Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Am I Loyal

I was reading this morning about Asa, king of Judah. Under severe threat of an enemy force that outnumbered his, Asa prayed, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us,, O Lord our god, for we rest on You.” 2 Chron 14:11. Asa won a great victory after that. A prophet of the Lord came to Asa and told him that “The Lord is with you while you are with Him.” 2 Chron 15:2 Asa took courage from these comments and cleaned up the country and removed some of the false worship from the land. However, later in his reign he feared Israel and sought help from Syria. Here is what God said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly.” The question I ask myself this morning is, “Is my heart loyal to God?”

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Who are we trusting

1 Chron 5:20 The sons of God went to war against the Hagrites and were victorious. They, along with the tribe of Reuben and half tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 valient men who were able to bear shield and sword, shoot the bow and who were skillful in war. But verse 20 tells us that they were victorious because they prayed! God answered because they put their trust in Him. Ps 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Isaiah 31:1 tells us, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord!” It is important for us not to trust our own strength and our own wisdom, but to rely on God. He is the one who gives the victory in spite of our strength or our weakness.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Where does our security and safety come from? It comes from the Lord alone. We trust in any number of things to keep us safe, but ultimately only God provides safety. As a result we are able to rest in sleep. Ps 127:2 says that he gives His beloved sleep. It is vain to stay up late and get up early eating the bread of sorrows. Each day has enough trouble of its own and so at the day’s end we should sleep trustfully because His promise is to care for tomorrow’s needs tomorrow.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Finding Hope in His Mercy

Ps 33:18 His eye is on those who hope in His mercy. In Psalm 147:11 it says, “The Lord takes pleasure in those who … hope in His mercy.” Both of these verses first refer to those who fear Him and then as if to define who those are, the Psalmist says, “on those who hope in His mercy.” What does it mean to hope in His mercy? Ps 130:7 tells Israel to hope in the Lord for with the Lord there is mercy. Because of our sinful rebellious nature, we need mercy. Without it we are without hope and without God in the world. Think of those words, “without hope”. It means we are doomed. It means there is no solution to our situation when we are without hope. But thank God, Christ took our place. He bore the wrath of God and therefore shows us mercy without doing damage to His own justice. There is hope after all. Scripture tells us that Christ in us is the hope of glory. There is hope!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Prayer Motivation

Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, came against Jerusalem with threats of destruction. He explained the futility of resisting because he had already overcome the gods of the other nations. Not a one of them was able to stand up against him. Hezekiah has an interesting comment in his prayer to God about this situation. He says, “Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire.” He admits that this part of what the king said is true. But then he recognizes the underlying falsehood of Assyria’s claim. “…for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands – wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them.” Hezekiah then goes on to make his request of God, but I was especially impressed with the motivation Hezekiah brought for God to answer the prayer. “Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.” The fame and glory of God was his motivation. May that be our motivation also in our prayers. This incident was found in 2 Kings 19.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Syncretism (Look it up)

In 2 Kings 17 we have the story of how Israel was taken captive to Assyria. The Assyrians then put some other people in Israel’s cities. When some lions attacked the people, they decided they had better decide how the God of Israel wanted them to worship. The problem was that they maintained many of their own religious practices as well. Speaking of these people, verse 32 tells us they feared the Lord along with establishing an illegitimate priesthood. In verse 33 it tells us that they feared the Lord – yet served their own gods. Verse 34 struck me when it says that to this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do NOT fear the Lord. We need to be very careful of this in our own culture. The culture has a way of serving the Lord. God Himself has another way. Sometimes we try to do both at the same time and the result will always have negative consequences. It will always lead away from service of the true and living God and we will end up NOT fearing the Lord.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

God's Testimony

2 Kings 17:15 tells us that Israel rejected His statutes and covenant and His testimonies. Many places in Scripture God speaks of His testimonies. I’ve never really thought about it much, but in this verse the people of God rejected “His testimonies which He had testified against them.” Throughout the Bible, God testifies against us, telling us about our human nature, the wickedness of our hearts and so forth. Many times our response is to reject what God says about us. We have a difficult time believing that we are like God’s description of us. To reject God’s testimonies in this way is a disastrous mistake because we then are not in a position to accept God’s remedy. As long as we think we are fine, we won’t be looking for or accepting the cure. This is what happened to the children of Israel. They rejected God’s testimonies and ended up following the example of the nations that were around them resulting ultimately in their destruction.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ephesians 2:11-18

Paul called on the Ephesians to remember that there was a time when they were outside of the covenant people of God. During the Old Testament period, God worked with the nation of Israel. He wanted His praise and testimony to be known in all the world through Israel, but the covenants were given to this particular people. Paul says in Eph 2:12 “You were aliens from Israel and strangers to the covenants and without hope and without God.” (my paraphrase) That was not a minor technicality! Being without hope and without God were serious problems making it impossible to know God or have eternal life.

Paul goes on to say that now, in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. The wall of separation between Jew and non-Jew has been broken down. The enmity which is the law of commandments in the ordinances has been abolished. The commandments and ordinances were the documents that defined Israel and separated them from the rest of the world. Christ has abolished that separation and is creating in himself one new man from the two.

God’s purpose is that both Jews and Gentiles will be reconciled to God as part of one body, not two. Both have access by one Spirit (not two) to the Father.

It is interesting to me that this reconciling work (both to God and to each other) was accomplished on the cross. I think an interesting study some time would be to study through all that was accomplished by Christ on the cross.
Since most of us reading and sharing about these things are Gentiles, it should cause great rejoicing to think that God has made it possible for us to be part of His people to. We are not strangers and aliens any longer!

Excellent Prayer Example

As part of Solomon’s dedication of the temple, he reminds the people of the faithfulness of God and then asks God to incline our hearts toward Him. 1 Kings 8:56 ff “There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statuettes and His judgments which He commanded our fathers.”

I’m thinking that when we ask the Lord to be with us, it is usually so He can give us something tangible or solve one of our problems so life will be easier. But here Solomon asks the Lord to be with them so that He would help them to a life of obedience. Shouldn’t we be praying this way?