1Kings 17-19 Do you grumble? If you say yes, you are just like King Ahab who grumbled about Elijah and about a drought. Like many, we grumble and do not thank God for His provision. To teach Ahab that He, not Baal, is the God of the universe, God would use his faithful prophet, Elijah, and a drought. Elijah is a man of God who came out of nowhere to confront King Ahab about his lifestyle.
After the confrontation, God protected and provided for Elijah in dire situations because nothing is too hard for God for that is his name: Jehovah Jireh, our provider. He sent Elijah to a place of refuge from the wicked king and queen at the brook Cherith. There, ravens brought him food every day until the brook dried up. Then God sent him to a widow in Zarephath. God again provided oil and flour day after day. But when the widow’s son died, both she and Elijah needed the only resource left: prayer. It was the faithful prayer of Elijah that restored the child to the woman. In the meantime, while all of this was going on, God provided a simple man named Obadiah to protect and provide for a hundred of God’s prophets.
Step by step, God provided for every need. If He could use unclean ravens, an unnamed widow, or an Obadiah, will He not provide for your every need? Do you trust Him to take care of your essentials or are you just grumbling like Ahab?
2 Chronicles 8; 1 Kings 9 Solomon had the world’s riches at his beck and call, as well as all the wisdom that God gave him. Interesting beginning, but stay tuned. Here is a man that started right but didn’t follow his advice. How often are we like that? We know the truth, we know what is right, write about it, talk about it, and then turn right around and do the opposite.
God gave Solomon this instruction: “You must serve me with integrity and sincerity, just as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations.” Note: you must not you might like to think about this, but it is a command. Not only that, but God warned him: “But if you or your sons ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep, and decide to serve and worship other gods, then I will remove Israel from the land I have given them, I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence,” End of story, it happened…but we aren’t there yet. Right now it is the ‘honeymoon” stage, and all is well.
Do you wish to remain in the honeymoon stage? Me too, but God has His way to test our hearts to see if what we say is what is in our heart. Where is your heart?
Turned on a dime is a phrase we use to point to when all of life changes—in a moment in time. The Israelites point to Egypt as that point when all of life changed, and they began to follow God. Over and over they remind themselves of that moment. God called, and they followed. Centuries later, Jesus came; He called and said, “follow Me.” Some did, and their lives forever were changed; others ignored or refused, and they missed the greatest blessing ever. We call that a watershed moment in which they made a choice and their lives were forever changed. If you are a believer in Christ, you can point to that moment when all of your past was washed away as you crossed the Red Sea or the Jordan River. You heard God’s call, and you left your Egypt and followed God. You did it because His mercy endures forever. You did it because Egypt was a land of death, and following God meant life forever.
Share with us your watershed moment when you chose to follow Jesus.
2Sam 13 to 15 David’s grieving over his sin and the loss of the baby born to him and Bathsheba is a turning point in David’s reign as king. God forgives, but He still allows the consequences that we might learn from them and others might as well. From chapter 11 onward, God will show us several lessons regarding sin and its consequences that we may take heed lest we too fall prey to the enemy of sin. Where scripture is silent, we are not to speculate; therefore, our questions are irrelevant to why David did not discipline Amnon or Absalom. However, we can look and heed closely how God used his children’s errors of judgment to discipline David and to draw him closer to Himself. “These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did” [1Co 10:6]
This set of chapters is not given to us to speculate, but instead to teach us how David responded in times of crisis and show us how we are to respond. Our responses to life crises show us that we are either walking with God or apart from God. We are to look into the mirror of God’s Word to see our heart. We are to take that image and remold ourselves into the image of Christ. As James says, we are quick to respond and “forget” rather than heeding the warning that the mirror has revealed.
David wrote these psalms, and the recurring theme is God is God and there is no other. “O Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your reputation throughout the earth.” [Ps 8:9] The ungodly deny Him and His presence which brings to mind Rom 1:20 “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” Read that last line carefully and meditate on it. God is just, and He is love, but we will have no excuses to offer at the judgment seat if we deny Him. He will say, “I never knew you…” [Matt 7:23].
Because of that truth, David extols the virtues of God as he also explains the mindset of the wicked (they are wicked because they deny God.) John wrote one of his books by explaining this mindset: “If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth” and “If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [1John 1:5 -8]
Where are you this day, in the camp of those who believe God or the camp of the deniers? Choose wisely.
David lies to save his skin, and an evil man takes that lie and compounds the sin to a greater extent. No lie is acceptable in God’s eyes. David even said, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would certainly tell Saul! I am guilty of all the deaths in your father’s (speaking to Abiathar) house.” That was the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Why did David not seek the provision of the Lord in a time of need? Why do we not seek the provision of the Lord when we, too, are in a time of need? What a tangled web we weave when we first seek to deceive is a true adage. Later, David would write: “Remove from me the way of lying and grant me Your law graciously.” (Ps 119:29) As the priest questions David, fear became the guiding factor. Like David we too are guilty before God when we fear for our very life, but God’s grace is greater than our sin.
Why is that we do not trust God in every situation? Why are we so careless? How many lives are lost because of a little white lie or a bald-faced lie as in David’s case? Oh Lord, convict us this day; hold us accountable for the words we echo forth. Father, keep our tongue from lying; may only truth come forth from our lips—no matter what lay ahead. That is why we need to pray this often!
1Sam 4 to 7 What do you trust in for salvation? Works? Prayers? Something else? The author of Cripplegate writes:
“Most world religions are a form of what Christians call works righteousness. That expression—works righteousness—is used to describe the world view that believes God is real, heaven is real, and you have to be good to get there. Good is then defined as something along the lines of “trying hard to lead a good life.”
That is how the Israelites and the Philistines lived life. They confused the Ark of the Covenant to save them in a precarious battle only to be defeated. The Philistines captured the Ark and knew the proof of the Egyptian plagues but felt their idol god Dagon was greater. God turned that idea on his head when he defaced Dagon not once but twice.
Satan is a master deceiver. He “blinds the minds…so [we] would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.”[2Cor 4:4] Salvation only comes when we accept the provision He has provided: Jesus Christ the righteous! Remember there is none righteous no, not one. [Rom 3:10] Trust in Jesus not works: For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; [Eph 2:8]
For more from Cripplegate: https://thecripplegate.com/
Judges 13-15 This chapter reveals a God who cares for His people even if they don’t seem to care for Him. God loves all His people, especially barren women. God, in particular, loves to bless these women. For four chapters, we read about Samson, the son of Manoah and “Mrs. Manoah.” It is the “Mrs.” that has the initial contact with the angel of God. It is she that quoted verbatim his words to her husband, Manoah. But, like the priest Zechariah, Manoah needed more confirmation.
Mr. Manoah, as well as Zechariah, may not have understood all the details about the birth to come, but they are commended for their obedience and faith as they entreated the Lord.
Mr. Manoah, like Jacob, wanted to know the name of the “man of God.” He needed confirmation on all accounts. After seeing the miracle of the flame and the rising of the angel to heaven, he then had a crisis of belief: “surely we will die for we have seen God.” But Mrs. Manoah was perceptive: look at the evidence, God answered our prayer, he accepted our offering, and he wouldn’t have shown us these things or let us hear something like this! How great was her faith! And God blessed her with a son.
When God speaks, do we believe Him 100 %! Or do we need more confirmation like Manoah and Zechariah did?
Judges 6-7 As our story opens, we find fearful Gideon hiding in a winepress, threshing his family’s wheat crop. At that moment, an angel of God appeared, telling him he was a brave warrior. Does God ever come to you when like Gideon? Gideon will soon be the brave warrior of fleeces and lapping water fame. But for now, he is hiding in a winepress to thresh his family’s wheat harvest because of fear. Does that fit the description of a warrior? Warriors are supposed to stand tall, face the enemy, and be victorious, yet Gideon lives by fear. Gideon and the Israelites were living examples of the first part of this verse: “The fear of people becomes a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be set on high.” [Prov 29:25] Gideon questioned the angelic presence; if God is for us, why are we facing this? If God is near to us, why don’t I see or experience him?
Yet, Gideon is just the kind of person God is looking for so that the “one who boasts, boasts in the Lord.” [1Cor 1:31] The angel of the Lord told Gideon what lay ahead, but he needed more confirmation—not once but twice. God graciously answered because he wanted Gideon to cast off his former view of himself and rise to the occasion.
Perhaps God is calling you to a ministry or a challenge. Are you hiding in a winepress or stepping out so you can hear God saying: “I will be with you.”
Judges 3:7 to 5 If given the opportunity, who would you like to meet from the pages of history? Would it be Abraham Lincoln, Adoniram Judson, or Deborah and Jael from today’s reading? As we browse the pages of this book, we come face-to-face with Joshua’s challenge of Israel’s men to lead. To a man, they said they would, but Joshua warned them that they would not and so it came to pass. As we wander these chapters, we want to put it aside, for it is the book with the most violence, and we meet the most unlikely characters.
First is the woman Deborah who sat under the Date Palm Tree, solving disputes. What happened to the men’s leadership? We aren’t told. In this chapter, we learn about the man Barak whose name means lightning, but he does not live up to his name. He is, in fact, fearful of many things and will only go if Deborah accompanies him. She reminds him that he may be victorious if she goes, but the glory will go to a woman. And who is this woman but Jael, who is a Kenite, not even an Israelite.
What is the lesson we are to glean? When men do not lead, God will allow another to get the glory. Pray today for the men of our families and our nation. Pray that they are strong and courageous, just as God told Joshua.