Losing Heart When Evil Men Win

Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria…He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.

And since the LORD had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash. 2 Kings 23-24, 27

It is easy to lose heart when evil men win. Jeroboam II did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but he was king over Israel. God swore that He would not blot out Israel’s name so He used an evil king named Jeroboam to save them. So in this case, God still favored Israel even though it was being ruled by a corrupt leader.

How many times do we see that in life where evil men rule over good people. Take south Sudan for example. There are many Bible-believing Christians there who are being ruled by a merciless dictator, one who sees no problem with killing defenseless people en masse.

Where is the justice? Where is the justice? Why can’t God stop that injustice? Or better yet, why doesn’t He stop it? And that is one land out of 300 or so others, most of which have seriously troubled leaders.

I don’t have answers to those questions. And if I’m asking them, then certainly those people are also asking those questions.

But I am certain that God wants us who are free to pray extensively for those Believers who are not.

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Leaders and Their Advisors

They conspired against him in Jerusalem…2 Kings 14:19

Amaziah was the name of the king they were conspiring against though it doesn’t matter much. This seemed to happen a lot, just as it happens wherever there is government.

Even in democratic governments, there are people close to top leadership who conspire against the leaders. This occurs in all governments and in all nations. Often the leaders don’t know who to trust since there are many reasons (self-preservation immediately comes to mind) people do things. I know it’s cynical but, rarely do leaders and advisors do what’s best for the people. There are exceptions but not many.

Pray for your leaders and their advisors. Pray that corrupt leaders and advisors will be exposed. Pray that the good leaders will rise from the pack.

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Legacy, Anyone?

He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash. 2 Kings 14:3

Throughout the reigns of these kings, Scripture is quick to compare one king to another. David seemed to be the standard. First the kings were classified into good and evil. Next is the degree of good or evil, and finally comparison to someone before him. Even though David was not the first king, he was the standard by which many others were compared.

When it comes to your “legacy,” how are you doing? I think no matter what age we are, we have a great opportunity to leave a lasting legacy to those who come behind us. Think about those who came before us and the kind of legacy they left for us. What were their “distinctives” (good or bad, we can learn from both)? Our sphere of influence may not be as large as the kings in the Old Testament, but it can be just as lasting.

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Just Like That!

Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. 2 Kings 13:4

From the previous verse we see that the LORD God had allowed Israel to be subject to Hazael. Then a strange thing happens: the king of Israel requests the LORD’s favor.

And the LORD granted Israel favor! Just like that.

There is a fantastic principle here that sinners and saints all need to learn over and over again. When we come to God in humility, He is ready to “work with us.” He knows that sin is a cruel task master and demands more than we want to give.

Now I know that the price that Jesus paid on the cross was his own death. But not long after we have been saved (probably minutes), pride creeps in (and doesn’t ever go away). Our selfish desires and greed and pride should be continually at the foot of the Cross, but it’s not. Then we realize yet again that we’re “not all that” and humble ourselves before God’s throne. His response? He welcomes us back again.

So, whether you’ve been a Believer in Jesus for 50 years or just asked Him into your life yesterday, He welcomes you to the Cross. Daily. Hourly. Moment by Moment.

Just like that!

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Calling the Shots

So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and for a long time he kept them under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son. 2 Kings 13:3

I notice a couple of things about this verse. 1) The Lord got angry – again – with Israel, and 2) to punish them, He kept them under Hazael’s rule. After generations of repenting and going back into sin, Israel had not learned her lesson. It’s almost as if God is telling them, “you may not understand this, but I’m doing it for your own good!”

Israel wasn’t calling the shots.
Hazael king of Aram wasn’t calling the shots.

The LORD God alone was calling the shots. Period.

Thousands of years have passed and we see the same God calling the shots for leaders and nations that rise and fall. The people cry out, “this is what we want.” He gives it to them and they fall into gross sin, and walk away completely disillusioned and dissatisfied.

So, even though we seem to be in the midst of economic and political upheaval, we can resta assured that the LORD God Almighty is calling the shots.

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But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple.
When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the LORD -the carpenters and builders, the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the LORD, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.
2 Kings 12:6,11-12

One could look at this passage and see gross negligence on the part of the priests. I’m not sure what they were doing with all the money that was brought into the temple but it hadn’t gone to repair it as King Joash had wanted. Then the priests found people who did this very thing: carpenters, masons, stonecutters, builders. Those who do things all their lives get pretty good at it. That was the same way for the priests. They did priestly and religious things. They may have known how to build a temple, but probably not.

The subject of this devotional is focus. A phrase first introduced by a 19th Century preacher and popularized by Stephen Covey is this: the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Focus. The priests were not builders. The builders were not priests. Their “main things” were completely different for each, but unique to their own situations.

Is there something you need to focus in on because you’re good at it and because it’s the right thing to do for you? Are you “hitting and missing” you shouldn’t be dabbling in? Only you can answer those questions.

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Let’s Celebrate!

The king then took his place on the royal throne, and all the people of the land rejoiced. 2 Kings 11:19-20

The new king was on the throne and the people rejoiced. Finally. After they had made a covenant with God, and then another covenant with the king, they could celebrate that the king was finally on the throne. It was a cause for a party. I suspect parties were thrown and there was dancing in the streets.

What’s cause for a real celebration in your life? Birth of a child or grandchild? The sun rising and setting every day? Good men overcoming their adversities? Good triumphing over evil. Or how about something as simple as small “baby step” victories in your own life. We can and should celebrate the good we see all around us.

But there will be a day when there will be dancing in the streets like we’ve never seen before. Scriptures tell us that the streets will be paved with the purest gold and no tear will dim the eye. The king will be on the throne, and day and night we will have a chance to see what true celebration is all about. The day will come sooner than we imagine, but it will come.

Until then, let’s celebrate the “little” things.

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The LORD’s People

Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD’s people. 2 Kings 11:17

I think the text speaks for itself as to what the topic will be today. What does “the LORD’s people” look like on a day-by-day basis? What kind of activities would someone calling himself/herself a part of “the LORD’s people” engage in? Many if not all reading this would say that they are “the LORD’s people.” If this is so (and I have no reason to doubt it), how should our lives be different if we are “the LORD’s people?” What makes us stand apart? Would those who know you say you are part of “the LORD’s people?” Would your enemies say you are part of “the LORD’s people?”

I think the questions above are similar to “what would Jesus do?” questions but with a twist. As a community of Believers, how should our lives be different? Would our churches be overflowing if we exhibited the love that Jesus taught? And as “the LORD’s people,” how would or should our involvement in our communities change?

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Those Who Protect Us

The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the LORD. The guards, each with his weapon in his hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple. 2 Kings 11:9-11

Hundreds of men were required to protect this seven-year-old boy. They even got weapons that belonged to King David, which I’m sure was extremely honorable in those days. Their job was thankless and risky. At any moment, they could be attacked and overrun, and slaughtered in the process. Their pay was probably miniscule compared to the risk involved.

Those who protect our leaders have a very thankless job. In fact, those who protect us have an even more thankless job. They are scorned, called vile names, and have things thrown at them. Take the time this week to thank a trooper, local cop, or deputy sheriff. If see men and women in military uniforms, thank them as well. Tell them you are praying for them, and then pray for them. They often have to make difficult decisions quickly, and it could endanger their own lives.

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