“The Sin of Unbelief and the Rewards of Belief”

2Kings 7 to 10 There are two kinds of people in this world; they either believe the Bible, or they don’t believe it. You can’t mix in those people who say they believe some of it. Those are still unbelievers. They have one thing in common; they see the evidence but cling to their unbelief. They look for excuses not to believe even when the evidence is before them. God has no mercy on those, and at death, they will join the Luke 16 rich man in torments.

So what does have to do with today’s reading? The story begins and ends with a man who scoffed at Elisha’s prophecy of the salvation of a city. Lepers find the coats and armor and horses of the enemy left behind; go to the city to report it, but the king surmises a ploy. He sends horses and men to check it out, and the city is saved. In the end, the scoffer was trampled and died just as Elisha said he would because of his unbelief.

Is there any hope? Yes! God gives us a ray of sunshine in the Shunammite woman who obeyed Elisha, leaving her home to reside in the Philistine territory during the famine. After the famine, she returns home to claim her land. In the palace Elisha’s servant, Gehazi just happened to be in the presence of the king and verified her story. The king returned her property and the profit of it during the years she was gone.

Both stories reveal the principle of belief vs. unbelief and the rewards or consequences of each. Which category fits you?

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From Unbelief to Belief

1Kings 8-10 There was no social distancing the day Solomon dedicated the Temple. The dedication lasted for seven more days. Also, three times a year, Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he built for the Lord.  God was at work there in Jerusalem.

The news of the dedication spread from Jerusalem to many nations—until it reached the ears of the Queen of Sheba. God had turned the world upside down, yet the Queen was skeptical. She could not believe what others had said and decided to see for herself.  She responded as unbelievers respond to our transformation. In fact, in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost, a crowd gathered and heard the disciples speaking in their own language. Some jeered at the speakers, but many believed, and 3000 people were added to the new church. She came and plied Solomon with many hard questions.  Unbelievers do the same to us and why need to hide God’s word in our hearts so we can witness with boldness. End of story, the Queen was amazed; all that she had heard was true.

When others hear our testimony, are they amazed and see that our life has really been transformed?  Do they walk away like her saying, “The report I had heard was true!” Do they leave praising God? 

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David’s Terrible No Good Day

1Samuel 29-31 David has lived in fear of King Saul. His solution was to align himself with the enemies of Israel, who turned out only to be okay as long as he could play-act with success. But, when his host, Achish, decides to join with the other Philistines, his charade comes to a crashing halt. Achish was naïve to think that David would fight with him and the other Philistines against Israel. David played the innocent party but was probably relieved when the rest of the Philistines refused to let him go to war with them. But, that was just the next in a series of problems which he faced just because he thought he could handle this his way. Three days later, upon his return, he found Ziklag empty of all the women and children and burned to the ground.

Fast forward, David sees that when you leave God out of the equation, you are left with scars and an army who are ready to revolt.  It is then that David cries out to God to help him in his leadership skills, and God directs him to retaliate against the Amalekites who Saul was supposed to eradicate but did not.

David is in Leader Training 101, and so far, he has earned only a C grade! That is how life is when we when play Satan’s game. Seek God’s face and trust him wholly. What grade would God give you?

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Waiting…easy or hard?

Exodus 32 Do you have trouble waiting–especially for God to act, to speak, or “fill in the blank?”

Exodus 32 waiting patiently

Do you become impatient? Do you want to wait, but circumstances take over, and you decide to take matters into your own hands? The Israelites had just said, ‘we will obey.’ Yet when a test came into their lives to wait, their commitment was shallow.  When the people “saw” that Moses still had not returned, they made a decision: Moses’ God wasn’t working on their time table. It won’t be the last time these Israelites have a problem with waiting. They became impatient with Samuel and said you are old and your sons don’t follow, so appoint us a king. King David’s prayer life reveals that he must have had trouble with waiting too, for he wrote three times for God to help him in ‘waiting.’ [Ps 17:14; 37:7, 62:5]

Why do we have a problem with waiting? We misperceive time. The drama of leaving Egypt was still fresh in their minds, and they were anxious to get to the Promised Land, yet God knew that they needed the skill of waiting because time had always been determined for them. Now they were being tested to see if their commitment was real. Sometimes as we wait, we yearn for routine, and we get bored. Without a routine, we get lazy, and we become discontented; we lack a commitment to the cause. Like the Israelites, we do not have perseverance. We think we have the plan all figured out, and we want God to do it ‘now.’ One author put it this way; Waiting reveals the best and the worst in us and also reveals our lack of understanding that God doesn’t work on our time table.

Are you having trouble waiting? Cultivate this skill through prayerful meditation and study.

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The Sin of Unbelief & the Rewards of Belief

2Kings 7 to 10  There are two kinds of people in this world; they either believe what is recorded in the Bible or they don’t believe. You can’t mix in those people who say they believe some of it. Those are still unbelievers. They have one thing in common; they see the evidence but cling to their unbelief. They are those who Paul names as the “excusers.” They look for excuses to not believe even when the evidence is before them. God has no mercy on those and at death, they will join the Luke 16 rich man in torments. It saddens me, how about you?

So what does have to do with today’s reading? The story begins and ends with a man who scoffed at Elisha’s prophecy of the salvation of a city. Lepers find the coats and armor and horses of the enemy left behind; go to the city to report it but the king surmises a ploy. He sends horses and men to check it out and the city is saved. In the end, the scoffer was trampled and died just as Elisha said he would because of his unbelief.

Is there any hope? Yes! God gives us a ray of sunshine in the Shunammite woman who obeyed Elisha, leaving her home to reside in Philistine territory during the famine. After the famine, she returns home to claim her land. In the palace Elisha’s servant, Gehazi just happened to be in the presence of the king and verified her story. The king returned her land and the profit of it during the years she was gone.

Both stories reveal the principle of belief vs unbelief and the rewards or consequences of each. Where do you fit in? 2kings 7 to 10 unbelief

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