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II Kings 15-16:20


So many kings so little time to know them all. The history of Israel’s kings and its people can be summed up in Proverbs 28:2

2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order.

I’ve heard it stated that one must always find out how an organization or entity began because the threads of the motivation that gave it birth will always be woven through out it’s existence. Israel’s was birthed out of rebellion, Jeroboam took ten of the tribes out from under the rule of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and she continued in that rebellion throughout her existence with her kings as drum majors. If I compared my life to Israel how many kings have I allowed myself to follow, few or many. As a Christian my only king should be Jesus any other ruler brings chaos and strife, and many regime changes.

I find it interesting that nothing is really said abut King Uzziah, who reigned for fifty-two years, in this book. His place in this volume seems to be used as a time line to contrast his reign with the multiple numbers of kings Israel had which was five to one.

The other thing I noticed when Judah’s kings are introduced, at least the good ones, it states that what they did was pleasing to the Lord and then that “But” word enters the picture.

15 4But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, where the people offered sacrifices and burned incense

Is this representing the toleration of sin and its ultimate effect? Had they become so comfortable with deviant life style choices apostasy was accepted? If you play with sin it will play with you. Maybe at first it looks cute because it is small like a little baby lion. Then it grows up and eats you out of house and home, and then eventually it eats you: Dinner anyone?


Acts 19:13-41

I’ve always chuckled when reading about the seven sons of Sceva and their encounter with the evil spirit. Thier method must have worked for a while because if this incident happened when they first began their pseudo ministry, it would have been their last missionary trip. I wonder what tipped off the spirit that these guys were not entitled to use the name of Jesus. How can I apply this to what is going on today with false preachers, AKA, “Jack-leg preachers” and ministries?

Both the sons of Sceva and Demetrius share the same problem, love of money. The seven boys were probably collecting for their efforts and Demetrius was concerned that folks turning to Jesus would substantially decrease his revenue stream.

I’m wondering if we may be giving Demetrius too much credit for starting the riot. Yes, he may have used words to incite the crowds but if the crowd wasn’t receptive to his words and the emotions that are fed by manipulation, there would not have been a riot. The mob allowed themselves to be incited. God gave each person something called free will. We chose to allow ourselves to be carried along by emotional appeals or to allow our brains to critically think over situations we may find ourselves in and make choices based on truth and principles. Life is all about choices.


Psalm 147:1-20

5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!

I need to remember this verse every time I cry out to God, “Lord you just don’t know what I’m going through!” Not only does He know what I’m going through His understanding about my situations is far and away higher than my perceptive insight if I have any.


Proverbs 18:4-5

One of the stronger themes that run through this wonderful book is the power of words: The words we speak to ourselves, the words we speak to others, and the words spoken to us by others. In fact, in order to favor the guilty or to condemn the innocent, words must be spoken over and into the lives of people.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

How DOES it feel to be HALFWAY through the Bible?

The seven sons of Sceva are an example of taking the Lord's name in vain. They were using the name of Jesus as a magic word, a spell that would cast out the demons, when they were not believers in or followers of Jesus. They took it and used it in vain.

Too often Christians assume that taking the Lord's name in vain means to simply say the all too familiar curse phrase "God damn." That certainly often is a casual, disrespectful use of God's name, and its use in that way is not to be encouraged. But the Bible is also full of examples of Godly people asking God to condemn the wicked and punish them, which is what that phrase really means.

There are a lot of examples I could come up with of using the Lord's name in vain, but to cut right to the point, the worst is to claim to belong to Christ when you don't follow Him. In the King James translation, Exodus 20:7 says "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." There have been many, and surely will be many more, who "take" the name of Jesus for their own advantage, who have not allowed Him to take over in their lives and have not tried to follow Him and do His will. They have "taken his name in vain," and will not be held guiltless, that is saved, by their false profession. Of them Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23 (back to the NIV) 21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

And Paul warned Timothy in 2Timothy 3:1-5 1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Having a form of godliness but denying its power is taking the Lord's name in vain. Appearing to be a godly, churchgoing, upright person, but not sincerely worshipping God and seeking to do His will. The third commandment in Exodus 20:7 warns that such people will not be forgiven. Jesus warns in Matthew 7:23 that He will drive them away from His presence. Paul warns us (through Timothy) to stay away from them so we don't fall into their hypocritical ways.

We need to be very careful to keep God in first place in our hearts and in our lives so that we never need to worry whether we've "taken the Lord's name in vain." In the words of 2 Peter 1:10-11, 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Psalm 147:4, 5–
“He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!”
Isaiah 40:26 - Lift your eyes and look into the heavens: Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not a single one of them is missing.

For man, the number of the stars is absolutely beyond our capability. But every one of those stars God has not only counted, but He is very familiar with them; He has a name for each! Should this surprise us? After all He created each and every one of them! "His understanding IS INFINITE"

If you go out on a very dark night, away from the city lights, look up at the stars; I must remind myself that the same God that put those stars in place also made me. I praise Him for His mighty power! Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! It is an encouragement to me to think about God’s power and care in creating the universe; every detail mattered to Him in His design….from the number of the stars in the sky to the hairs on my head. I am also deeply encouraged today as I remember that just as my God can knows each star by name, He knows my name and He cares deeply for me. Sing out your thanks to the Lord; sing praises to our God.

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