One Foot in the World vs. Whole Hearted Devotion

2 Chronicles 17-19

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Monday, November 28

You might have noticed in your reading that 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings read like history, while 1 and 2 Chronicles seem written to teach what it means to follow God rather than simply giving the history of the people. As noted in the intro to 1 Chronicles, these books might have been written after Israel returned from exile in Babylon. Since it covers material already recorded in Samuel and Kings, it would seem evident that this author has more in mind than simple history.

 

Here are two things to notice in today’s readings. First, Jehoshaphat made sure that the people were taught the way of God, first by sending teachers throughout the land (2 Chron. 17:7-10), and then by teaching the people how to live when they went to court to settle disputes (19:8-11). Second is the back story behind the battle alliance between Ahab and Jehoshaphat.

 

Before they went into battle, Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the Lord. All the prophets predicted success, but when he asked for one more, with reluctance Micaiah predicted that Ahab would be killed. He went on to say that God had put a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets who curried Ahab’s favor. That certainly gives us something to think about, doesn’t it. It seems that if you want to believe the wrong thing, God will let you believe it.

 

So how can we know what to believe? Jehoshaphat went down the wrong road when he made alliances with a king who did not honor God. If we are trying to keep one foot in the world, we can never trust what we hear. Those who are whole-heartedly dedicated to God will not be misled.

Pastor Greg Demmitt

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The End of a Wicked Woman & The Life of a Flawed Man who Does God’s Work (2 Kings 9-11)

Tuesday, November 8

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Jezebel’s end is probably not one of the stories you learned in your preschool Sunday School class; though it’s gruesomeness makes it a winner for middle school boys for sure.  But what is most important about this gory story of a wicked woman being thrown from a window, trampled by horses and eaten by dogs is that it completely followed the prophecy given to Elijah (I Kings 21:23).  Also back in I Kings 21:25 we read that “There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife”.  Not only did she inspire her husband’s evil – she also killed the Lord’s prophets and provided for the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah and promoted witchcraft (1 Kings 18:4, 1 Kings 18:19, 2 Kings 9:22).  She was one unGodly woman.  How sad that when I googled her name -I learned that Jezebel is now the name of an online magazine championing “celebrities, sex, feminism, and issues related to woman’s empowerment” (any guesses who they are rooting for in today’s election?)  And what a role model Jezebel provides for evil.  We definitely live in an age that “Calls evil good and good evil”  (Isaiah 5:20), but then so did Isaiah, and Elijah, and so many others from the time of Eve’s first sin.   We can gain hope in knowing that even while the evil Jezebel was reigning and seemingly “in control” God was still at work in so many ways (such as the Baal vs God showdown on Mt Carmel) and through so many lives (Elijah and Elisha to name a few) .  AND – all the time he was orchestrating and planning what would become the fall of Jezebel – and the feeding of the dogs.  Evil will not last forever.

The other very interesting character in today’s reading is Jehu – chosen by God and anointed by his servant – and so far from perfect – and not just his mad driving was in question.  Jehu though becomes the one to fulfill God’s plan to kill the rest of Ahab’s large family.  And he does this job well.  He also deceptively gathers the prophets of Baal – in order to kill them all.  He tore down the temple of Baal and it became used as a latrine.  He does MUCH to stem the tide of evil idolatry: “You (Jehu) have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do” (2 Kings 10:30) – HOWEVER, he himself “was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart.” (2 Kings 10:31).

Any parallels to today?  I think there are many.  Don’t give up on God when you see evil prevailing.  There will be a day when evil is stomped out.  Until then – fight against it.  Watch carefully to see who and what you are following and how it lines up with God’s laws and expectations rather than with whatever appears to be socially acceptable, or from the ruling government at the time.  And, remember, even those who do not keep the law of the Lord can be agents to do his work.

May we be wise as we seek to follow Him today,

Marcia Railton