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All the different things a smartphone can do make it an amazing device. Yet even with all the helpful apps and features, there are still people who ignore these perks and choose to use their cell phones only to make calls.
Christians can do a similar thing with God. Forgetting all the amazing power that God truly has, they only turn to God to give them what they need at the moment.
Instead of trusting that God could lead the nation of Judah to victory, King Amaziah hired soldiers from his northern neighbor Israel for a fairly large sum of money. The Lord sent a prophet to command the king to send these hired soldiers back home.
Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?” The man of God replied, “The Lord can give you much more than that” (2 Chronicles 25:9).
Amaziah seemed more concerned about losing the money he paid than he was about pleasing God. The prophet had to remind him that God could provide resources and power far beyond money.
Thought for Today: Remember that with God all things are possible.
Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 25:1–9
Children love to play make believe. Countless summer hours are spent playing cops and robbers or superheroes and bad guys while running through the backyard. But when the fun is over, the children know it was all pretend. No one really got shot; people still can’t fly; and there are no starship battles in space.
People play make believe with God at times too. They make a big show of their spirituality on the outside, like putting on a costume, but deep inside their hearts they are far from God.
God pleaded with His people through the prophet Joel to stop pretending and turn their hearts back to Him.
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate (Joel 2:13).
The people were tearing their outer garments as a sign of repentance, but their hearts were not broken over their sin. They were only pretending. God calls us to truly turn our hearts to Him, not just make a show of it.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help my outward praise for You be a reflection of a heart filled with gratitude.
Quicklook: Joel 2:12–14
In the history of kings, some followed the way of righteousness and others the way of wickedness. Ahaziah was a wicked king of Judah, who had a short reign of one year. Although his grandfather, Jehoshaphat, was a righteous man, Ahaziah’s father, Jehoram, chose a different path. He married the daughter of Ahab, the wicked king of Israel. Athaliah followed fully in the steps of her father and influenced her son to do the same. Judah was the kingdom of promise, but Ahaziah chose to step outside the promise.
He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly (2 Chronicles 22:3).
One cannot underestimate the power of influence, but ultimately everyone has to make his or her own choice. We are all responsible for the choices we make. We each stand alone before God. The support of good influence can make it easier, but, even without support, God assists us in following His ways.
Thought for Today: Even if I have to stand alone, God will help me make right choices.
Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 22:1–3
Charity enjoyed researching her genealogy and learning about her family history. She discovered that her great-grandfather had been convicted of murder and died in prison. That was surprising and unwelcome information. Then she found out her great-great-grandfather had been a circuit-riding preacher. A minister’s son had become a murderer. Charity realized each person chooses his or her own path.
“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obadiah 1:15).
The nation of Edom descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin. The brothers were opposites and in opposition to one another, as were their descendants. Edom showed great hostility toward Judah. Edom also symbolized God’s enemies. The Lord would eventually destroy it. After AD 70, Edom no longer existed.
We are each accountable for our actions and attitudes. God’s way is the only right choice.
Thought for Today: No matter your family background, you can start fresh in Christ.
Quicklook: Obadiah 10–18
Many Christians form partnerships with unbelievers. If the unbeliever engages in questionable behavior, the Christian could lose finances and reputation simply by association.
The Bible says not to “be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Jehoshaphat should have followed that godly counsel.
Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage (2 Chronicles 18:1).
King Jehoshaphat almost lost his life because of his foolish alliance with a wicked king. In 2 Chronicles 17:3, readers find these words, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David.” Yet, as other kings before him, he chose to stray from God’s ways, and he suffered the consequences.
We will also face consequences if we do not obey God’s command regarding unequal partnerships. Whether in business or marriage, let us seek to link only with those who follow the Lord.
Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to guide you in your relationships.
Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 18:1–3, 28–34
Mitch was beginning to spend a lot more time scrolling through inappropriate photos on the Internet. He knew it was a slippery slope. So, he would pray and repent, but would eventually fall back into the same trap. Mitch confessed to a friend, who recommended he set up boundaries such as a filter that would block those tempting websites. His friend also called Mitch each week to ask how he was doing.
“The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).
Just as Mitch followed the advice of his friend, King Asa listened to the prophet Azariah about how to change the sinful direction of the nation. Asa tried to eradicate idols from his kingdom and called the people to gather and reaffirm their covenant to seek God.
Our great advisor is the Holy Spirit. He offers both conviction and assurance. Listening to Him brings blessings and peace.
Challenge for Today: Examine your life for any area that displeases the Lord.
Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 15:1–12