2 Kings 15:8-16
After Zechariah became king of Israel and was still continuing in sin, he was assasinated by Shallum who was assasinated by Menahem. God has removed His protection around the kings as they have abandoned God and refused to keep His commandments. This reminded me of Ps 121 which talks about God’s help and His protection for those who look to Him. It is a stark contrast between what is happening to the kings and to the psalmist.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”
– Ps 121 (NLT)
Dear God, watch over me as I serve you, watch over my brothers and sisters who serve you faithfully. Keep us from harm and let us always look to you for our help.
1 Kings 17:17-24
The widow was quick to forget the daily food provision that God provided her and her son with food or maybe she thought that the miracle was for Elijah and she and her son was just benefitting from it. Once the tragedy of her son dying struck her, she blamed Elijah/God because she thought God might be punishing her for her sin by killing her son. However, we see God have mercy on this widow by bringing her son back from the dead. This helped the widow to see the truth about Elijah and God.
I was reminded to take note of all the small miracles that happen around me and not let the problems/issues of my life overwhelm me and try to put the blame on others or on God. I recalled a book that I read that reminded me to think that every problem that I have is a potential miracle waiting to happen. That allows me to pray differently, and with the faith that God is moving and will change things. Let me be more like Elijah, to trust in God more and more and go to God always because He loves me and His mercies and indeed new every morning.
1 Kings 17:1-7
Elijah was asked to leave from where he was, go and hide in the place that God wanted him to. That was the place where God provided him bread and meat using the ravens in the morning and evening and provided him water using the brook. God provided water for him while the land was having neither dew nor rain.
Elijah was able to see God’s miracles because he moved from his comfort zone (where he was born) to a place where God commanded him to. The place where God called Elijah was Kerith, and that meant “cutting” or “separation”. It probably has the meaning that God wanting Elijah to be separated from the people of Israel who were worshipping idols. This was a place where he needed to be completely dependent on God.
Coming into full-time ministry for me was a step that I took when God asked me to and I have been seeing God performing miracles in my life and in people’s lives. It is also a place where I had to depend a lot on God, because I know if I am doing things that are not from God, I will cause more harm to His people than good. It’s only when I depend on Him that I will continue to see miracles and breakthroughs in people’s lives.
Dear God, I pray that I’ll stay dependent on You in everything that I do, everyone that I meet and everything that I say to them. I pray that I’ll be prepared to step into new ground, new places, new challenges when you ask me to. To trust that You will provide for all my needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:19
Am I going to leave behind a legacy or a vacancy? When I live a life of obedience to God, God will bless the work of my hands and allow me to leave a legacy of love and obedience that will last generations. However, if I live a life that indulges in my own selfish desires and wants, then I would leave behind a vacancy (v2 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place rememebers it no more).
I need to use the life that I have to obey God, to establish His kingdom in my life, my family’s lives and the lives of the people around me. To live a life that is fully dependent on Him, so that others can do the same. I’m reminded of the verse Matt 6:33 to seek first His Kindgom and His righteousness, and all the things I need will be given to me.
“28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matt 6:28-34
1 Kings 15:16-24, 2 Chronicles 16:1-14
In his old age, Asa relied on his own wisdom to fight the war against Israel. In 2 Chronicles 16:1-14, we see how God sent the prophet Hanani to let him know that he had put his trust in humans instead of God. Yet even after this he did not turn back to God. Even when his feet became diseased he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to physicians (2 Chronicles 16:12). 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
From this verse, we see how God diligently looks for people who have decided to be committed to God, and He will strengthen those people. When Asa was fully committed to God, God sent his prophet Azariah to Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1-7) to encourage him to be strong and courageous so that he was able to completely remove the idols and called the people of Judah together to renew their covenent with God.
God has called us to be strong and courageous and be faithful to Him. Even though Asa trusted in human strength towards the end of his reigh, God still said “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life”. I believe God had strengthened him so that he did not go and worship other gods and turn away from the God. I have decided in my heart to be committed to God, and I believe God will strengthen me and help me and give me courage to follow and do His will.
1 Kings 13:11-19
It seems strange to me at first why a “man of God” would be susceptible to lies and this lie is one that contradicts what he heard from God in the first place. But if I look at my own life, there has been times where I know what is right and what is pleasing to God, and I try to do it. When non-Christians tell me to do otherwise, I would oppose them. However, when Christians tell me to do otherwise, I would be more open to them because I think they are telling me what God wants for me. Simple examples can be like attending service, 领袖召集，祷告会. Sometimes when I am tired, and fellow believers tell me it’s ok not to go, I’ll want to take their advice.
I need to discern what God wants for me. I want to live a life that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit that it is He who guides me. I want to be disciplined enough to make sure I do the things that God wants me to do and not do the things God doesn’t want me to do as well.
Dear Lord, give me a heart of discernment, to know what is pleasing to You and what is not. And give me a heart to obey You even if others around me do not.
1 Kings 12:25-33
Jeroboam started to sin because he had wrong thoughts/assumptions (v26-27) in his mind. He did not align his thoughts on what God promised him in 1 Kings 11:38 but sought to do things his way instead. Then he committed wrong actions by making the 2 golden calves and establishing them as gods , built shrines on high places and appointing non-Levites as priest. He further went on to establish wrong habits for himself and the people by instituting wrong dates for festivals. Jeroboam did all these to win the hearts of the people that he was leading so that he can continue to be king. Selfish desires will give way to wrong thoughts/assumptions which will give way to wrong actions and then wrong habits would develop because of it.
God placed His Spirit within me and has given me His Word. I need to constantly remind myself of His word and His promises to me. I want to stay constantly close to Him so that God can guide me in His ways. I want to make sure that they things that I do does not have selfish desires, so that I do not develop the wrong habits because of those actions. Pray that I will have a heart that is set apart to do His will and my actions and habits will always reflect the heart I have for Him.