How interesting that I would begin the summer LPM Bible study at this time…the study I am using is called No Other Gods by Kelly Minter…I have only just begun the study but it is having an impact already…just as last week’s reading have continued to resonate with me. I find myself thinking often of King Solomon, King Asa and also Elijah…pondering what it means to have my heart set on God…continually…always…
This week, I have been increasingly aware of myself…how short I fall…so often. True, I daily reaffirm that I am a sinner saved by nothing else but grace…however, there are those days or weeks where the reality is at the forefront…and at times it feels unbearable…yet I can’t escape that truth. Days where I could echo Isaiah…woe to me…I am ruined…I am a man of unclean lips…or like the tax collector who looks to heaven and says…God have mercy on me, a sinner!
This past week, we worked our way through the rest of I Kings, began II Kings, continued in II Chronicles and Psalm 46, 47, 48, 49, 83 and 91 (some of my favorite psalms). I make no apologies for my redundancy…reading the Word in order has made such a difference in not only my comprehension but has enriched the text…how is it that a passage from the Word, that I have always loved, suddenly intensifies that affection because its context is rightfully in place…
If the books of Kings and Chronicles became part of The Wheel Of Fortune game show…I can imagine that if the category for the bonus round was proper names…the letter “J” would have to be added as one of the most used letters…I have never read about so many “J” men in my life…it was a week to get easily confused.
This week revealed the lives of the following kings of Israel: Ahab, Joram, Jehu and Jehoahaz. The kings of Judah encountered were: Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah and Joash. I could easily take you through each king that was “horrible”…how vile they were…how they did evil in God’s sight and caused the people to follow after other gods…bottom line they were sinners…just like me. One of the saddest passages I read was related to Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat…Jehoram was the opposite of his father…after all his misdeeds, this is what is written about Jehoram:
“After all this, the LORD afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no fire in his honor, as they had for his fathers. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.” (II Chronicles 21: 18-20)
For all the sin in Jehoram’s life…his last days must have been physically unbearable and once his life was over…he was without honor or any to be sad that he no longer remained.
In sharp contrast is Jehoram’s father, Jehoshaphat…
“He walked in the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” (II Chronicle 20: 32)
When a vast army was coming against him, he resolved to inquire of the Lord and proclaimed a fast for all of Judah and this is what he said:
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
(II Chronicles 20: 6,12)
Over the last few years as I have felt like there has been an army attacking me and my family, I have turned to those words of Jehoshaphat many times…once again is all about setting our hearts and trust in the Lord.
God hears Jehoshaphat’s prayers and through one of his servants, it is proclaimed to Jehoshaphat that the battle is not theirs, but the Lord’s. They will not have to fight this battle…they just have to take up their positions and stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord. This causes King J. and all of Judah and Jerusalem to bow in worship. Jehoshaphat then appoints men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness, leading the army. As they were singing and praising, God set up ambushes for the enemy and they were defeated. The enemy was not only annihilated but there was so much plunder, it took 3 days to collect. They returned to Jerusalem joyfully for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies and He gave them rest on all sides.
These are three of the psalms that were attributed to this time of victory that began with praise and ended in a great victory…Psalm 46, 47, and 48…written by the sons of Korah.
Psalm 46 takes on deeper meaning:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I love that!!!
Kelly Minter in No Other God writes what prompted her write this study:
I happened to be in 2 Kings, chapter 17, when verse 33 arrested my attention, “They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods.” Verse 41 further compounded the description, “Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols.” God and gods: the people were living split lives, worshiping the One, while serving the others.
She further adds a definition of idols by Ken Sande:
Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by a pagan people…In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on, that motivates us, that masters us and rules us, or that we trust, fear or serve. An idol can also be referred to as a “false god” or a “functional god”.
The definition above is not new to me yet I am left with the sad reality that I may easily profess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior however I may have many things (even some of which are good) in my life that are functioning as a god…areas where I foolishly think God needs some help.
It is not my aim to live a life that will be remembered or even honored but I certainly do not wish to be like Jehoram…
I want this to be my aim…the cry of my heart and life:
“FOR THIS GOD IS OUR GOD FOR EVER AND EVER. HE WILL BE OUR GUIDE EVEN TO THE END.”
Psalm 48: 14
My idea of a relaxing day during the summer is 75 degree weather, an Arnold Palmer (half iced tea, half lemonade) close by and a good book…I definitely will be spending time reading a very good book and I think I may be doing some heavy lifting…dismantling the high places and idols in my life…clearing out the landscape so God can write His Words upon my heart. I am sure there will be days where I close my eyes and say that I don’t know what to do but my eyes will definitely be on Him!
The year is halfway done and still the best decision of 2008 has been reading the Bible cover to cover chronologically…we are gaining new people weekly that are desirous to read the Word this way…click hereto learn more at Bev’s site…read most posts from other cover to cover readers…get the reading list. Bev, see what you started…so glad that your heart was set on His!
If you are interested in the No Other God’s bible study click here…you can also find out information about downloading the first session here to see if you are interested. Let me know if you decide to do some reconstruction with me.
Keep clinging to Him,