to God. Disobedience and subsequent lack of love are signs of looming destruction in both a relationship and in a society.
Matthew 24:13 – But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Endurance is required. Not everyone will remain obedient over time. Many who call themselves Christians will compromise to the world. Obedience that is motivated by fear, pride, and even duty will ultimately fail. Only obedience that is truly motivated by love can endure.
Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
The Gospel is proclaimed as a testimony to everyone whether they believe or not. Final judgment comes after the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 February 2023: Share the Gospel with someone today.