Just Ask Him


Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 1 – 5

Second Milers also read –  Acts 4 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read older posts from today’s passage: “The Glory of the Lord Filled the House”; and “A Full House”

“In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. … Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” – (2 Chronicles 1:7, 10)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – (James 1:5)

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” – (Proverbs 2:6)

Solomon was given the opportunity to ask from God anything that he desired. Wow! What would you ask for? Remember that it is God who is giving Solomon this chance: the same God that created everything in the universe; the same God that owns everything on earth. Solomon could have asked for all the wealth in the world. He could have asked for his own planet to live on. He could have asked for anything, and God would have given it to him; but Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge. And, he doesn’t even ask for his own benefit: he asks for wisdom so that he can be a blessing and a help to the people of God. Again, wow!

As a pastor of a local, New Testament church, I realize that I have a great need for wisdom as well. The Book of James tells me that I have the same opportunity afforded to me that Solomon had. I can simply ask for wisdom, and God promises to give it to me; and He won’t rebuke me for asking for it. I need God’s wisdom if I am going to be able to help my family, and the people of Jersey Shore Baptist Church. God has provided many other resources besides prayer that will help us to be wise. He has given us His Word, which is filled with His wisdom. He has also placed within our reach some godly counselor who can share with us some of the wisdom that God has already given them.

There is no excuse for not acquiring the wisdom that we need to fulfill God’s will for our lives as we sojourn on this earth. Wisdom is available. All we have to do is ask.

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Enough Is Enough

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 34 – 36; Proverbs 26

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” – (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

God, in His mercy, will send us messengers to warn us of  the judgment that is coming if we fail to humble ourselves before Him, and submit to His will.  Oftentimes the people of God would turn back to him and would escape the judgment, or at least postpone the judgment.  But here we see the people of God, not only rejecting the Word of God; but are also mocking and attacking His messengers.

Today in America, the Spirit-filled preacher of the Word of God is also mocked, and sometimes even attacked by the world around them; and even sometimes by the people of God.  God will not put up with this too much longer.  There will come a time when God will say, “enough is enough”.  And when that happens we are finished as a nation.

But let’s think of this a little more personally.  Do you as a faithful member of a Bible preaching church consider the preaching and teaching by the pastor as a message from God; or perhaps do you just think of it as just good information that may or may not be helpful.  Are we not guilty of almost the same thing as these people from Judah, when we don’t heed the warnings and exhortation given to us by God through His word in our churches.  When you listen to the preaching this week, look past the preacher and focus on the message that God has supernaturally ordained to be given to you through His messenger.  Support your preacher: cheer him on as he labors to deliver the message from God to your family.

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But For The Grace of God

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33; Proverbs 25

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Memorize – Proverbs 11:13)

“And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.” – (2 Chronicles 33:12 & 13)

In our passage today we see a beautiful picture of the grace of God. The theologians degine “grace” as an unmerited or undeserved favor. In chapter 33, we have the account of King Manasseh who was arguably the most wicked king that the southern kingdom of Judah ever had. He had undone many of the wonderful things that his father, Hezekiah, had done for the nation. Manasseh was into witchcraft, and even had two of his sons “pass through the fire”, which means he sacrificed them. Manasseh was a bad dude, as bad as they get.

In verse 10, the Scripture tells us that God “spake” to Manasseh, but he didn’t listen. God then came in and judged Manasseh by sending in the armies of the Assyrians. Now that got Manasseh’s attention. Now he was ready to listen to God. The Scripture says he “besought” the Lord in his affliction. Manasseh was truly a “new creature” after this moment, and he dedicated the rest of his life to serving the Lord. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to undo all of the evil that he had done before he was redeemed, and even though he finished well, he still has the reputation of being a wicked king.

The first thing that I would like to point out from this passage is that God saves bad people. It is hard for us to fathom the salvation of a man like Manasseh, but God has been in the business of saving wicked men and women for a long time. By the way, it is kind of arrogant on our part to decide who “deserves” salvation. None of us deserves to be saved. We are all sinners, and are all capable of all of the depravity that we have seen in the life of Manasseh. The amazing thing is not that God would save someone like Manasseh, but rather that he would save any of us.

The second thought I would like to pull from this passage is that God had to bring Manasseh down, before he could get his attention. I have often prayed for specific lost people that I know, and I have noticed that God will often allow tragedy to come to their lives in order to get their attention. People who are on top of the world, tend not to take notice of God; but let them go through a severe trial, and they will often re-think things. Though I do not enjoy watching people suffer, I know that the affliction that they may be experiencing today may be the very thing that causes them to turn to the Lord.

The third thought from the passage is that even though it is a wonderful thing that God’s grace reached Manasseh, and that He was saved before it was eternally too late; he still did a lot of bad things in his lifetime. I bet that he wishes that he could go back and re-do some things. But once our time is up, it is up. Manasseh had an appointment with death, and when that appointment came, there was no more time to get things right. We all need to redeem the time, because our time is running out as well.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” – (Hebrews 2:9)

Did you catch that? – every man – even someone as bad as Manasseh – even someone as bad as me

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A Picture of Soulwinning

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 29 – 31; Proverbs 24

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” – (2 Chronicles 30:6)

“So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” – (2 Chronicles 30:10-11)

As I read the passage for today, there were a lot of thoughts that I wanted to develop. The first one came from chapter 29, where Hezekiah told the Levites:

“My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” – (2 Chronicles 29:11)

I was challenged by this verse to be diligent in the Lord’s work because God has chosen me also to serve Him and minister unto Him, and His people.

However, when I got to chapter 30, I realized that there was another truth that I just had to write about. In this passage Hezekiah sends letters to the remnant of the northern kingdom of Israel, and invites them to return to the Lord. Most of the people of the northern kingdom had already been taken into captivity into the land of Assyria; but there were yet many people remaining in the land. Hezekiah gave them all an open invitation to return to Jerusalem and participate in the worship of the Lord in His house.

The sad truth, however, is that most of the people rejected the invitation. Many had even mocked and laughed at the messengers. This is a perfect picture of our soul winning today. We go out with a message from the king, yet most people reject that message; and many will even mock us for our beliefs. Yet, as it was in the days of Hezekiah, some will accept the invitation. We must not get distracted by the multitudes that reject, but instead realize that there are some, maybe only a few, that will receive the precious message of the grace of God.

So don’t get discouraged if it seems that most of this world is not receptive to the message of Christ. Keep looking for those few precious trophies of grace that will listen. Remember though, you have to weed through the scorners, until you eventually find the ones with the soft and penitent hearts, that will embrace the glorious gospel of Christ.

Note – the picture at the top is of Pastor Bob Gray II of Longview Baptist Temple, and a young man that was apparently soft-hearted and receptive to the message of God’s grace. They are out there. We just have to keep looking until we find them.

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Plenty More Where That Came From

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 25 – 28; Proverbs 23

(Second Milers also read – Acts 22 – 24; Memorize Proverbs 11:14)

“And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.” (2 Chronicles 25:9)

In the three chapters we have read today we see pretty much the same pattern that we have observed throughout the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah.  That is, if the king was following the Lord and submitting to His will, His reign was blessed and prosperous.  Conversely, if the king chooses to forsake God, then God also would forsake him.  Out the window would go God’s provision and protection.

I was caught by the story in chapter 25 regarding the King of Judah, Amaziah, hiring 100,000 men out of Israel to help him fight against the Edomites.  He paid 7500 pounds of silver to the Israelites in order to hire them.  God was not pleased with Judah yoking up with Israel for this battle, and He sent a man of God to Amaziah to tell him to fire the Israelites and send them home.  Amaziah was willing to do this, but was upset about the money that he had already spent.  God assured him that there was plenty more where that came from.

I got to thinking about how many times God’s people get messed up over money.  Sometimes we get into a dispute with our brothers and sisters in Christ over some business deal; and we find ourselves fighting over money.  Can I give you some advice:  give in; don’t fight over money.  If someone is insisting that you owe them something, give it to them.  You might say, why would I do that?  Because your relationship with people is more important than any amount of money; and if you do the right thing, God will replace what you lose with interest.  We stress far too much about money.  We give it to the church; but tie a string from ourselves to the money, and then get upset about it later.  Don’t give it if you can’t completely let go of it.  It really comes down to a matter of faith.  If God asks you to give it, then give it.  He has more to give you, and He will bless abundantly the person that trusts Him with their money.

The king of Judah almost continued in a bad plan, simply because he had already laid out the money for it.  He almost let money cause the destruction of his nation.  Many a Christian I know has allowed the love of money to destroy them.  My preacher used to say, “God’s got plenty of money”.  And you and I can get all that we need if we will be willing to let go what He has already given us.  It’s all His anyway.  I am not talking about being a bad steward here; but I am saying that we need to be able to let go of HIS money, anytime He asks us to.

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Too Dependent on the Preacher

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24; Proverbs 22

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” – (2 Chronicles 24:2)

“Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.” – (2 Chronicles 24:22)

The story of King Joash is certainly a fascinating account. After the death of his father, King Ahaziah, he was rescued as a baby from his grandmother, Attaliah, who had all of her grandchildren assasinated so that she could be queen. Joash was rescued and hidden in the house of God for six years, and was influenced greatly by Jehoiada the priest. When Joash finally became king, the influence of Jehoiada remained with him, and Joash was a great king, serving the Lord by repairing the temple, and replacing all of the vessels of gold and silver that were used in the service of the temple. Unfortunately, Jehoiada the priest “waxed old and died”, and King Joash went downhill afterward. It seems that without the influence of a man of God in his life, the peer pressure from some of the wicked men in his kingdom began to overpower him. He eventually goes as far as having Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, put to death.

There are two principles that I would like to consider from this passage. The first is that we need to be careful that our faith is in God, not a man. I have seen this in my ministry, where people get to become too dependent upon me. They look to me to solve their problems for them. The problem with this is that I cannot possibly deliver what these folks expect from me, because I am not God. Eventually I will let them down, and they will throw the towel in on their faith. As a preacher, it is my job to strengthen people’s faith and relationship with God. As John the Baptist said regarding Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease”. I must point them to Christ. I must work to strengthen their relationship with Him, not me. I will certainly have to give special attention and nurturing to the new believers; but I eventually want to work myself out of a job, so that if I blow it, or God removes me from their lives, their faith will remain strong.

The second principle that I would like to pull from this passage is that Joash did well as long as he was being influenced by a preacher. When “his preacher” died, he then divested himself from the influence of all preachers. We need to always place ourselves under the influence of a church, and sound Bible preaching. When we get away from the church, our lives will get out of the will of God. Stay in the church where the Word of God can influence your life for good.

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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl – Who’s Your Friend?

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 18 – 20; Proverbs 21.
(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Memorize Proverbs 10:19)
2Ch 18:7
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. How can you hate someone who is trying to be your friend? Ahab hated Micaiah because, in the king’s eyes, only evil was prophesied and never anything good. At least that was Ahab’s perception. But 2Peter 3:9 tells us that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God sent Micaiah to be a friend to Ahab by telling him the truth. The truth is what was written in 1Kings 16:30-33: “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”
Proverbs 18:24 tells us that a man that hath friends must show himself friendly. And Ahab hated Micaiah. This would be the last chance that Ahab would have to give heed to what God was telling him through his friend Micaiah. Did he listen? Of course not. Ahab hated Micaiah because Ahab could not have things his own way.
So Ahab went to war anyway: against the counsel of Micaiah: against the counsel of God. And you know the rest…
“And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.” (2Chronicals 18:33-34)
If you have a friend, one who is walking with God, maybe you should listen to his or her counsel. It could be a warning. What a friend we have in Jesus. Who’s your friend?
Peace. (3John vs. 14)

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 13 – 17; Proverbs 20

(Second Milers also read – Acts 13 – 15; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. … Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.” – (2 Chronicles 16:7, 10)

This is a very sad story. As I was reading 2 Chronicles 13, I was excited to read about Abijah, the son of Reheboam, who actually was a pretty good king. There aren’t too many kings mentioned in the Bible that are actually good, so I was surprised to see that this man stood for the Lord, even though his father had not. And then in chapters 14 & 15 I read about Abijah’s son, Asa, who was an even better king than his father; at least initially. Those two chapters are full of the good things that Asa did. In fact the Scripture says that “he did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God”. However, when we get to chapter 16, things begin to fall apart. It seems that the kingdom of Judah was threatened by the northern kingdom of Israel; but instead of trusting in God to bring deliverance, Asa hired the kingdom of Syria to bail him out. God sent a “seer”, or prophet by the name of Hanani to deliver the message in 16:7. Hanani basically told Asa that God was “ticked off” because Asa trusted in man instead of putting his faith in the Lord Who had already delivered him through many other battles.

What happens next, however, puts the icing on the cake. Instead of receiving the message from Hanani who was basically just a messenger for God, Asa get’s mad and has him thrown in prison; just for delivering the message that God had told him to deliver. I have had the same experience as a preacher. I pray, and study, and ask the Lord to help me prepare and deliver just the right message to benefit the people in my church; but oftentimes people will become angry with what I have to say. Individuals sometimes think that I am targeting my message directly at them in order to get even with them or something. I am merely trying to preach the message that God has laid on my heart. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that when I am listening to someone preach, and I find myself getting angry, it is always because the Holy Spirit of God is convicting me in that area. I get mad because my flesh doesn’t want to feel like there is anything wrong. I have trained myself to ask the question, “why am I getting angry right now?” I have learned not to direct my anger at the messenger, but to accept what the Lord is trying to teach me, as painful as it may be. None of us like to be corrected, but we all need it. A wise person will receive the correction from the Lord, and will thank the man (or woman) that has been sent by God to deliver the message.

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Who Do You Listen To?

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 9 – 12; Proverbs 19

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.” – (2 Chronicles 10:6-8)

In our reading passage today, in chapter 10, we see the the beginning of the reign of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. It seems that shortly after Rehoboam became king his leadership was tested when a delegation from the northern tribes of Israel came to him asking him to lighten the burden that had been placed upon them by King Solomon. I am assuming that the burden that was placed upon them was a tax burden. Government has always been good at taxing its people, hasn’t it? Anyway, it appears that Rehoboam’s father, Solomon, had gradually increased the tax burden placed upon the people of Israel, and they were tired of it. By the way, it is very interesting to note that in the beginning of Solomon’s reign his people were very happy (9:7); but somewhere along the line his spending became out of control, and the source of most of the revenue came from the people.

Reheboam decides to ask the people to give him some time to consider the request, and he seeks counsel from two groups of people. First, he talks to the old men. Their counsel to Reheboam was to “be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words unto them”. Their belief was that if Solomon worked with the people, the people would love him; but if he continued to tax them as his father had, the people would rebel.

The second group that Reheboam sought counsel from was the young men. They told him to whip the people into shape; to show them who was boss. Basically they told Reheboam to make it harder upon the people. They wanted him to rule with an iron fist. Unfortunately, Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men. The result was disastrous for him, and for the kingdom. The northern tribes rebelled against Reheboam and formed their own kingdom, resulting in a civil war that would last for many years. Reheboam’s decision ended up costing him a whole lot more than the little bit of tax money that the old men had suggested he let the people keep for themselves.

Reheboam should have listened to the old men. Who do you have in your cabinet of counselors? I believe the principle that we can glean from this passage is that we need to be very careful whom we allow to influence us. I would recommend that you would put many godly people in your cabinet of counselors. The Bible says that in the multitude of counselors there is safety, but I am sure that it means only godly counselors. We need to have people in our lives who will be willing to tell us what perhaps we do not want to hear. That cabinet ought to include older men and women who have experienced a little bit of life, and are a little further down the road than we are. It also ought to include some people who are knowledgeable in the Scriptures, like a pastor, or youth leader. It also ought to include godly people who are knowledgeable in particular areas of expertise, such as finances. Choose your counselors wisely, and heed their advice.

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The Glory of the Lord Had Filled the House

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 1 – 5; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read – Acts 3 – 6; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” – (2 Chronicles 5:13-14 KJV)

Nothing pleases the Lord more that the praise and worship of His people. Here in the first five chapters of 2 Chronicles we see Solomon building the temple of God on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. All of the preparations had been made; all of the materials had been provides for; all of the instruments of worship, and the ornate furnishings had been made; and everything had been put in its proper place. Finally, this temple, which was first conceived in the heart of David, is now almost complete. I say almost, because God does not arrive on the scene until His people in one accord begin to worship and praise Him. It isn’t until then that God shows up, and fills the temple with his glory.

Two things caught my attention from this passage. The first is that they played and sang “as one”. That tells me that there was unity and harmony. God loves when His children are dwelling together in unity. The second thing is that God is well pleased with the praise of His people. This is one of the things that sets us apart from other religions. God does not force us to worship Him. Nothing about true worship is forced. Worship and praise are voluntary expressions of our love for the Lord.

As I am writing this passage, I am burdened about many things in my life, and the life of our church. I have been thinking lately that something is missing in our church. I could not put my finger on it before, but I think God has shown me something here. We are not praising the Lord as we should. We are not singing as we should with a heart filled with praise and adoration for our God. The song service in our church should be more than just some obligatory precursor to the preaching. It should be a time when we as God’s children stop everything and focus our attention on Him completely, lifting up our hearts and voices to Him in praise. It’s really pretty simple isn’t it? Maybe if we start praising and worshipping God as we should the glory will fill our house as well.

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