blessings

God puts His heart into His work.

God puts His heart into His work.

2 Chronicles 31

Today’s blog will center around the last verse of this chapter: "In everything that [Hezekiah] undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." (vs 21) This is the key to prosperity and success in God’s universe—working for God with your whole heart, no matter what you do. This is what God does.

God wants to have a strong bond with us.

God wants to have a strong bond with us.

2 Chronicles 27

One of the few accomplishments of King Jotham that is recorded in the Bible is this: "Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord and did extensive work on the wall at the hill of Ophel." (vs 3) Of course, any time anyone in Judah had regard for God’s temple, that was a good sign, but Bible scholars suggest that working on the "Upper Gate" of the temple means that Jotham rebuilt and restored the link between the temple and the palace in order to have free access from his house to God’s house.

God can give us more.

God can give us more.

2 Chronicles 25

Amaziah—like his father—started out well as king. Later, he too strayed from the ways of the Lord, but as kings of Judah went, he was a pretty good one. (Which is, I think, a sad commentary on the kings of Judah!) Before he went astray, however, he had a habit of listening whenever the Lord talked to him. One such occasion was recorded in this chapter:

God gives us rest.

God gives us rest.

2 Chronicles 14

I loved this verse from chapter 14: "Let us build up these towns," [Asa] said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." (vs 7) The Israelites in Judah had not yet forsaken what they had learned in Egyptian captivity—that God is the very best King there is.

God always gives more.

God always gives more.

2 Chronicles 9

There’s no doubt about it. The Queen of Sheba was totally smitten with Solomon. Everything about him and his kingdom took her in—the palace, the temple, the banquet, and especially his wisdom. She had been expecting to see great things on her visit to Solomon, but she wasn’t prepared for what she actually found when she got there: "She said to the king, 'The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.'" (vs 5-6)

Blind Spot {ex21:23-25}

exodus-mercy-blind-spot-poem.png

Ghandi once said that
an eye for an eye
leaves the whole world blind.

Yes, but it also
leaves the whole world alive.

If the previous rule was
your hand for my eye
and then
my child's life for your hand
and then
your whole family for my child's life
and then
and then

and then
an eye for an eye
is not revenge,
but mercy;

pandemic blindness
a blessing,
compared to
the alternative.

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

God gives specific gifts to specific people.

1 Chronicles 27

To me, there is a troubling trend in modern Western society. I see it happening in schools with children, as well as in the general workplace with adults. I’m not sure what has caused this trend to appear in our culture. Perhaps it has its roots in the feminist movement or the civil rights movement. Regardless of where it came from, however, the trend has become that everybody must be seen and considered as equal in most every way.

God is a treasure.

God is a treasure.

1 Chronicles 26

There are so many things in Scripture that I don’t believe are coincidences. So many things that have layers of meaning—literal to symbolic and everything in between. And I found one of these things in this chapter of Chronicles that further outlined which Levites were in charge: "Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David... Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish... and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives." (vs 26-28)

God doesn't brainwash us.

God doesn't brainwash us.

1 Chronicles 6

And now to the genealogy of the Levites—by far, the most respected tribe in all of Israel. The high calling God had placed on the descendants of Levi and the immense privileges they were given in serving in the presence of God at the temple cemented their position as the most distinguished tribe in Israel.

God gives us all the right things.

God gives us all the right things.

1 Chronicles 4

About 20 years ago, author Bruce Wilkinson made two verses of 1 Chronicles 4 famous with his book, The Prayer of Jabez. Who knew that a genealogical chapter of the Bible could produce something so lucrative? I remember the book well. Though I never actually read it, I remember the firestorm it caused in the Christian church. Many people were excited about it—going to their weekly group study about Jabez to learn how to garner some extra wealth from God. And an equal number of people were extremely opposed to it, shocked that any Christian should ask God for more.

God thinks differently than we do.

God thinks differently than we do.

2 Kings 4

Well, this whole chapter was about how God worked miracles through His prophet Elisha. The one that really stuck out to me, though, was the very first story about the widow, her two sons, and the olive oil. Just before creditors were going to come and take her boys into slavery because of their debts, Elisha told her, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." (vs 3-4)

God brings life to dead places.

God brings life to dead places.

2 Kings 2

God is life. No matter how barren a place, no matter how dead, His Spirit can bring new life. At least, that’s what we see happening in this chapter of 2 Kings: "The people of [Jericho] said to Elisha, 'Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.' 'Bring me a new bowl,' he said, 'and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, 'This is what the Lord says: "I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive."' And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken." (vs 19-22)

God has no problem with wealth.

God has no problem with wealth.

1 Kings 10

Did you notice that as you read through today’s chapter? Whoa! God certainly has no problem with wealth! I was amazed by the fact that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Who needs 12,000 horses?! And this was just in addition to his palace and all the other things he acquired over the years as his fame spread far and wide. In the description of Solomon’s palace, the Bible says "nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom." (vs 20) Solomon was, by far, the richest man in the world—probably in the history of the world!

God's way brings peace.

God's way brings peace.

1 Kings 4

At least starting out, Solomon did things the right way. He had a heart for others. With his newfound power, he was more worried about having the wisdom to judge his people fairly than he was worried about accumulating wealth or honor. And here, we see that God was true to His word: He gave Solomon what he asked for... and everything he didn’t ask for.

God wants us to have it all.

God wants us to have it all.

1 Kings 3

Wow! This chapter started out with God coming to Solomon like a genie in a bottle: "At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, 'Ask for whatever you want me to give you.'" (vs 5) I had to wonder what I would say if God ever approached me like that. If you believed you were talking to someone who could give you anything, what would you really want?

The Blessed Curse {gn49:7}

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The sobering fact of life is that our
descendants usually bear their share
of our decisions—either good or bad.
Levi couldn't bend his temper to his
will, and his curse was to
be doled out to his children—who would be
scattered, without a land inheritance,
among their relatives. But
the curse turned into a blessing for the entire
nation, as the Levites became the radiated advocates
of God. They inherited the heart-land of
Israel, permanent tillers of her spiritual soil.

 

Underdogs {gn48}

Photo © Unsplash/Matthew Henry

Photo © Unsplash/Matthew Henry

The last shall be first,
and the first, last.

If Jesus was praised by any
for uttering such
revolutionary ideas,
they unwittingly
exposed
their own ignorance
of Scripture.

The dance of the
last and the first
didn't begin in the Gospels.
It began in Genesis with
the subtle passing over
of the older for the younger,
the giving way
of the greater to the lesser.

Isaac and Ishmael.
Jacob and Esau.
Joseph and his older brothers.
Ephraim and Manasseh.

God must love
a good heel turn.
Blessed are the underdogs,
for they shall
have the last bark.

 

God is not a sore loser.

God is not a sore loser.

1 SAMUEL 11

You know, it’s hard not to think of David when we read about Saul. Knowing how the story is going to unfold, and knowing that it’s David (not Saul) who was eventually called “a man after God’s own heart,” it is hard for me to let Saul’s story just be Saul’s story. Somehow, it always just feels like the prolonged prelude to the story of David. And, in many ways, perhaps it is.

God is tenderhearted.

God is tenderhearted.

RUTH 2

I really saw a picture of God in this chapter, coming through in the tenderhearted nature of Boaz. From the text, it’s clear that Boaz was a man of the Lord—and at a time when the majority of Israel was heading down the wrong path. When Boaz arrives at his fields, he greets all of the harvesters with a blessing from the Lord. (vs 4) Later, he praises Ruth for her commitment to Naomi and calls upon God to bless her because of it. (vs 12)

God believes in a good offense.

God believes in a good offense.

JUDGES 15

If you like sports, you’ve probably heard the old saying that the best defense is a good offense. In other words, in the middle of a game, instead of trying to fight off an attack from the opposing team, you want to be on the offensive. You want to have to make them shut you down... not the other way around. The best defense is a good offense.