This is from my new “blogging Psalms” blog.
This is from my new “blogging Psalms” blog.
He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
2 Chronicles 33:13 ESV
Do you know that the Lord is God? If so, how? Well for a start, we’ve got to pray to Him, and to see His answer, to know that He is God.
Manasseh got off to the worst possible start. He was one of the worst kings Judah ever had. He even sacrificed some of his own sons to false gods. So God sent Assyrian enemies to humble him.
Some people only pray when they’re in trouble. But better then than not at all! Manasseh cried out to God to deliver him from captivity, and God graciously heard his cry.
There are two distinguishing features of God against false gods. Firstly He is merciful- He answers our prayers even when we don’t deserve it and have nothing to offer. Secondly, He is powerful to save: He delivered Manasseh, and He can save us too.
“Lord, we acknowledge that You alone are God. We repent of our idolatry and ask that You would help us to worship You alone and to experience Your powerful mercy. In Christ’s mighty name we pray, amen”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.
2 Chronicles 32:7 ESV
Did you know that in Revelation we’re told that the cowardly go to hell? So the command to be strong and courageous isn’t just nice words, it’s essential to the life of faith. We aren’t strong in our own mortal flesh, but in the Lord, and in his mighty power.
My eleven year old brother in law has been visiting. The librarian asked him what sort of book he would like. He replied “one about being brave”. What a great choice! The Bible teaches us how to be brave and courageous not in ourselves, but in God Almighty.
If we’re to be strong and courageous, we’re not to be afraid or dismayed. If we look to our enemies, or even to ourselves, we’re only going to be disappointed. But if we look to the God of the angel armies, we need never be frightened.
Those with us are more than those with the enemy of our souls, satan. Jesus could have called down countless angels to deliver Him from the cross, but He refused so that He might deliver us. We can have confidence that we can carry crosses and win battles in God’s strength alone.
“Lord of hosts, please help us be strong and courageous, and not to be afraid or dismayed. May we remember that there’s more on our side than the enemy’s. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen”
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psalms 25:20 ESV
V.I.P.s have bodyguards to protect them from any threats they may face. Amazingly, insignificant us are V.I.P.s to God, and we can ask Him to guard our souls. It’s an astounding truth that the Lord of all creation could care for such mere mortals as us.
We need God’s deliverance. When we come to Him in faith, we make an enemy of the world, the flesh and the devil. We need all the help we can get, and God mercifully provides it.
One of the worst feelings we can have is shame- feeling bad because of our sinful guilt before a holy God. David prays that he wouldn’t be put to shame. We might deserve to be shameful because of our sin-guilt, but by the grace of God, we don’t have to be.
If we take refuge in God, we can have confidence that He’ll wash away all our sins, guilt and shame in the blood of Christ. A clear conscience before the Righteous Judge is a great blessing. We don’t need to hold on to our guilt and shame anymore.
“Holy One, we praise You for taking away our shame at the cross of Jesus. Please help us to take refuge in You, and guard our souls we pray, for Your name’s sake, amen”
And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
Mark 3:4 ESV
The religious leaders were so legalistic about the Sabbath day of rest that they thought people couldn’t heal on it, because that would class as work. But Jesus challenged their faulty understanding. He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was made for mankind, not mankind for the Sabbath. God knows we’re mortal and need a rest day a week. So He graciously gave us the Sabbath.
The point of the Sabbath is for us to do good- to worship the Lord on His day and to bless others. We’re not to do harm, to withhold good from people just because it’s the Sabbath. If we have the chance to save a life on the Sabbath, we do it, we don’t take a rest from something like that!
The Sabbath is seen to be a non issue nowadays. No wonder then that people are overworked and stressed. But a similar issue today is an insistence on “a woman’s right to choose”. What people often fail to appreciate is that unborn women have a right to life, and no one has a right to take them away.
“Dear Father in heaven, we thank You for the gift of Sabbath rest. Please help us to take the rest we need, but not to use it as an excuse to fail to do good. In Christ Jesus’ name, amen”
Thanks brother for introducing this great topic!
Just as I considered it, I thought of how much love hurts.
“Wait a minute”, you may protest, “I thought love was supposed to make us feel good, not to make us feel hurt!”
If we only went with our feelings, our “love” would fail, because we don’t always “feel” like loving. True love never fails.
If we love someone and they let us down, it hurts, because we care for them and want them to be the best they can be.
If that’s true of us, think how much more it is of God! He made us as his most treasured, beloved possession. And we’ve gone and rebelled against Him.
Think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He didn’t feel like loving us. But He did love us, despite literally excruciating pain, and separation from His Father.
He went to the cross out of love for us, so that we might know God’s love and acceptance of us as His adopted children.
Do you feel like loving God? Maybe not, maybe your troubles are destroying your good feelings. But do you love Him truly, in spite of everything you might be going through.
He loved us so much that He laid down His life for us.
Do we love Him enough to be willing to lay down our lives for Him?
God help us to love Him as He first loved us, amen!
David Ettinger, if you’re reading this, I don’t know how to properly tag you, but I invite you to do a post about the love of God 🙂
The readings today are 2 Chronicles 24-25; Psalms 23; Mark 2
But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”
2 Chronicles 25:8 ESV
“Let go and let God” isn’t necessarily Biblical. “Go, act, be strong” is Biblical however. Anyone who thinks the gospel of salvation is an excuse for passivity is deluded.
King Amaziah was a relatively good king of Judah, but in a half hearted manner. He presumed to get the northern kingdom of Israel to help him fight the Edomites. This verse is part of a man of God’s response. He was to go it alone, because God wasn’t with the Israelites.
“God + one is a majority” isn’t necessarily Biblical, after all, God alone is a majority! Amaziah wasn’t confident to go it alone against his enemy, but he did. And by the grace of God he won the victory.
God has the power to help or to cast down. We definately want to be helped by Him rather than cast down. So we need to get Him onside, or more accurately, we need to get ourselves onside with Him.
“Almighty God, please help us to serve You wholeheartedly. May we go, act, and be strong for You in the spiritual battles we face. Please don’t cast us down before the enemy of our souls, but help us in our need. For Jesus’ sake, amen”
And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Mark 1:38 ESV
People have all sorts of opinions about Jesus. Some think He was a hippie, others a revolutionary. Some speculate He was a magician or a charlatan. But the most important opinion of Jesus is His own.
Why did Jesus come? To lay down His life for us, yes. But why did He live for thirty three years before that, why didn’t He come and die straight away? Was it to work miracles, to heal and to deliver from demons?
In this verse, Jesus explains His primary purpose: to preach- to teach about how we can become part of God’s kingdom. Without His teaching, we have no way of understanding everything else He did. His preaching is the foundation for everything else He did.
When Jesus preached, the people were amazed, because He taught authoritatively, and not like the religious leaders of the day. Sadly, too often today, “preachers” are too scared to offer opinions in case someone disagrees with them- they just give people options as to what they may want to believe. Thankfully, Jesus’ teaching is definative and practical.
“Father God, we thank You for Your Son and His authoritative teaching. Please help us to take it to heart and to obey, in His holy name, amen”
The readings today are 2 Chronicles 19-20; Psalm 22:1-18; Matthew 27-28
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:54 ESV
Many people live exemplary lives. But only a few die well. The Son of God died well. That sounds like a contradiction: surely the Son of God should never die! But He laid down His life for us.
The centurion will have executed many people in his time. An extra three shouldn’t have been a big deal. But when he saw how Jesus died, and felt the earthquake, he was filled with awe.
The Romans didn’t even execute Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God. They crucified Him for treason, for claiming to be the King of the Jews. His accusers declared that they had no king but Caesar.
But the centurion will have heard of Jesus’ fame, and His claim to be the Son of God- for which the Jewish authorities wanted Him killed. To claim to be the Son of God is blasphemy- unless it’s true! The centurion believed.
“Dear Yahweh, our Father in heaven, praise is due to You for sending Your Son to give His life for us. If there’s hope for His executioner, there’s hope for us, for whose sins are responsible for His death. We repent and trust in You, in His name, amen”