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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What Do You Put Your Trust In?

2 Chronicles 12-16

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Sunday, November 27

2Chr. 16:11   The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians. 13 Then Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art; and they made a very great fire in his honor.

 

I first noticed these verses, the last four of today’s reading, during the summer before my senior year in high school, when I read through the entire Bible for the very first time. That raised a lot of questions in my mind, especially if it meant that we were not supposed to go to doctors but instead trust that God would heal us without any medical intervention.

 

When you read today’s scripture, you’ll notice that it wasn’t the first time that Asa didn’t trust God. His rule as king started out great as he got rid of the idol worship in Judah, even confronting his mother for her idolatry. Because of this God gave him a victory over a huge army that invaded out of Ethiopia and Libya. However, later when the northern tribes of Israel threatened Judah, he made an alliance with the king of Aram rather than trusting God to deliver him from a much smaller army than that of Ethiopia and Libya. So the way that he treated his illness was a symptom of his lack of trust in God, rather than simply a misunderstanding about healing.

 

So is it wrong to get medical help? I don’t think this text speaks directly to modern medicine, but rather to a practice of medicine that was more like going to a witch doctor than a physician. If you have a splinter, you pull it out with tweezers instead of waiting for God to miraculously remove it. Many things in modern medicine are as clear to doctors as pulling a splinter is for us. I cannot imagine that it is wrong to use what has been learned through using the brains God has given us in order to make life better for people. I am thankful for the advances in medicine that helped defeat my cancer last year, even though I am also very thankful to God for getting me through it.

 

The bigger question is, are we willing to trust God when we are afraid? Asa forgot what God had done for him, and showed it by making the wrong alliances. Can we remember what God has done for us?

 

Each one of us can ask ourselves the question, “How do I demonstrate my trust in God in the life I am living?”

– Pastor Greg Demmitt  (Gatesville, Texas)