As I read through II Chronicles it occurs to me that when a king of Israel or Judah chose to seek the Lord he first removed the false altars to pagan gods and he torn down the Asherah poles. The false altars and Asherah poles had crept back into the culture of God’s people by the time the next godly king came along. Apparently, it is our nature to satisfy ourselves with substitutes for the real thing! Seeking the Lord will always involve the painful work of removing the false substitutes for God to which we have become addicted.
My grandmother, Zeona Kasten, had a little plaque strategically placed beside the light switch in her living room that always caught my eye, “Only one life twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” The fire this week that destroyed the beautiful church building I worshiped in as a child reminded me that one day everything will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10). The only thing that really matters and lasts forever is the spiritual impact we make with people. That church building only mattered because it was used to shape people for eternity.
Craig Groeschel writes, “… we don’t have the potential of eternal life because we’re good—we have it because God is good.” Quoting from the Psalms, Romans 3:12 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one.” Yet the Bible says we were created in Christ Jesus for good works and we are to be eager to do good works. All the good I could and should do is not enough to win eternal life. Jesus dying on the cross for my sins is the gift of eternal life—not by good works so that I cannot boast.
In Acts 14 the Apostle Paul and Barnabas are going from one city to preaching, making disciples and healing people. In Lystra Paul and Barnabas are called gods and assigned names of Greek gods. The next day the town turns against them and they are stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead! Most amazing of all is that the very next day Paul and Barnabas get up and leave to preach the gospel in Derbe. Paul didn’t even take a day off to lick his wounds! Paul was never his own passion; Jesus was His passion.
I read on the same day in my One Year Bible these two verses: Acts 13:36 “David served God’s purpose in his own generation.” And Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” This is so encouraging. David made his share of mistakes. And the same can be said of me. But one day I trust God will be able to say that I served God’s purpose for me in my own generation. When David wrote Psalm 138 he was in the midst of trouble and yet he writes, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.”
In I Kings 13 a prophet of God who was told by God not to eat bread or drink water at a certain place. But another lying prophet told the prophet of God the he was to go to his house to eat bread and drink water. The prophet of God obeyed the other prophet instead of obeying what God had told him directly. The prophet of God lost his life to a lion on his way back home. We are responsible to God for knowing and obeying God’s Word to us—not for obeying someone else’s “word” for us.
I love the words of King David on his death bed to his son Solomon as he becomes the king, “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires.” I love these words for other people! But these words are for me. In times of transition and temptation, it is all the more important to be strong, be men, and be obedient to God. Craig Groeschel writes, “You are only as strong as you are honest.” Show yourself a man tells me to be brave—not passive or wimpy when it comes to character.