Archive for November, 2014
There once was a king named Jehoshaphat. His story is told in the book of 2nd Chronicles in the Bible.
In chapter 20 of 2nd Chronicles, we read the story of a time when Jehoshaphat’s kingdom came under attack. A great army, with soldiers from three different nations, marched against the city of Jerusalem, where Jehoshaphat had his palace.
God’s temple was also in Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat believed in God. He went to the temple and prayed in a loud voice, in the presence of many people, asking for God’s help. One of God’s prophets was there and gave Jehoshaphat God’s answer:
“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15–17)
Jehoshaphat and his people believed God. They believed that God would protect them and defend them; they were willing to merely watch and not fight.
As an act of faith, Jehoshaphat sent out some “special forces” ahead of his troops. The Bible says:
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”” (2 Chronicles 20:21)
The special troops that the king sent out were singers! These men marched at the front of the army, singing and praising God. They celebrated the victory that God had promised, even before it happened.
And God kept his word. The enemy forces begin to fight among themselves, eventually destroying one another. When the Israelites arrived on the scene, the only thing left to do was gather the spoils. God had already done the fighting.
That had to be hard. It had to be hard to sing praises while marching against a more powerful enemy. It had to be hard to trust that God would fight the battle.
It’s easier to depend on ourselves, to trust in our strength, to put our faith in what we see and know. But faith requires that we trust that God will keep his promises.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27)
People were following Jesus just because they had received bread in a miraculous way. Jesus tells them not to seek that bread, but spiritual food.
Today, some still seek Jesus for what they can get from him. Don’t seek the bread… seek the man! Don’t go after temporary blessings… find eternal life in Jesus.
Cherish peaceful rest. Be renewed to do Kingdom work. Be content in the knowledge that God is working in this world and in your life.
“When you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:11–12)
It’s a day for giving thanks for those of us who live in the United States… just as every day should be, for everyone everywhere.
As you eat today and are satisfied, don’t forget to thank God for all your blessings!
At a time when many people are giving thanks for the blessings in their lives, remember the special people in your life. Give thanks for them, but also make it a point to tell them you are thankful for them.
“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”” (Luke 5:8)
When we really see Jesus for who he is, we come to ourselves as what we are: sinners. Yet Jesus offers us mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Just as he turned Peter into a great fisher of men, he can transform us into what he wants us to be.
How does God feel about your worship and your sacrifice today? Pursue righteousness.
I recently watched two very different people walking. One was Nik Wallenda. I viewed his walk on a video clip, not in person. He walked on a tightrope between two buildings in downtown Chicago, the windy city. The tightrope was even slanted upward at an angle. It was courageous, amazing, and inspiring. It was a feat that simply would not be attempted by almost anyone else. He had trained for it. He worked at it. I know it helped that he grew up with a family heritage of tightrope walking, but still…
The other walk I witnessed was an older man crossing the street in a mid-size West Texas town. He had to use a walker and he could not move very quickly. Each step seemed to take a great deal of effort. It was courageous, amazing, and inspiring. Cars waiting at the light, impatient drivers drumming their fingers on the steering wheel. It seemed to take forever. Just stepping up and down on the curb was a major undertaking.
One of these made me think about my life as a Christian, and it may not be the one you think it is. Christians often refer to our life in Christ as a walk. What we mean is that our life on this earth is a journey with the ultimate purpose of living forever with God. What Nic Wallenda did is not really how Christians live. We do not walk above the clouds. We are not on a journey that is impossible for the average person.
Our walk is more like the gentlemen I watched crossing the street. Life is hard. We live as believers in a world full of unbelief. Evil abounds and Satan has made this life dangerous. There are excuses and objections to overcome if you want to follow Jesus. But we walk on with purpose. We have a destination ahead of us. We overcome the obstacles. We walk through the danger. We do not stop till we reach the other side. We are following Jesus right to the throne of God.
“Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”” (Mark 9:7)
It’s Jesus. That’s who we are supposed to listen to. That’s whose words we need to hear. Moses was important. He brought the Law. Elijah was important. He was an outstanding prophet.
But the One whose words we will be judged by is Jesus. Hear him!
How you feel about people is a direct reflection of how you follow Jesus.