November 8,2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 25

This is quite a depressing end to a book in the Bible but we can’t be too surprised at it. The Israelites wanted to be like all of the other countries around them although God told them they were to be set apart from all other people. They wanted an earthly king when God told them that He was all the king that they needed. They wouldn’t listen and we conclude this book seeing what happened to God’s people as imperfect, sinful kings led them to an imperfect, sinful direction where surrounding armies captured the Israelites and Judah, driving them out of their land.

Before judging them too quickly, let’s remember that we do the very same thing in our own lives. Jesus is the only King that we need and like the Israelites we ignore God remind us of this and set our lives up where we are ruling over every area instead of King Jesus. However just like the Israelites kings, we make bad kings over our lives and just like today’s scripture, anarchy, slavery to sin and chaos results from us trying to be king over our lives.

Remember, Jesus is the only King we need and He is a good King who has defeated our enemies (sin, satan & death) once and for all.

12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.​​​​​Hebrews 10:12-14

We don’t have to suffer the same consequences to sin that we read about today if we allow the One True King to rule over every area of our life and trust in His sovereignty as a good king unlike ourselves.

Question: In what areas of your life do you need Jesus as king to rule and control? How does this point others around you to the Gospel?

Posted by: Erik Koliser

November 7, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 24

In today’s passage, God responds to the evil deeds of men. Beginning with Jehoiakim rebelling, and ending with his successor’s successor also doing what is evil, this chapter is tough to get through. I found myself being hopeful that, eventually, a king would heed God’s commands and not lead his people astray, but each king in this chapter was a disappointment. God sent armies to overthrow Jehoiakim when he rebelled, and then his son, Jehoiachin, took over. This reminds me that all things are temporary, even and especially positions of power. They’re temporary gifts that we should use to honor the Lord instead of elevating ourselves. Jehoiakim was a vicious king whose evil deeds would not go unnoticed by the All-Seeing God.

Here are two lessons I’d like to focus on today:

  1. Sin blinds us to the things of God and the attacks of the enemy.

Jehoiakim was a rebellious, sinful king; following the Lord was not his goal. He was blinded by sin and self-importance. Very many kings throughout this book have been the same way. He couldn’t have anticipated the bands of armies coming for him; he was weak and his kingdom fell. Before long he “slept with his fathers, [joined all those who had died before him] and Jehoiachin, his son, reigned in his place,” (v. 6) All the wealth and power he’d amassed was no longer his, but passed down to his son, who hardly held onto it himself.

Your wealth and power simply won’t last forever. Don’t be blinded by the sin in your life, thinking that things like power, pleasure, and wealth are treasures. Things like that were never meant to satisfy you. Worse, they’re traps that will make you vulnerable to enemy attacks. Doing what is evil, you may not realize what forces are coming in to siege your camp. Be wise. Surrender your idols to draw near to God, the only one who is the Everlasting, Superior Treasure.

  1. Patterns of sin or rebellion to God in our lives will likely reap patterns of sin in those who depend on our leadership.

Jehoiakim inherited his rebelliousness from those who had gone before him. (23:36) If you followed his genealogy, you’d probably find even more kings after Jehoiachin and Zedekiah who failed to lead in godly ways. The biggest issue here is idolatry of self. The kings in this chapter were prideful, desiring only to further their own kingdoms. They were ineffective leaders both for their kingdoms and their sons. Their children followed naturally in their folly. The chapter ends with a new king, Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, doing evil in the sight of God. The pattern continues.

We all have a sinful nature, thanks to being the offspring of Adam, but thanks be to God who, through Jesus Christ, gives us the victory over sin and death, implanting in us a new nature, capable and equipped to live righteously! The pattern doesn’t have to persist!

Posted by: Taylor Gilliam, Ministry Intern- West Campus

November 6, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 23

We see a very unusual outcome to total devotion to God in today’s reading. Josiah takes the nation of Judah and completely cleans house. He destroys every bit of idolatry and any worship of false gods in the land. He even gets rid of the “high places” which we have seen many kings in this book skip over. He did everything he could do to bring the people back to where they needed to be. Josiah did exactly what God’s word required of him. So it makes it confusing as to why we see what we see in verses 26-27. God decides not to turn away from His anger. Why would He do that? Why would God allow disaster to come to Josiah and the people even though they followed through with their commitments? I wish I could give you an answer. The truth is found in the book of Job.

Job found himself in a similar situation. He was righteous and holy. He lived his life completely for God but God still allowed Job to suffer greatly. Why would God to that? Job asks and God answers. Job asks why and God answers his question with a slew of questions. The general gist of it all this is:

God is in charge and we are not. God is highest and we are not. God knows best and we do not.

We tend to believe that the best thing that could happen is what would benefit us and make us he happiest and most successful in the moment. We may not say we believe that but when something happens that is contrary to that belief we tend to moan, complain or ramp up our prayer life. God sees the whole field and He knows that sometimes the best thing that could happen may have nothing to do with your happiness or success at all. It may in fact have everything to do with the opposite.

Look at the life of a guy like Jim Elliot who went to serve the Lord willingly to the Huaorani people of Ecuador. He loved God, answered the call to go to the mission field only to be killed about four years later by the very people he was reaching out to. This was not an occurrence to benefit Jim Elliot’s life or bring him happiness. This was, as the story goes, an occurrence to further God’s kingdom. From that occurrence came a multitude of believers from that tribe. God is about His glory and His kingdom. God absolutely has a great plan for you and I and absolutely gives us life as a gift to enjoy but, as He tells us,

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:9

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

November 5, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Kings 22

A willing heart to obey…

What can God do with someone who has a willing heart to obey Him?  The Scriptures record many examples.  People like Abraham – who followed God into a land he knew nothing about – was willing to offer his only son as a sacrifice simply because God asked him to.  Enoch who walked with God so closely he never had to die.  Queen Easter who saved the Jewish people from destruction  –  or New Testament saints like Mary or the Apostle Paul that went wherever God told them to.

Remember obedience is doing what you’re told, when you’re told, with the right heart attitude.  Today’s reading reveals yet another Bible character that practiced heart felt obedience to God.  Josiah was only 8 when he took over as king, and he lead for 31 years.  He followed God and did everything in his power to obey and lead his people to obey, too.

As you read, a scroll was discovered and as soon as Josiah realized what was in it – he repented of all the things that he and his people had done – ways in which they had failed to obey God – then he changed – immediately!  God give us a heart like that!

This reminds me of the story in Matthew 4 when Jesus called His first disciples.

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  Matthew 4:18-20

God expects you and I to obey Him just like that.  Do you?  Do you have a heart that says “Whatever you ask I will do”?  If not, pray today and ask God to change you – to give you a heart like king Josiah.

Posted by: Tim Parsons