"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy... being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus."
Glory! Yea! He is working in all of us- keep pressing on, dear ones!
Have you read 2Kings lately? Love "Kings".... This is the history of the people of God. They are God's children (supposed to be holy and set apart, remember?). The Israelites are divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. (Remember Jesus is called "Lion of Judah"?) Now, both kingdoms have kings who rule, and 1Kings and 2Kings is about the people and the rulers of this time period. This takes place after King David.
What always amazes me about the people is that they continuously turn to other gods and idols to worship. Remember what God gave them as their first commandment to follow?
"You shall no other gods besides me." And then, "Do not make and worship idols." They serve Almighty God! But, they continue to turn to other gods.
When I taught 6th grade, we studied mythology- Roman, Greek, and Egyptian. We see Roman idol worship throughout the New Testament . Egyptian mythology is during Old Testament times. These people believed if they worshipped and paid homage to each individual god, the god would do something for them. There were gods for fertility, for the "afterlife", for success in war. When the Israelites turned to these "gods," hey thought the gods would help them in some way- with the harvest, fertility, or warfare success. Just to get an idea of how evil these practices were, "Adrammelech" and "Anammelech", gods of the neighboring people, required human sacrifice-their children!
So, the question always is, why do God's people continously turn away from God? And, how does that relate to me today?
Before we go there, let's take a look at 2Kings 17. This is what is happening in the Kingdom of Israel. "They worshipped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced." They look around and they start thinking, "Hey, maybe that will work for us!" They see the "world" around them trying things, and it seems to be working. They have harvests, they are doing OK. Nevermind that the Lord had driven them out years before! Nevermind that God had given the Israelites supernatural victory over them! They start to wonder if there are "better" ways of doing things.
"The Israelites SECRETLY did things against the Lord their God that were not right."
First of all, we can never do things in secret- God always knows! God knows the secret things! Secondly, if we are doing something in secret, then we know, deep down, it is wrong. We want to keep our sins in the darkness! But, Psalm 139 says, "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You."
How many times do we think we are doing things "secretly", somehow getting away with it? But, it is not secret from God!
So "they worshiped idols, even though the LORD said, 'You shall not do this'." God is so good, though! His heart cries out for us. He doesn't want us to go down these paths that lead to destruction. So, God sent prophets to warn the people to turn from their idols and worship only the LORD. But, the Bible says they were "stiff-necked and would not listen." Oh, God! How many times I am "stiff-necked" and won't listen despite Your warnings?! I go along my own way, thinking I know best, looking to the "world" to help me!
Now listen to this! They "did not trust in the LORD their God."
Well, there it is! It boils down to TRUST. Are we going to trust in the LORD our God, even when times are tough, or are we going to seek other ways to "bail us out?" You see, I get impatient or wonder if God's watch is broken! I don't like His timing! Or, life becomes uncomfortable and I turn to idols to comfort me...... a bit of chocolate.....a glass of wine....facebook....a shopping spree.....a TV show....
But, God tells me to wait! Wait for Him.....look to Him....trust Him...turn to Him.
It is a matter of faith! Am I going to trust in the One who alone is trustworthy, or am I going to trust in the ideas of the world around me?
Well, Sisters, my prayer for you today is that You will "trust in the Lord with all of your heart. I pray you will NOT lean upon your own understanding (we think we are so smart at times and then we find ourselves turning to idols), but acknowledge Him in ALL of your ways, and then- THEN (HERE IS THE PROMISE!) HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT, HE WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS."
Father, we give You all the glory! Thank You for Your patience!
Mother Theresa said, "I know God will only give me what He knows I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!"