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October 31, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 18

David was a man after God’s own heart. Very few of Israel’s kings could be compared to him. The one that most clearly reminds us of him, though, is the one whom we read about today: Hezekiah. I found it refreshing to learn about a king who had character, was trying to do things right, and honored God.

“He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight”

“He removed the pagan shrines”

“He broke up the bronze serpent”

“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time.”

“He remained faithful to the Lord in everything”

“He carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses”

“Hezekiah was successful in everything he did”

“He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute”

“He also conquered the Philistines”

That’s some seriously high praise. This man loved God and led in God’s favor. When I read verse 7 (So the Lord was with him), I remembered something our pastor said, which he heard another pastor-friend say: “I want to be a man that God sees, and says, “He’s the kind of man I want to bless!” What kind of man is that? Well, today’s reading seems to show that it’s Hekekiah. But the reality is that his success was simple — he wanted to honor God.

Do you want to honor God? I know that you want His blessings, but do you want to really honor Him? And not just for the blessings (that would be borderline idolatry, and prosperity gospel-ish), but simply because you love Him and you’re overwhelmed by His love for you?

I’ve made a simple choice today. I want to learn from the example of Hezekiah. May what was said of Him be said of us.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

October 30, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 17:24-41

We live in a land that was founded on worshipping one God, the true God from the Bible. The very reason people came to America was for religious freedom; the ability to worship God without fear of repercussion. Similarly, the land God gave to the Israelites was founded on worshipping one God, the true God form the Bible. They were brought to that land for religious freedom as well. God brought them to a bountiful land so that they could openly and freely worship Him and be a light to those around them.
As time has passed here in America we have become a melting pot of nations, religions, and convictions. We are now a nation of people who worship many “gods” even though many would say they are “Christian,” however, we see in the lives we lead what we really worship. Likewise, the people who occupied the empty land God had given His people were of many nations, religions and convictions. They too were made to “worship the god of the land” due to lions attacking but they still, secretly, worshipped their own “gods.” They offered lip service to God but lived their lives for their own gods.
God made a promise to His people, if you obey me and follow me and worship only me then you will be secure, safe, happy and prosperous, but if you do not, you will reap judgment and destruction on your nation. It is amazing just how similar America is to today’s passage.
As we see throughout history as a nation dives deeper and deeper into sin there is always a point God says enough and takes away his hand of protection and brings in another kingdom or nation to take their place. There is a reason we see in several places that God raises up and tears down kingdoms. Daniel puts it this way:

He controls the course of world events; he deposes kings and raises up others… Daniel 2:21a

So, as we see the similarities in today’s passage and our own world let us keep in mind these three things:

1. Pray for our land

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

2. Let your light shine on others

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

3. Tell others about Jesus

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good news to everyone. Mark 16:15

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

October 29, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 17:1-23

“You shall not do this” 2 Kings 17:12

“Turn from your evil ways” 2 Kings 17:13

“Do not do as they do” 2 Kings 17:15

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence” 2Kings 17:18

It is the classic warning. You tell your kids, “Don’t touch the hot stove or you will get burned.” But, they just can’t help themselves. They just don’t listen and they reap the consequences of their actions.

God told Israel time and time again not to do as the nations around them did. Then, when they refused to listen he told them to turn from their evil ways. They still didn’t listen even though, from the beginning, God told them the consequences.

Today, for God’s people, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit remaining with us and not leaving us as He did the people in the Old Testament, but know this:

When we do as the world does and we refuse to turn from our evil ways God allows us to feel the weight of our consequences.

God tells us in his word that we reap what we sow. When we live a holy life pleasing to God we reap a peaceful, blessed life. When we “do as they do,” “they” being the world, we reap the consequences.

So, today, I want to leave you with a self-test question:

Which one do I look most like; a child of God or a person of this world?

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

October 28, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 16

Today we read about the reign of King Ahaz in Judah. If you have been following along you have seen a pattern of “doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord” in the kings over the past few chapters. Ahaz unfortunately was no different. Ahaz led Judah to the practice of full blown idolatry. The problem about idolatry is that the idol promises everything but actually takes away everything. So what did idolatry take away from Ahaz?

1. It took away his son.

The sacrifice of his son was most likely to the god Hadad who was the Syrian god of thunder and rain. Ahaz had an altar built for himself modeled from the Syrian altar in Damascus (v.10-16). Why would Ahaz sacrifice his son for the promise of rain? Because crops were the currency of the day, so it was for the promise of wealth and stability.

I know you must be thinking, “I would never kill my son for anything!” The thought of physically harming our children now is beyond what many of us could ever conceive. Yet, how many of us sacrifice a relationship with our child for the promise of success and wealth? Idolatry is alive and well today and we need to be very aware of it because it will take away everything. There are many parents who now have adult children that they barely know or have a relationship with. There are others who have watched their children go astray and wonder how it happened.

2. It took away the blessing and protection of the Lord.

Ahaz had led Judah into a full blown idol worshipping society completely going against the number one commandment of having no other god before the one true God (Exodus 20:3). As you keep reading you will see in the next chapter that God is going to allow other nations to take Israel and exile them.

Many of us wonder why God doesn’t seem to be close. Others of us wonder why our prayers seem to hit the ceiling. The problem is not God it is usually our heart of idolatry that causes this distance.

Question to Ponder:

Is there anything that you would sin in order to get? Is there anything that causes you to sin if you don’t get it? If so, then that is an idol. I encourage you to lay that thing down and repent of it and place God back at his proper place (above all others).

Posted by: Chad Wiles

October 27, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 15

A quick summary of this chapter might go something like this:  There were lots of kings who came and reigned in Judah and Israel, and many were conspired against and killed.  Most did not follow the ways of the Lord.  It just seems like there was A LOT of drama.  Amidst all the drama, something popped off the page at me today before I got past verse 5.

Azariah had become king of Judah at age 16.  It says that he did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done, only the high places were not taken away (vs. 3-4).  Let me put that another way.  He did what his dad had done…the good and the bad.  That’s what popped off the page to me today.

Now that I have a 4-year old boy and a 1-year old girl, it’s becoming easier to see how I do much of what my dad did…both the good and the bad.  Dad was a hard-worker, the kind who did hard labor to provide for his family.  That’s a great quality that I gained from him.  Dad was also the gruff, blue-collar, coal-miner who was basically a big grouch.  There wasn’t much emotion shown except anger.  He wasn’t abusive or anything, but he was impatient and grouchy.

Now, here I am with a little boy and a girl, and I notice that I am an impatient grouch a lot of the time.  Though I am a deeply emotional guy on the inside (I’m like a teenage girl when it comes to sensitivity and emotion), I’m beginning to notice that the emotion of anger is often the only emotion that I express.

As I read this today, I was reminded that I am going to pass on some character traits to Sawyer and Millie, both good and bad.  Also, they are going to notice the things I model to them when it comes to my walk with the Lord.  They’ll see me walk with the Lord just like Azariah saw from Amaziah.  They’ll also see the “high places” that I let remain in my life.

All this leads me to a prayer of application for my life today.

“Lord, help me to be extra aware of the traits that I pass on to my kids and any of my disciples…both the good and the bad.  Help me to champion the good stuff and work towards eliminating the bad stuff that I leave behind.”

I know that all this isn’t necessarily the point of 2 Kings 15, but the Lord used it to teach me some applicable things today.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

October 25, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 14

In 2 Kings 14, we see two different kings, two different reigns over their kingdoms and two different deaths. We meet the first king, Amaziah who was Daniel Radcliffe’s age when becoming king and was described as doing right in the eyes of the Lord. However he ignored God when warning him to not seek conflict with fellow Israelites but did so anyways. Amaziah ended up suffering a violent death (v. 19-20) while the other king, Jehoash died a peaceful death after a peaceful reign with God’s people.

I can’t but help to think of my time in high school when hanging out with certain violent friends that didn’t know Jesus and how scary it got when things escalated. I’ve never been a violent person but grew up witnessing a lot of violence and conflict. If there’s one thing I know about it, it’s that if you live by the sword you will certainly die by the sword. This is not to say that violence at all times is unjust. Five books earlier (Judges) we see a God who calls his people to do tough things for his glory and holiness out of seriousness for sin and separation from it. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising when this king disobeys God by seeking conflict with God’s own people and suffers consequences for it. The thing we shouldn’t miss is that he was still described as doing right in God’s eyes. This shows that as Christians we can and will still disobey God and suffer lasting consequences for that disobedience.

• Amaziah ignored God’s command to live in peace with the Israelites, are you currently ignoring God’s instruction in a certain area?
• We sadly see how Amaziah’s conflict escalated to his own violent death, how is your sin escalating in its consequences?

Do you need to be reminded that Jesus’ death for our sin on the cross and His resurrection from the dead gives us the power to turn away from our sin and start over in righteousness? We don’t have to leave a legacy like Amaziah but Jehoash instead.

Posted by: Erik Koliser


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