Today’s Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 11-13:22; Romans 8:26-39; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29
After yesterday’s split between Israel and Judah Rehoboam, king of Judah, decides to unite the kingdom by force. But God sends a man named Sehmaiah to deliver a very simple message to Rehoboam: “Do not fight. Go back home.” (2 Chronicles 11:1-4)
Shemaiah was just one man with a simple message from God. But by obeying God and delivering this message he was able to hold back 180,000 of the best troops in Judah. God’s word has power. We should not be afraid to deliver it to people who so desperately need to hear it.
Meanwhile in Israel it became illegal to worship the true God (2 Chronicles 11:14). With the decisions being made by our government recently, this is clearly the same path the United States is going down. Our government fears the name of Jesus and is doing all it can to remove Him from our society, thinking this is wise policy that fosters unity and progress. Such decisions can only end in disaster.
The Levite priests left all they had to serve God (2 Chronicles 11:14) just like the apostles will do hundreds of years later. Doing the right thing comes at a cost. Many lay people also migrated from Israel to Judah (2 Chronicles 11:16). I have thought about leaving the United States myself due to the self-destructive path we are heading down. But when I examine the countries to which I would move I find that they are no better. The entire world is rejecting Jesus at an alarming rate.
Its easy to think we don’t need God when things are going well and that is just what Rehoboam and the people do in 2 Chronicles 12:1. Because of their unfaithfulness God sent an enemy against them. God does not change. Therefore we can expect Him to react the same way towards the United States. September 11, 2001 was a warning. I expect even worse to happen soon.
Even though Rehoboam humbled himself before God, God still sends King Shishak of Egypt against Judah (2 Chronicles 12:6-9). Even though we may be humbled and repentant, God knows exactly how much humility is needed. Usually it is much more than we think we need.
When I read the decisions made by Israel and Judah in the Old Testament and the subsequent decline of these nations I can’t help but see amazing parallels with the United States. Israel allowed anyone to become a priest (2 Chronicles 13:9). In the United States (and other countries) many denominations defy God’s commands by allowing women and homosexuals to lead congregations.
Notice there is no separation of church and state in God’s view – it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that the nation followed God’s commands. But the government failed. Its simple: if we do what Israel did we are going to get what Israel got.
Victory comes from trusting God and nothing else (2 Chronicles 13:18).
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to help us when we are weak, including when we don’t know what to pray for (Romans 8:26). I often kneel before God not knowing what to say. It is then that the Holy Spirit will summon the words for me to speak. Sometimes my prayers start off pathetic but end up inspiring me and encouraging me. Its really amazing.
Yesterday we read that believers are not immune from trouble. Yet God can use that trouble for good (Romans 8:28). Notice that God uses “all” things, not just “some” things, to work together for our good. So often when we go through difficult times we think that nothing good can come out of it. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long that tunnel is.
God’s end-game for us is to become like Jesus (Romans 8:29). The process by which this happens is 1) God calls us 2) those who respond are justified and 3) glorified (Romans 8:30). While glorification doesn’t happen until we enter heaven, God uses the past tense here to indicate that it is a certainty… it will happen simply because God says so.
So we can see that God is not against us (Romans 8:31). Everything He does is because He wants nothing for us other than the absolute best He has to offer. As proof of this all we need to remember is that God didn’t spare His Son for us, so why would He hold back anything (Romans 8:32).
So even though men may accuse us we have been declared righteous by God (Romans 8:33). And even though men may condemn us we have Jesus interceding for us (Romans 8:34). The troubles we face do not mean we are separated from God (Romans 8:35-39).
Scripture is so consistent. As we move from one part of the Bible to another we see the same message. Case in point: today’s reading in Psalm 18 reinforces what we just read in Romans. God holds us safely beyond the reach of our enemies (Psalm 18:48). Life may not always be fair or easy – God never said it would be. But through it all He is holding us. He will never let go.
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