Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: June 2018 (Page 1 of 5)

O For Wisdom!

June 21 – Today’s Readings – 2Kings 24-25 and Proverbs 21

In re-reading the book of Proverbs this time I was once again taken by the number of times “receiving instruction” is mentioned. Much repetition means only one thing – The Lord is definitely trying to be emphatic about this. According to Scripture, if you are intelligent – wise – sensible – knowledgeable – etc., you will be excited to receive instruction and apply it to your life. The question is – What kind of instruction should we receive – and from what source? The most obvious answer to this question is that we receive instruction from the Holy Spirit, but if so, then through which “delivery vehicle” do we receive this mentoring?

God’s instruction comes to us through parents, elders, elders of the Church, spouses, friends, brothers and sisters, the written Word, the spoken Word, our conscience, etc. The real question is not whether the Lord is able to communicate with us through these means but whether we are humble and open enough to hear and put into practice that which The Lord is leading us to do.

Why is it that Christians sometimes make such horrendous mistakes in life? Though God’s voice can be heard loud and clear, Christians tend to IGNORE the Great Counselor and the instruction the Lord give us at the hands of the wise. The very thing that ought to define a Christian (hearing from God and doing God’s bidding) has become a scarce commodity. The solution starts with you and I. Get advice – Godly advice and don’t ignore what you hear from the voice of God. You will immediately reap the benefits of Wisdom. “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:5-7)

It has been said many times (by people over the age of 50), “If only I had the wisdom I’ve learned over the years but the energy I had when I was eighteen.” The truth is that Wisdom is available to any of us at any age if we will be open enough to listen to instruction. We must chase after it however. Let us not be like the foolish who dread or are too proud to ask for input and receive correction, and then cop “an attitude” when they are instructed. Rather, we should be like sponges, soaking up all that we can from those whose walk and heart make them examples for us to follow. We need to drink deeply of the principles of the Word of God so as to not stray from the path of life and from the will of the Father in our lives. If we gain wisdom, we will also gain real riches in Christ, for the wisest thing any man could ever do is to receive Jesus and walk closely with Him all the days of his life.

Questions:

1. How is it that wisdom seems like such a simple thing to attain if you follow Jesus – yet so few seem to walk in it?
2. Give examples of other “wise” people (Bible or otherwise) – how did they attain wisdom?

A Good Man

June 20 – Today’s Readings – 2Kings 22-23 and Proverbs 20

In these chapters, we find one of the finest kings there ever was. Josiah did what all the others refused to do. He did away with ALL the sinful idols and “gods” that Judah had been serving. “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25)

The Book of the Law (God’s directives) had not been read and obeyed in the nation for decades. Because of the absence of God’s Word, people and kings did whatever they pleased in order to be “religious”. Because there was no “steady diet” of Scripture, people did all kinds of religious stuff in God’s name. There had not even been a celebration of Passover in Israel since the days of the judges! If the generations of Kings had followed the Word, then the Lord would have never allowed such judgment to come on Judah.

Josiah did EVERYTHING he could do, including leading the people in national repentance and renewal of covenant with God. Did God love what Josiah had done? Did God take note of this man? Did God care about the repentance? Did God pay attention to the removal of the idols and false gods and false priests? IN ALL CASES the answer is a resounding YES!

This however did not change the fact that judgment had been pronounced on the nation and this judgement would proceed as prophesied. Josiah did die an unnatural death as prophesied – and the next kings of Israel once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord – – and Judah was completely defeated just like the prophets had foretold.

Bear with me, for there is a moral to this unusual story. There seems to be no doubt as to Josiah’s heavenly reward and the fact that he went down in history as a great king. However, the amount of evil that had been practiced in Judah was so vile that one man’s actions could never atone for it. There was only one “man” in history that could ever atone for the sinfulness of mankind – Our Lord Jesus Christ. Think for a moment of the burden of sin He took on Himself to save mankind from the judgment that sin required. Now focus back on all the things that this nation was doing to sin against God – all the hideous sins that mankind is capable of doing. This was the burden that Jesus bore – the sin that nailed Him to the cross. Think of the proud people who foolishly declare, “I’ll have time before I die to repent and assure my entrance to heaven.” Do these people really believe that our God does not see? – or – that our God does not know the motives of the heart?

We too have to “guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Christ needs to be the center of our world on a daily basis. I’m more motivated than ever to serve the Lord with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength.

Questions:

1. Give another example from Scripture where a seemingly “righteous” person suffered an untimely death because of the sinfulness of others.
2. Give an example of seemingly innocent people suffering or dying through no fault of their own.

Good Health

June 19 – Today’s Readings – 2Kings 19-21 and Proverbs 19

When a person walks with God, even a sure appointment with death itself can be changed. This is one of the great legacies of King Hezekiah of Judah – he was faithful and zealous for God, so when it came to his own needs, God paid attention. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) There is a boldness that comes to us as human beings when we know we are in right standing with God. I know that we gain access to God by grace and faith alone, but when we come to a full realization of who we are before God, it definitely gives us a level of well being that allows us to stand taller, pray bigger and believe in a more all-encompassing way. As a good friend recently reminded me; “all of my big ‘God Encounters’ happened when I was spending time and focused on seeking Him”.I can add a little to this by saying “when a person is working alongside God, all personal needs become small”. I simply can’t encourage you enough to be serious about living “in” the Holy Spirit – not keeping anything back from the Lord – but allowing him to be Lord of every area in your life – (yes even the secret drawer) This kind of life will act as a repellant even to sickness and death.

I was asked the other day how a person could walk in divine health. Without much hesitation, I suggested that when a believer knows God is with them, then physical setbacks, become a lot less significant. We become victorious first in the attitude of our heart, knowing that the Lord gives strength to us in the inner man.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

These verses are so familiar to us, yet the significance of “hoping in the Lord” can easily escape us. There is a place of deep trust in God that we come to when He has proven His character to us again and again. People are not usually very trusting or trustworthy but we can be certain that there is one person who always has our best interests in mind. Our “divine health” – emotional – spiritual – and physical, comes from knowing with certainty that God is for us – “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Questions:

1.Give another example from Scripture, where “the blessing of God” included divine health.
2. Give an example of “walking in the attitude of divine health” from your own life or from someone you know.
3. Make it your purpose to trust that “God is for you”.

And God Blessed Him

June 18 – Today’s Readings – 2Kings 16-18 and Proverbs 18

Hooray! Finally, a king who served God with some zeal! He did what was right! He worshipped God! He lived a morally upright life! He tore down the things that needed tearing down! – AND GOD BLESSED HIM! Surprise. Surprise. – And God WILL bless our lives too as we walk with Him and do what is right.

But wait a minute – there was still an enemy afoot – a loud, mouthy, demoralizing, lying, anti-God, “take you to a land like your own” ENEMY. His name is not important, for we know who he is. This story so gripped me that I couldn’t put the book down and I read ahead one chapter. Guess what? God came through! He honored the man of integrity and faith – He protected the man of God – and He gave victory to an entire group of people because one man decided to walk in right relationship with God! This is the Bible truth – we have everything to gain by living in fellowship with God Almighty and everything to lose if we don’t. I chose Jesus!

Consider this – “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ – – If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. – – ‘Because he loves me’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10 & 14-16)

This is the rule of thumb for our relationship with God. He keeps us – He blesses us – He protects us – He gives us divine health – He hears us and answers us. If unbelievers could only understand the amazing love of the Lord, they would turn from life-destroying-ways and run to God. However – “many are invited, but few are chosen”. [Matthew 22:14] The masses that do not know the Lord are so self-absorbed that they unwittingly reject the grace of God. Our job is to find those people that God is drawing to Himself and work along side Him to bring them to grace and the marvelous blessing we enjoy in Christ.

Questions:

1. Make a short list of all the “blessings” you have received since you met the Lord.
2. We know that the blessed life is normal for the believer – what about when you don’t seem quite so blessed?

Deliberate Systematic Choice

June 17 – Today’s Readings – 2Kings 13-15 and Proverbs 17

As I was reading through the lists of the “Kings” it became evident to me that God was interested in the final outcome of their lives – did they do (or not do) that was “right” in the eyes of the Lord? Did they follow in the ways of Jeroboam, son of Nebat or follow the Lord wholeheartedly? Did they tear down the high places and the Asherah Poles and did they do away with the things that were displeasing to God? Throughout the reign of these kings, the Lord did not ever utterly reject Israel or Judah but these nations certainly became weaker with each successive pathetic leader and there was little “glory” to be seen in the people of God.

We too are “kings and priests” according to Scripture and our way of life affects the overall health of the Kingdom of God – “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1Timothy 6:11) It is never too late to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord – it is never too late to tear down “idols” and “asherah poles” in our lives – it is never too late to make changes so that God sits up and takes notice – and He will! He blesses the people who seek Him and do what is right, but the Church that allows spiritual matters to slide is weakened. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1Peter 2:9)

The other very obvious thing that happens when people seek God and live right is that future generations will be influenced to serve God and do what’s right – or in the case of Jeroboam, son of Nebat – generations will be influenced to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord! “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” (Joel 1:3) This is the plan of the Almighty – that generations would go from strength to strength and that the people of God would show forth His glory.

What exactly are the purposes of God when He corrects or mets out discipline to His people? There is a great deal written in Scripture concerning the Nation of Israel and the Church receiving approval or disapproval from the Lord. The successive accounts of kings in Judah and Israel are written for examples to us – not so much as a model of what to do as what not to do. Remember the seven churches in Revelation? – These are also excellent examples for us to imitate because God has special interest in groups of people who bear His name. As a church we can do well or we can find ourselves wanting.

Needed – Kings and Priests who will break rank with Jeroboam, the son of Nebat and follow the Lord wholeheartedly, like King David did!

Questions:

1. Give a Scriptural example of successive generations serving God because one generation did it right.
2. Give an example of a family you know or have heard of where successive generations served the Lord with passion.

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