July 29

2 Chronicles 24:1–25:28

We read something rather revealing in:

2 Chronicles 24:2 (NKJV) “Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.”

We will see this young man, Joash become a godly king. He will take care of the House of the LORD and ensure that the dilapidations were repaired, after all, the care and condition of the Temple would be a partial reflection of their care and heart for God. When the funds didn’t seem to be fueled in the right direction Jehoash made what we would call at Calvary Chapel El Monte, an “Agape Box,” and the people would place their offerings in the chest, inserting into the hole in its lid.

He cared about the Temple, and more importantly the God whose Temple it was. Joash started off so well, but tragically when Jehoiada the High Priest and his father-figure, passed away, Joash did not continue to serve the LORD. It’s for that reason he was assassinated.

We’re grateful for the help of our friends and mentors, but let’s make sure that our faith is not propped up by them. That was the case of Joash with Jehoiada and when his prop was gone, he fell – and fell hard. It all started when some of the leaders flattered and manipulated him. We read in;

2 Chronicles 24:17–18 (NKJV) “Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. 18 Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass.”

I thank God for those who are encouraging and offer sincere compliments, but we need to beware of some who may simply be flattering us in order to get their way. They may even be instruments of the enemy to move us out of the “Way” of God. Such was the case with Joash. King Joash did not listen to the prophets of the LORD, including the son of Jehoida, and allowed him to be killed…he did not remember the counsel or kindness of Jehoida, the one who raised him up to be king.

How many times have we heard it said, “It’s not just how we start, but how we finish?” God help us to learn from these kings, may we finish well. Recently I was watching the Olympics, and I was reminded of this principal in a swimming competition, the swimmer who finished strong, won the gold.

Next, the son of Joash, Amaziah was crowned king of Judah. He was a comparatively good king who did what was right in the sight of the LORD. We have an example of him doing things according to God’s Word, which is all God asks of rulers and those in positions of authority. Unfortunately Amaziah’s heart was lifted up in pride after a few victories (it can happen to any of us) and he picked a fight with Israel that he shouldn’t have. He was soundly defeated, not killed, but the nation of Judah suffered great loss because of their king.

Romans 12:1-21

Romans 12 is another classic chapter that in one sense, transitions into practical application. Notice how Paul begins with the word “therefore.” This takes us back to 11 chapters of deep theology, (honing in on soteriology – the doctrine of salvation – how to have life). Now we learn how to live that life. Before duty, we should always have doctrine, before behavior comes belief.

Present your bodies as living sacrifices. Our bodies aren’t sinful, they’re neutral. We can use them for good or evil, and the logical conclusion to so great a salvation is to present them to God. I am to let Him have every member of my body. My mind, my heart, my eyes, my hands, my lips, every part of my person should be surrendered to God.

The inclination and great temptation is to live like the world – which is trying to shape us into their mold, but I am to resist the say and sway of the world (1 John 5:19).

How does the world mold us? In many ways, including their schools, television, movies, radio, music, social media – (sexuality, materialism, appearance, entertainment, leisure, sports, selfishness, etc.) they present their mores in many ways, but our values should come only from God who has given us His Word.

On the contrary, rather than being conformed to this world I am to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I might prove what the will of God is for my life. The Greek word used in this passage is the origin of our English word, metamorphosis. I am to be changed, transformed from the inside out, just as a creeping caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly!

Paul goes on to encourage the church to exercise their gifts in humility. Let no one think too highly of themselves, even pastors are just a different part of the body, we’re different, we’re equal, we all need each other, we’re one. I like to remind Christians to discover their gifts, develop their gifts, and to deploy their gifts.

After those words on serving side-by-side with each other, Paul goes on to give some absolutely amazing words on how we are to interact with each other. There’s so much here, solid scriptures jam packed like sardines. Here’s just a few:

Romans 12:9 (NKJV) “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”

O Lord, please help me to love genuinely, sincerely, and fervently; to hate evil and hold tight to what is good.

Romans 12:12b (NKJV) “…continuing steadfastly in prayer.”

O Lord, please make me a man who prays without ceasing.

Romans 12:14 9NKJV) “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

O Lord, please make me to be like You. When You died on the cross You prayed for those who killed You. You said that this type of heart shows I’m Your child, we read Your words in: 

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Romans 12:15 (NKJV) “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

What an apt summary of the Christian life and ministry!

Romans 12:17-18 (NKJV) “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

O Lord, I like to lash back, to fight fire with fire, to rise up in my own strength and take control of the situation, otherwise I feel humiliated – my pride is hurt – I’ll get walked on. So Lord, please help me to bless those who persecute me, to repay no one evil for evil – on the contrary, to overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21 (NKJV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

O Lord, please make me to be this kind of overcomer.

Warren Wiersbe, “If yours is a godly life, you are bound to have enemies (Matthew 5:10–12; 2 Timothy 3:12); but leave all judgment to the Lord. If you let the Lord have His way, He will use your enemies to build you and make you more like Christ.”

Psalm 22:19-31

Verses 19-22 consist of prayer. As Jesus prayed and yielded Himself into the Father’s hands – His surrender brought salvation for us, leading to Jesus’ declaring us as His brethren, assembled together.

Psalm 22:22 (NKJV) “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”

It’s beautiful to see the people God reaches out to in this Psalm, those who fear the Lord, the afflicted, the poor, all the ends of the world, all the families of the all the nations, even the prosperous of the earth.

I have a hunch the eating as described in Psalm 22:26, 29 are in reference to placing our faith in Jesus Christ. Remember what Jesus said?

John 6:54 (NKJV) “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Of course it’s not a literal, physical eating, it’s a spiritual “eating” in which we take it all in, we “swallow it all,” we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe in His cross of redemption on our behalf. It begins the moment we believe in Him and it’s expressed every time we partake of communion.

I’ve always thought of Psalms 22:30-31 as missions verses we must pass on to our children and the next generation.

Psalm 22:30–31 (NLT) “Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. 31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.”

Proverbs 20:8-10

Proverbs 20:8 (NKJV) “A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters all evil with his eyes.”

How does he scatter evil with his eyes? He’s a good ruler, a good leader, he’s not blind, he’s observant, he sees, and therefore he knows what must be done; he sees to it that evil is eradicated in his kingdom.

Proverbs 20:9 (NKJV) “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?’”

On this side of time we will never arrive, we will never be perfect; on this side of time we will always be vulnerable.

Our hearts – when it’s just our heart we’re in big trouble according to: 

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

So, we can never say, “I have no sin…” not on this side of time…one day over yonder, the construction will be complete.

Proverbs 20:10 (NKJV) “Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord.”

God wants us to be honest in all of our transactions; honesty is so important that He considers dishonesty an abomination. Let’s be sure to never, ever rip people off.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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