“Jehovah-Nissi—God our protector.”

2 Chron 23

In the previous chapter, we met the brave Jehoshabeath. She hid the one remaining person in the royal line when Athaliah went on a rampage to eliminate any who would sit on the throne. For six long years, Jehoshabeath hid the infant king, Joash, but now it was time to unearth her secret and place him on the throne. With careful planning, Jehoshabeath’s husband, the priest Jehoiada, pulled off the miracle of the day, and the wicked queen never suspected what was happening right under her nose!

Since Satan wants to be god, he wants to destroy the royal line of Judah. As a believer, you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, and because of that, he wants to destroy you too. Peter wrote: don’t think it strange when a fiery trial is occurring among you. Satan’s tactics haven’t changed since the Garden or in Egypt, or when the baby Jesus was born. Satan has his servants, and as much as he seeks to be successful, our God is greater; He is our Jehovah-Nissi, our protector.  He will use any means to protect His royal line—and that includes you!

Think back on your life and see God’s fingerprints where He has protected you from the adversary. He might allow Satan to test you as He did Job but only so that God can say: do you see my blameless servant?

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“The Battle is God’s, Not Ours.”

God's battle is not ours

1 Chron 20 What do you do when you hear bad news? What did the author of this passage want to teach us? First, even kings and leaders who are in authority face fear.  We can relate to this story because today, the virus has opened Pandora’s Box of fearful tendencies. Will I have a job? Where will I get the funds to pay for simple things like water, gas, and yes, groceries?  The author also wants us to learn that fear either drives men to God or away from God—which means once again—men have choices. 

In this story, the king hears disturbing news about enemies on his borders. He can gather his army, or he can seek advice and help from God. The tension in this story is the same many are facing today. We read that God steps in and anoints someone to come alongside to speak words of comfort and wisdom to the king. You may be fearful because of the news about the virus.  Many are asking, should I shelter in place, but if the economy reopens, should I step out or stay isolated? These are real-life questions with many unknown answers. And like Jehoshaphat, you may not know what to do.

It is then that a voice of wisdom steps out of the crowd to tell us that ‘the battle is God’s, not ours.’ God is asking us: will we trust Him even if we can’t see the future?

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In a Pickle? Seek God’s Advice.

2 Chron 17-19  When in Doubt, seek God’s Advice.

Asa may not have been the perfect king, but it seems he did one thing right; he raised a godly son Jehoshaphat, who took his place. Each of us is responsible for following God or not but our parents have much to do with our path. Asa’s son cleansed the land and brought about many godly reforms. We aren’t told about his heart but we “know” him by his fruit. [Matt 12]

However, Jehoshaphat had one glaring fault: he allied with King Ahab, who was a narcissist to the core.  When Ahab wanted to fight a war, he urged Jehoshaphat to go to war with him. To his credit, Jehoshaphat wanted advice from a prophet before he went. Ahab, the ever-present fool, called in his false prophets who would agree with him whether right or wrong. Jehoshaphat was discerning enough to ask for a godly prophet to give his advice, which turned out to be accurate to the last jot and tittle while the false prophets’ words fell to the ground. Ahab was killed in battle even after disguising himself. Galatians 6 reminds us God will not be made a fool. 

Jehoshaphat, to his credit, called for godly advice before he set out. We should do the same. “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.” [James 1:5]

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“Backsliding doesn’t happen all at once”

2 Chronicles 15 The wise prophet spoke to Asa:  If you seek him, he will respond to you, but if you reject him, he will reject you.  Asa sought God up to the 35th year of his reign, but like many of us, Asa listened with one ear to the ground and one ear toward heaven. The prophets of old had spoken that same refrain to other kings, but few imparted that truth to their heart. Just as then, so today, the enemy uses distractions and fear to keep our eyes on our circumstances and away from God.  

Asa was a good king for many years, but then an enemy kingdom threatened him. The swords of Benhadad were rattling, and Asa’s fear was escalating. Instead of going to God as he had done in the past, he resorted to bribery. Asa didn’t lose his confidence and his closeness to God all at once but gradually. Lesson fact: Protect yourself from the enemy by staying in the Word. 

God sends tests like this into our lives to see how we will respond. Are you like so many who forget what God has done?  Using a computer illustration, we might say Asa lost his memory card that held all of his victories under God, and when he tried to download new information, it failed because it didn’t have the right driver.

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“Which Voice Do You Listen To?”

2 Chron 10 Voices can be misleading, or they can lead to the truth. The Tempter’s voice, along with the world’s influence, can easily lead us astray. We must be “discerning regarding truth and error and listen to the voice of the Spirit. (author’s thoughts Heb 5 & 3)

Solomon’s son Rehoboam was a foolish king who listened not to the Spirit but to men. First, he listened to his father’s former advisors and then to his boyhood friends.  He chose the latter. He forsook wisdom for folly, righteousness for power. God hated that His beloved kingdom would suffer over a foolish decision. Yet the scriptures also say: God was instigating this turn of events so that Ahijah’s prophecy might be fulfilled. Although God prophesied this to happen it also reveals to us the heart of Rehoboam. Like many today, Rehoboam did not seek the counsel of God just like Adam and Eve.

Fast forward to our world today. The Tempter’s voice says separate.  The Tempter says divorce. God says. “I hate divorce.” [Mal 2]

The wisest and most blessed man/woman is the one who listens to the voice of the Spirit speaking the words of God and you cannot hear the voice of the Spirit unless you are Spirit-filled. When faced with a decision, do like Hezekiah; lay the decision before the Lord and He will guide you into all truth. [Ps 25:5; John 16:13]

Have you experienced the indwelling Spirit of God?

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God’s Holiness and Majesty

2 Chronicles 7 “Something to Think About”

From Genesis to Revelation the fire of God is used as a picture of the holiness and majesty of God. In Genesis, He consumes the cities of abomination. In Exodus He is in the burning bush and yet it was not consumed. In 1Kings He consumed the sacrifice of Elijah, licked up the water but spared the people. In 2Chronicles the sacrifices are consumed and His splendor was revealed. Ezekiel saw the vision of His holiness and majesty and he fell facedown. Try to place yourself in each of these situations and ask yourself, how would I have responded?

Today, God doesn’t reveal his power in fire but what if He did?

When the people saw this manifestation of God they got on their knees to offer praise to God for His holiness and splendor. Have you ever wondered why we don’t do that much anymore? Have you ever wondered if that might change our perspective? Getting on our knees is one picture of submission but as Solomon showed, lifting our hands is another. And then there is Nehemiah who sat and prayed, worked, and prayed.

It is not the outward expression but the expression of the heart that reveals to God how much His splendor impacts us.  

Will you share a time you reverently listened to His Word and then you were filled with such awesomeness at the picture of His holiness that you were overcome?

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Parenting101

Parenting101

Proverbs 23 This past month all over the world, parents are learning how to homeschool because of the lockdown due to the Coronavirus. Some find it a joy and others, well enough said. A suggestion: read a chapter from the book of Proverbs following the calendar. If you are reading a chapter of Proverbs each day, you will find many promises. Here is one found right smack in the middle of Proverbs 23! It is just for you parents who are now working with your little ones:

The father of a righteous person will rejoice greatly; whoever fathers a wise child will have joy in him. May your father and your mother have joy; may she who bore you rejoice.

Did you notice the repetition of the words “rejoice and joy?” Parents take heart. God sees your work, and He will reward you. 

Parents, if you are feeling overwhelmed with this task, go back and read Samson’s father’s prayer. He felt just like you. Jdg 13:8 Manoah prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, allow the man sent from God to visit us again, so he can teach us how we should raise the child who will be born.” Claim that prayer and go to God for your stamina, wisdom, and discernment. 

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What is God recording about your life?

2 Chronicles 1-3 This week Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 94th birthday and 70 yrs. as the queen of England. David was king over Israel for 40 yrs. 1&2Chronicles records the life of David, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is all there. Did you know that you also have a book about your life? One day it will be opened, and you will hear what God has recorded about you.

After David’s death, Solomon, David’s son, began his reign. Interestingly, Solomon also reigned for 40 yrs.  Early in his reign, God appeared to him in a dream and asked him what God should give him. If that was you, what would you be on your list?

Solomon, in his humility,  asked God for wisdom and discernment to effectively lead the nation. God was pleased and gave Solomon that and more, and as a king, he prospered. He wrote the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes that men might learn wisdom and moral instruction and to discern wise counsel. If we want to have the same gift of wisdom and discernment, try reading a chapter of Proverbs each day of the month. Begin wherever you are on the calendar and proceed each day forward.  Here’s a nugget from Solomon’s Proverbs diary for day 23:  Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge. [Prov 23:12]

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A Parent’s Prayer

1 Chron 29:19 How many times have you stopped and read the obituaries of others who have died looking for clues as to their accomplishments both materially and physically? Ever read that they prayed for those who will now take up the mantle and carry on?

David’s obituary might have read like this: Grant my son Solomon a willing heart. “I” planned, prepared and wanted to build the Temple. But, God said no to that request. Instead, my son, Solomon would build the temple. So “I” prayed that God would give him a willing heart of obedience to all that God had commanded.

Is that your prayer for your child/children? Are they adding to their bank accounts or their spiritual accounts? David had prepared the blueprints for the Temple to be built and gathered the materials.  But David’s command to Solomon was to:  “tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts.”  A parent can tell much but unless the heart is willing the telling falls on deaf ears. It must begin early when we take time to teach children and speak of these acts as you sit, walk, and all other times in between. [Deut 6]

“God’s plan is unfathomable” but He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach it to us. “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.” [John 14]

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Preparing for your departure

1 Chron 24-26 Today we received yet another note from one of the international staff that they had been tested and it was positive. Will this person weather the corona storm? But, add to that the many that are already near their finish line. One friend’s father is 104 and another is 101. Will they continue on or will they move to their eternal destiny. Only time will tell. Both are in excellent health. On the other hand, King David knew his time was drawing near and so he set about to plan for the future and the next king. Do we do the same? Do we plan ahead so our children and extended family are prepared? Do we have all or bank accounts set up with our children or someone else as a beneficiary? Have we made out our will so that our testimony is clear to those who are not saved?

Read carefully David’s planning structure. “David, Zadok (a descendant of Eleazar), and Ahimelech (a descendant of Ithamar) divided them into groups to carry out their assigned responsibilities,” David also prepared some for music and words to encourage and edify. Paul captured this idea as he wrote to the Ephesians: “speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord,” [Eph 5:19] Along with that, David outlined the duties of those who would care for the new temple.

These are timely examples to us.

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