Today: Psalms 78:32-39; Acts 18:9-28; Acts 19:1-13; 1 Kings 20 & 21
Psalms 78 is so US, isn’t it? We don’t believe in God’s “wondrous works;” our days are “consumed in futility” and our “years in fear.” (v.32-33) We have gotten fat and lazy in our comfortable lives and only seek God when things are difficult. We remember that God is our rock and redeemer when we need something and then we seek Him earnestly. We only flatter Him with our mouths but our hearts aren’t steadfast or faithful.
But God is “full of compassion.” (v.38) He forgives our iniquity over and over again. He turns His anger away and does not destroy us, for He knows that we are “but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.” (v.39)
God spoke to Paul in another vision in Acts 18 and encouraged him, “‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you…” (v.9)
Yesterday when Craig and I were observing Litos Ergos (our communion/prayer/worship service we observe together several times per week), God gave us a word not to be silent, but to speak out boldly for Him. How interesting that this same message is in my reading today…
God speaks to us often during Litos Ergos; I am so grateful for the messages He gives us. But every time He does this there is a little nagging voice in the back of my mind saying that God didn’t really speak to us. Maybe it was just my imagination. I am also thankful for this little nagging voice! It would be a mistake to forget that we can always get these sorts of things wrong. That little voice keeps me humbly “fact checking” everything I think are God’s messages against Scripture. It keeps me praying for confirmation.
And what do you know… surprise, surprise (not really)… in my reading today, God told Paul in a vision, almost verbatim, what we thought He told us yesterday. I had not read ahead. I had no idea this was part of today’s reading. It’s a God thing. It’s the Holy Spirit reassuring us, as He has done hundreds (maybe thousands) of times now, that He really did speak to us yesterday. He really is showing up in our Litos Ergos service as He has told us He would. He really is guiding us because we are seeking Him and committed to following wherever He leads.
I talk a lot about being led by the Holy Spirit. I wanted to show just one (of millions) of the little ways this can work. This sort of thing happens to us all the time now. When we seek God (through prayer and Scripture), and commit our hearts to following Him, He WILL guide us!
1 Kings 20-21
King Ahab was a weak king. He first tried to appease the Syrian king, Ben-Hadad. When Ben-Hadad demanded the Israelites give him their silver, gold, wives, and children, wimpy Ahab said okay! Ahab soon learned that evil cannot be appeased; it will always want more… Ben-Hadad then demanded that his servants be allowed to come in and personally ransack Ahab’s palace. Even then, Ahab only stood up to him when pushed to do so by his elders and a prophet.
In chapter 21, Ahab was “sullen and displeased” because Naboth refused to give him his vineyard that he wants for his vegetable garden. “And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.” (v.4) What a whiny king! I can just see him pouting, bottom lip stuck out, whining to Jesabel that Naboth won’t give him what he wants. waaaah….
Wicked Jezebel had no such qualms and arranged to have Naboth executed. Then Ahab, like a crying baby offered a piece of candy, wiped the tears of his face, “got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard.” (v.16) Ahab was a petulant, weak, imbecile. His wife Jezebel was pure evil.