Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-7
For eight long years after he took the throne, nothing happened. Idolatry ran rampant in Judah and a child was king. But behind the scenes, caring men and women raised him, invested in him, and spoke life to and over him. They fed him, taught him, and nurtured him. Over time, a longing grew, and Josiah began to seek the Lord.
Another four years, with no earth shattering changes. But God was working. Through the men and women around him.
After twelve long years, Josiah emerged to lead the nation, to remove the idols, and to bring his people back to God.
Parenting is like that. And so is the time and effort we take to invest in children and teens. Years may go by and nothing seems to happen. But seed IS sown. Life IS forming. Change takes place…though we do not always see it.
Who are the young people you can invest in today?
For some practical tips and inspiration, check out this podcast from Parent Cue with Josh Shipp.
Read 2 Chronicles 32:1-8
After he was faithful and did what pleased the Lord, Hezekiah experienced an invasion. Its easy to think, because we’re doing well with the Lord, because we’re trusting and following Him, blessings should flow our way and all problems should be diverted.
But faithfulness doesn’t exempt us from tough times, rather, it prepares our hearts for them.
When tough times came, when a major threat arose, Hezekiah didn’t freeze or cower. His training in righteousness and the intimacy with God he developed over time prepared him for this crisis.
He prepared his defenses, he remained cool under pressure, and he trusted the Lord.
Because he was faithful.
Today, right where you’re at, you can be the same. It may not stop the hard times from coming, but it certainly will prepare you to overcome them.
Just as the renovation of the Temple took time and hard work, so too does the renovation of a heart to be fully committed to Him. We don’t earn salvation or favor or righteousness. Still, a heart whose affections were trained and turned in a different direction, may take time and some diligence to be conformed to His image.
Don’t despise, nor get discouraged by, the effort or steady (instead of instantaneous) progress toward the transformation God brings.
These Priests and Levites are looking to do God’s will. While normally only those on duty should enter the Temple, surely this is the exception to the rule. After all, “you gotta do what you gotta do” to keep Joash safe, right?
He is the one that needs to take the throne and fulfill God’s promise to always have a descendant of David on the throne. Besides, Athaliah is wicked and ruthless. If ever there were a time to disobey God to serve God, this was it.
But God’s work and will must be done in God’s way, or it is neither. Are you ever tempted to let the ends justify the means?
When we willfully go against God, it’s easy to think God simply writes us off, for we would do the same. But God is not like us. Even when we act stupidly or make dumb choices, God doesn’t abandon us.
A compromise here, a little justification there, or perhaps it was a slight indulgence of his own desires, maybe a weariness from needing to stay diligent. Whatever the cause, Jehoshaphat made a foolish alliance, entered into a bad relationship that seemed to offer so many benefits. Until it didn’t…and death pursued him.
So he cried out to God. And God heard him and helped him. Like the prodigal, when we come to our senses, we find God has been waiting for us all along.
Father, thank you for your goodness and grace. Let me never take you for granted, but wherever I’m at, let me draw near to you today.
Serving the Lord can be costly. In the western world, I can forget, for the call to sacrifice is not usually great. I can live the American Dream (or strive to) and go to church (not that this is necessarily the same as serving the Lord, but hopefully you get the point).
But here, the Levites had to make a choice, to leave their homes and property so they could continue to serve the Lord rather than idols set up by Jeroboam…and there may come a time when we must do the same.
Are we ready to make that choice?
In the midst of the mess, during the times when it seems we are all on our own and Jesus is not there, when we are suffering and in anguish, when it seems like evil is winning – through it all, the Father is drawing us to Himself, to a place of intimacy so great, that we will find ourselves asking the Father directly, anything in Jesus name, and He will grant it.
Don’t despair and don’t be discouraged, rather, draw near. Let His heart be yours.
Solomon started his reign with two major projects, building the Temple and a new palace. I love the challenge of working on a project. It feels good to make progress towards something significant, especially when it’s given by God and honors Him.
What happens after we complete eveything we planned to do? Solomon appeared at a spiritually healthy place while working on the Temple, but after? With too much time on his hands it seems like he consumed himself with….himself.
Are we focused on the person of God or the plan of God or simply a project for God? Projects can come to an end, our intimacy with God never will. We will never exhaust the discovery of an infinite God. During those tasks and projects He calls us to, continue press in to Him and not just the finishing of a task. Our lives will be far richer for it.
Why do we believe? Shouldn’t believing be easier if we see and experience the supernatural, the miraculous? It certainly helps us to believe in the moment, but what actually keeps us believing for the long haul?
After such an incredible, powerful, holy experience, how could the people of Judah possibly fall away, stop believing? But they did, and we can.
Consider, it didn’t take long for Solomon to pursue the pleasures of life and offer sacrifices to the gods of his wives after all his amazing encounters with God.
And what of the crowds who believed and followed Jesus because of the miracles…and just as easily left.
Miracles and the manifest presence of God is good and helpful in our relationship with Him, but the daily presence, the open and tender heart is what keeps us there.
The disciples are with Jesus for three years and they don’t get it, don’t understand. All this time Jesus has been revealing the Father to his disciples and still, they are not aware.
When things don’t make sense, maybe we don’t need more miracles, but rather, more reflection, and with it, an awareness of what God has been revealing to us about Himself through the work He’s already done in our lives.