The Heart of the King
Today’s Reading – Ezra 3 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Romans 13 – 16; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 28)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17
Read the “0528 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Leave Them Alone” and “Stop Living in the Past“
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1)
“(2) Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” (Ezra 1:2)
“(1) Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. … (7) Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.” (Ezra 6:1, 7)
“(21) And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat, (22) And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:21-22)
“Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:” (Ezra 7:27)
Here in the Book of Ezra, we have read about three different kings of Persia which were clearly in favor of the people of God returning into their land and rebuilding their city and Temple. In chapter one, we read about the original decree issued by Cyrus, and in the following chapters we see that the people got busy working on the restoration of the house of God. However, in chapter four, we learn that there were enemies of the people of God who opposed the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, and they petitioned King Artaxerxes (I) and convinced him that these Jews were trouble makers and that the work should stop. This king temporarily halts the project until a further investigation could be made. He later revoked the halting of the project and even gave the people of God whatever they needed to do the will of God (7:27). In chapter 6, we read about Darius who also supported the Israelites as they re-built their Temple, and he even commanded that everyone else in the area leave them alone.
Each of these kings was under the sovereign control of the King of Kings, and though they also had their own free will, God used them to accomplish His purposes. The bottom line is that the Lord is in control. If God’s people are submissive to His will and obedient to His commands, God will provide civil leadership that will be supportive of what the people want to do. The key is really in the hands of God’s people. “If my people … ” (2 Chronicles 7:14) do what they are supposed to do, God will heal the land, including the political leadership. Here in Ezra, God’s people were submissive to God and were trying to obey Him, and God was helping them. The only hiccup during this time was when the people allowed the opposition (and there will always be opposition) to cause them to quit, but as soon as they got back on track and determined to finish the project, God sent decrees from the king to help them accomplish God’s purpose.
Our job as New Testament believers is to just make sure that we are living inside the perfect will of God, doing whatever He has called us to do. Then we can trust that God will do His part. He will provide for us, protect us, and send some people our way who will support and help us. God is still in control today.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
He Is THE God – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Reading – Ezra 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Romans 9 – 12; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 27)
Read the “0527 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(Ezra 1) “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, (2) Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (3) Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. (4) And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. (5) Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. (6) And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. (7) Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; (8) Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. (9) And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, (10) Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. (11) All the vessels of gold and of silver were fivethousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.”
Good morning. It was the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia. And he was taking care of business. He had taken over all the kingdoms of the world, and gives all the glory to the LORD God (verse 2). There are four aspects king Cyrus’ relationship with God.
1) King Cyrus recognized who the LORD God was.
In verse 3, he says, “…He is THE God…”
He recognized the LORD God of Israel as THE God.
(Isaiah 43:10-11) “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (11) I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
2) King Cyrus obeyed the LORD when He gave him the task of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.
In verse 2, he says, “The LORD God of heaven… …hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem…”
(Romans 6:16) “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
King Cyrus knew whose servant he was. He belonged to THE God. God not only called him to the task, but also…
3) God supplied the means to accomplish the task.
Verse 5 tells us that, “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD…”
He does this just like He did with Moses and the Tabernacle…
(Exodus 31:1-11) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, (4) To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, (5) And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. (6) And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; (7) The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, (8) And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, (9) And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, (10) And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office, (11) And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.”
The fourth item in king Cyrus’ relationship with God is that…
4) He gave back to the LORD.
Verses 7 and 11 tell us, “Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem… All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.”
Look at what happened to Zacchaeus when he was visited by God…
(Luke 19:8-9) “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”
Just to give you an idea, let’s say that it was an even split from king Cyrus: 2700 vessels of gold, and 2700 vessels of silver. And let’s say that each vessel weighed in at 8 ounces. That would be 21600 ounces of gold and 21600 ounces of silver. At today’s prices that would be $1976 for an ounce of Gold, and $26 for an ounce of silver. If king Cyrus did that today, he would have given back to the Lord almost $43.5 million.
How is your relationship with the LORD? Can He, or has He trusted you with a task to complete? Do you trust Him to supply you with what you need? Could you loosen your grip on $43.5 million, or even your 10% tithe? Just something to think about. But all in all, you can see that king Cyrus was obedient to God, THE God, THE One and Only GOD. He was faithful to God and helped God’s people. King Cyrus was a good steward of what God had given him.
(1Corinthians 4:2) “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Are you faithful in what God has given you to do?
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
Enough is Enough
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 34 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Romans 5 – 8; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 26)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32
Read the “0526 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“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.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
If God Be For Us
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Romans 1 – 4; Psalm 119; Proverbs 25)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Grace of God”
Read the “0525 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“6 And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, 7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8)
There is a tremendous truth contained in the passages listed above, beginning with the story of Hezekiah found in today’s reading. The southern kingdom of Judah was under siege from the great and powerful Assyrians during the reign of Judah’s King Hezekiah. But when this great army with a far superior military might threatened the people of God, Hezekiah demonstrated both great leadership as well as great faith.
Notice first that he calmed the people. In verse six, the Scriptures tell us that Hezekiah spake comfortably to the people. He did not make the situation worse by panicking. He kept calm under a tremendous amount of pressure and His strength served to strengthen the people. Notice also that his strength was based upon his great faith. He knew that God was going to help them. He trusted that the Lord would deliver the people of God from the Assyrians. How did he know that? Well, he knew God, but according to 2 Kings 19, he was also assured by God through Isaiah that Jerusalem would be spared:
“14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, 18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. 20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. … 32 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” (2 Kings 19:14-20, 32-34)
Elisha demonstrated the same calmness under pressure that Hezekiah did. When he was under attack, he assured his servant that God would fight for them.
“15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)
David also taught his son Solomon:
“20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)
In the New Testament, Paul summed up this same assurance and peace that we can have inside the will of God this way:
“31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
We do not need to panic; we only need to be sure that we are doing what God wants us to be doing and then rest in the fact that He has our backs. There is great peace in being inside the will of God.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Seek Ye First
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 29 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 25 – 28; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8
Read the “0524 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from this passage – “Living for the Lord – A Formula for Success;” and “Soulwinning in 2 Chronicles“
“3 He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.” (2 Chronicles 29:3)
“33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Hezekiah is not my favorite king, but he is high on the list. He definitely started out extremely well. As a very young, 25-year-old king, he made it his first order of business to open the doors of the Temple and repair it. By the way, have you noticed from our reading through these chapters in 1st and 2nd Chronicles that the House of God would always fall into disrepair when God’s people got away from Him. And when a good king came along, he placed the repair of the Temple and the reinstitution of sacrifices and observances high on his priority list. Here in chapter twenty-nine, Hezekiah commands the Levites to remove “the filthiness” out of the Temple. That word, “filthiness,” is an extremely strong word which describes the worst kinds of impurity and here is probably referring to idolatry.
Once all of the garbage was out of the Temple, they began to worship the Lord through sacrifices and singing:
“27 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. 28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped. 30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.” (2 Chronicles 29:27-30)
I believe that a pattern can be seen here in the reign of King Hezekiah that we can follow in our lives today. We need to get rid of the all the garbage that this world pumps into our lives, homes, and churches also. And we also need to confess our sins and sinfulness to the Lord recognizing the sacrifice that He made for the sins when He died for us on the Cross of Calvary. Then will also be able to sing, praise, and worship the Lord. But let’s not wait to start this process; let’s get right on it. Just as Hezekiah put God at the highest level of priority when he became the king, we need to start right now to put God and His will first in our lives.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Plenty More Where That Came From
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 25 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 22 – 24; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11
Read the “0523 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read previous posts from this morning’s passage – “His Heart Was Lifted Up” and “The Key to Prosperity“
“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)
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8)
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10)
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 chose to forsake God, then God also forsook 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 somewhere around 7500 pounds of silver (over $2.1 million) 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.
Another thought from this passage is this: how many times do we continue going down a path that is clearly not the will of God simply because we refuse to admit we made a mistake? I have made many bad decisions in my life; some of them were irreversible, but many were. But, even when I could get turned around, I often didn’t because I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong, so I continued suffering the consequences of my bad decision. How stupid! A truly wise person will be able to quickly recognize a bad move, and make the corrections necessary. I remember one time my wife and I were traveling to Florida to visit her family. This was before the time of GPS, but I had followed the maps perfectly until I got within a few miles of her brother’s house, and that’s when I messed up. I took a wrong turn, and ended up getting lost, but I refused to call her brother for help, or stop and ask directions. I continued driving further and further away simply because I was too prideful to admit I made a mistake. This was very frustrating for my wife and family. After 20 plus hours of driving we were so close to our destination, yet we drove in circles for another hour or more when we could have been where we were going in a few minutes. Dumb, dumb, dumb! Don’t be like me. Realize your mistake, take the loss, and change direction.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Too Dependent on the Preacher
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 19 – 21; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0522 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “How Will You Be Remembered?“
“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 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 went as far as having Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, put to death after being rebuked by him.
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 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.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Keep Your Eyes on the Lord
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 18 – 20 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 16 – 18; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15
Read the “0521 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2Chronicles 20:12)
My focus this morning is on chapter 20 where we see the nation of Judah threatened by a federation of three nations. Together, these nations were far superior in both numbers and power to the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, did not seek out help from other nations did (as Asa did in chapter 16); but instead turns the problem completely over to the Lord. Jehoshaphat was a great man of faith, though not a separated man. He often would yoke up with the ungodly northern kingdom. However, here he does everything right. Notice in this passage how he demonstrates great faith in God:
1 When first confronted with the problem he sought God. Don’t wait until all else fails. Go to God first.
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,” (2Chronicles 20:3-5)
2 He searched the Scriptures. Notice in his prayer, in vv 5 – 13, he knows the principles and promises contained in the Scripture. He was able to ask “in the will of God” because he knew what God had promised in His Word.
3 He submitted to the man of God. In v 14, Jehaziel prophesies, and tells Jehoshaphat what to do; and Jehoshaphat obeys the prophecy of the man of God. When you are faced with a battle, go to the man of God for counsel; and listen to what he has to say.
4 He sang praises to God before the battle was actually won. This demonstrated both that he had great faith, and that he was content with whatever God was going to do. Do you trust God enough with the outcome of your battle to praise him before you see the final conclusion.
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endurethfor ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” (2Chronicles 20:21-22)
The Christian life is full of battles; but if God is with us, the victory is already ours. Don’t fight the battle in your own strength. Keep your eyes upon the Lord , and allow Him to win the battle for you.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
D. D. I. Y: Don’t Do It Yourself – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 13 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 13 – 15; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)
Read the “0520 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.” (2Chronicles 16:1-6)
Good morning. Take a look at the message that God had sent king Asa in chapter 15…
“And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” (2Chronicles 15:1-2)
And as a result, king Asa had no more war up to and including his 35th year. For some reason, in his 36th year, king Asa went to king Ben-hadad for help against Israel. He didn’t go to the Lord. The Lord had another message for king Asa…
“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. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. 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.
” (2Chronicles 16:7-10)
You will notice that Asa became angry with this, and in verse 10, we can see three attributes of Asa’s anger.
1) Asa was angry with the preacher sent from God.
2) Asa was angry with the Word of God.
3) Asa was angry with the people of God.
And all this anger reminds me of what God asked Jonah…
“Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)
Are you relying on your own strength, or the strength of others instead of the Lord? Could the reason that you are failing be that you want what you want and not what God wants? King David had many enemies. His plan to cover up the adulterous affair he had with Bathsheba failed. He wanted to build a temple to God, but God stopped him. He could have gotten angry when his sin was found out. He could have gotten angry because the good thing he was trying to do in building the temple was stopped. But he didn’t. In Psalm 37, king David gives us a guide to being a succcess in God’s eyes…
“A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 37 1-9)
1) Trust In The LORD.
…and do good. He is not going to steer you in the wrong direction. The last part of this verse, verse 3, tells us we will dwell in the land and be fed.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
If God says He will do it, He will. Trust in the LORD.
2) Delight In The LORD.
…and He will give you the desires of your heart. God will put His desires in your heart: you will want what God wants.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
The Holy Bible shows us what God desires. When we delight in the Lord, He gives us His desires. In fulfilling those desires, He will give us good success.
3) Commit Thy Way Unto The LORD.
If you are trusting and delighting in the Lord, you will want to commit the direction you are taking to Him.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
4) Rest In The LORD.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
If you are trusting and delighting in the Lord, and have committed your way to Him, you can find rest in the Lord. He gave you the trust. He gave you the delighting in Him: His desires became your desires. And He showed you the direction in which you should go, and what to do. You can rest in the Lord because He gives that to you too.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)
And if nothing offends you, then why are you getting angry?
5) Cease from anger.
“Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)
No you don’t. King Asa was angry. It did nothing for him but his anger did hurt others. And he was angry to the end…
“And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.” (2Ch 16:11-14)
Cease from anger.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
There is Always a Remnant Seeking the Lord
Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 9 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Acts 10 – 12; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121
Read the “0519 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Not Happy Anymore”
“13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. 14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD: 15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. 17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.” (2 Chronicles 11:13-17)
In today’s reading we see the wisdom and tremendous success of Solomon in chapter nine, which was even noticed by people from distanced lands such as the Queen of Sheba. Unfortunately, though Solomon started out very wisely, he chose to forsake the wisdom of God as he got older, and made a bunch of mistakes that affected the entire nation in a negative way. When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, took over the kingdom, the people of Israel were a little disgruntled because of the oppressive burdens that were put upon them by Solomon. In chapter ten, Rehoboam has an opportunity to correct some of the abuses brought on by his father, but he instead listened to the unwise counsel of his young friends and make the situation worse. As a result, the northern tribes of Israel split off from the kingdom and created their own kingdom to the north. So, now there are two kingdoms, Israel in the north, and Judah, in the south.
The biggest problem caused by this rift was that the people from the north were separated from the Temple, which was located in the southern kingdom of Judah. The new king of Israel, Jeroboam, did everything in his power to keep the people from the north from traveling down south to worship the Lord. He was afraid that if they went to Jerusalem to worship that they would be tempted to reunite with the southern kingdom. He even set up two golden calves in the northern kingdom so that people could have something to worship. Unfortunately for him, many of the people living within his kingdom were never going to accept a false worship system; they were going to continue seeking and serving the Lord (v. 16).
The Levites who were not part of the tribe of Judah and lived throughout the northern kingdom, moved south to be near the Temple. And also many people, common people from every tribe who were not full-time ministers for the Lord, moved south as well. Some of them probably left family and friends of a lifetime because of their love and devotion to the Lord. This was not a time of great spiritual revival; it was a time of war and division, a period where many were forsaking God and His Word, but there were some that were still seeking Him. There will always be a remnant of people who will choose the Lord over every other thing or person in their lives.
Elijah discovered this very same principle. He thought that he was the only one that loved the Lord. God reminded him that there were many others, a remnant that loved God and were faithful to Him.
“18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)
It has always been a great encouragement to me when people show up, seemingly “out of the blue,” because they believe that the Lord wants them to be part of our ministry. Sometimes this happens when we are going through a spiritual slump as a church. I remember years ago, a man showed up at the church and told me after the service that God brought him there. He is still there and has been a tremendous blessing to me personally and also to the church. God always gives us what and who we need.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.