This remarkable prophecy reminds us of the foreknowledge of God, for King Josiah of Judah was not born until nearly three hundred years after the word of the Lord had foretold it! Imagine if someone on the Mayflower had announced the exact name of a recently elected American president and had described in detail his policies and actions. Such a scenario would be similar to what happened with Josiah, for he fulfilled the prophecy concerning his life down to the smallest detail (2 Kings 23:15-16).
Our lives are not accidental, but are carefully purposed by God to bring glory to His name. We are indeed children of destiny. The Lord told Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world” (Jeremiah 1:5). Rest today in the foreknowledge of God concerning your destiny. From the beginning of time, God has had His eye upon you!
The spiritual gift of the word of knowledge enabled both Peter and Ahijah (1 Kings 14:5) to know the purpose of their household visitors. Without a direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, neither of these men would have had any idea who their guests were or why they were visiting.
The Holy Spirit knows all things and occasionally releases into our minds critical information that does not come from our own investigative powers. How miraculous it was for the blind prophet Ahijah not to be fooled by a masquerading queen! Instead, he called the queen by name and told her the reason she had come. He even gave an accurate prediction of her son’s imminent death, which came to pass exactly as he had said (1 Kings 14:12, 17).
Let us reverence the Holy Spirit’s gifts, for they are incredible tools that enable us to know both the circumstances and the motives of human hearts. Also, because He knows us as well as He knew Ahijah’s and Peter’s visitors, it would be well for us to keep our own lives pure!
Someone has called Elijah’s journey the place called there. During the three and one-half years of drought, God always directed him to go there. God commanded a widow to feed him there (1 Kings 17:9). There is an exact place where God wants us to be so He can sustain and bless us.
Peter found the place called there when he was obedient and went to the house of Cornelius. Peter, like Elijah, was instructed to go to the home of a Gentile. This was the opposite of what they had been taught in their Jewish upbringing.
The place called there may not be the place we would naturally choose. However, it is the place where there is the greatest hunger. A desperately hungry widow and a spiritually hungry centurion both received the blessing from a man of God directed to their homes. As someone once said, “Where God guides, He provides.” We must endeavor to always remain in the place called there.
The truth of this scripture was demonstrated in Elijah’s powerful confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). First, God sent the drought to draw the people into the arena of decision. Then, He sent the fire to convince them of their sin. Finally, He sent the rain to remind them of His blessing.
God is able to do “whatever pleases Him,” at whatever time it pleases Him. When God was ready to visit the Gentiles, He did whatever pleased Him! But Peter had to spend time trying to convince the Jerusalem eldership that God was the Author of the Cornelius visitation (Acts 11:4).
He is a mighty God, and His power can flow in whatever direction His love desires. Get out of the way and let God move! The result will be as it was in Acts 11:21 NIV: “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people turned and believed in the Lord.”
The One who remembers us in our times of trouble also remembered Elijah and Peter at their lowest points. Elijah was suffering from burnout after fighting the victorious battle on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 19:4), but an angel of the Lord came and strengthened him. God gave him new vision and direction for his life. Peter, also in dire straits, had an angelic visitation and was rescued from prison the night before he was to be executed.
You can learn from these examples that God remembers you in your human frailty when you are worn-out in mind, body, and spirit from the fatigue of spiritual warfare. When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Help is on the way!
God receives the greatest glory when His servants come to the end of their resources and can only look up. Ask Him to strengthen you today in your weakness, for His love truly endures forever.
Oh, the power of prophetic confrontation! Since earliest times, kings and leaders of nations have been challenged by the miracles and rebukes of anointed prophets. Ahab was shown a miraculous sign when God delivered the Arameans into his hands. Then Elijah confronted Ahab in Naboth’s vineyard as God judged him for Naboth’s murder (1 Kings 21:17). The proconsul Sergius Paulus witnessed a powerful miracle when God struck the sorcerer blind (Acts 13:11). These confrontational miracles were intended to demonstrate to those in authority that God is Lord of heaven and earth.
In Christ you have the authority to confront those in leadership with the claims of Christ. No power is greater than God, and He has given you power so you might bring the Gospel to world leaders. The same Spirit that filled Paul and blinded Elymas (Acts 13:9) is in you. Don’t be afraid, but speak boldly. God will surely back you up!
Compromise is the price a person is willing to pay to a false god. That was Jehoshaphat’s problem. In an effort to promote peace and unity, he was willing to ally himself with Ahab, a man who was vile and wicked before God (1 Kings 22:4).
People often compromise because of a desire to be socially accepted. They overlook glaring abuses of God’s Word in order to maintain relationships. Micaiah, however, refused to compromise or make even one small concession to Ahab’s false religious system. He was willing to endure physical attack and imprisonment just to maintain the witness of truth against Ahab (1 Kings 22:17, 22-24). Although confined in prison, Micaiah was safer than was Jehoshaphat, who almost lost his life in the brief battle that ensued.
Look at the end result of compromise, and settle in your mind that you owe no allegiance to the idols of this world. They and their worshipers will one day perish with the same fate as Ahab’s!
What comfort and fear it should bring to know that God is intimately acquainted with both our every move and also our every mistake! He sent Elijah to intercept the messengers of Ahaziah and to inform them of God’s verdict on his injury (2 Kings 1:4). Nothing was hidden from God’s eyes, even things intended to be kept secret. Through a revelation given by the Holy Spirit, the prophets of Jericho and Bethel discerned that Elijah would be taken to heaven on the very day that he eventually was (2 Kings 2:3, 5).
God knows your every step and misstep, and He even records your actions in His book before one of them comes to be (Psalm 139:16). Wherever you go, whatever you do today, God’s Spirit will be there, observing, helping, and protecting. Relax in His great omniscience, and walk carefully. The greatest miracle of all is that He knows you intimately and still loves you unconditionally!
God’s miracles always start with the question, What do you have? The little boy with five loaves and two fish provided the only resource for Jesus to bless and feed the five thousand. The widow who fed Elijah during the famine possessed only a little meal and a little oil as a resource. The common thread in both these miracles is that faith was mixed with a few small things offered to God.
If you have a need, you must first put something into God’s hand for Him to work with and multiply back to you. We call this seed sowing, or placing into the soil of faith some object that we “lose” in order that God may multiply it into a harvest.
Don’t wait for God to supply your need—use what you have! God asked Moses, “What do you have there in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2), and the rod became the means of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Give your resources to God, and watch Him multiply them for your deliverance!
Naaman’s young servant girl had no idea how important her little remark to his wife would be in bringing about her master’s deliverance from leprosy. God often uses the faith of others to start the cycle of healing and deliverance when a person is unable to start it for himself.
The four men who brought the paralytic to Christ and let him down through the roof were the direct agents of their friend’s healing (Mark 2:3). Perhaps you can “hold the rope” for some sick friend who has no knowledge of (or hope for) healing. Though this person may not realize the importance of believing God’s healing promises, you must remain convinced that God is the answer.
The little servant girl risked her life to confirm assuredly to Naaman’s wife that if her husband went to the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him of leprosy. This bold statement of faith started the cycle of Naaman’s deliverance and ended with his flesh becoming as clean as the flesh of a young boy.
In whose life could your faith make a difference today?
The story of the lost ax head is so descriptive of the human condition. First, the ax head was not with its rightful master. In the same way, we once belonged to God, but Satan stole us in the Garden of Eden and made us his slaves.
Second, the ax head was in the wrong place. It should have been out doing its work, but instead it was on the bottom of the Jordan in an alien environment. When we were in sin, we were completely submerged in the wrong environment—dead to God and alienated from His life.
Finally, the ax head could not save itself. The ax head had no power to change its situation; thus, it was destined to remain stuck in the mud. Only when “Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water” (2 Kings 6:6) did the ax head supernaturally begin to rise from the bottom in a physical “resurrection.” What a picture of Jesus’ death and resurrection!
No amount of personal desire or willpower can lift us from the muddy quagmire of sin if we are stuck fast in it. Only Jesus can deliver us. We then belong to God, never to return to the bottom again!
Household salvation is a promise stated throughout the Word of God. Paul told the Philippian jailer that if he gave his heart to Jesus, he and his family would be saved. That night both he and his entire family became Christians (Acts 16:34). At that moment, all their names were recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
As the children of Israel waited for judgment to fall upon their nation, they were instructed to offer a lamb for a household (Exodus 12:3). We should never stop pressing this claim of the Word of God for our families to be saved from the wrath to come.
We must daily bring our families and relatives before the Father. Noah entered the ark with his entire family. Job prayed continually for his children, in case one of them had done something to offend God. It pleases the Lord when we remind Him of our kindred relationship to our families and stand against Satan’s attempts to totally defeat them.
Place the blood of Jesus daily over the doorpost of your household. Claim today that all your household will join you in heaven and will bring you joy here on earth as well!
We are locked into a spiritual battle over areas of our lives that the enemy seeks to control, including our families, our finances, and our safety. But God gives us the strength and ability to skillfully confront and win every battle that rages against us.
David understood the principles of both spiritual and natural warfare; consequently, he fought his battles with not only the sword but also praise and worship. The results of his victory in spiritual warfare are evident in Psalm 144: blessings to his sons and daughters.
God wants to bless you, but until you learn spiritual warfare, you will live under the enemy’s curse. You may be begging and pleading with God for blessing, while all the time the thief is actually stealing your inheritance and blessings!
Begin today to praise and worship the Lord for the victory won for you at the cross and through the resurrection. Focus on your position in the heavenly (Ephesians 2:6), and demand that the devil loose your family, finances, and security. Your blessings must release. You may have to fight for a while, but the victory is assured if you persevere!
How beautifully this principle is illustrated in the lives of Joash and Paul! Little Joash, at only seven years of age, was defenseless against the ruthless Queen Athaliah. “Joash and his nurse remained hidden in the Temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land” (2 Kings 11:3). Only the Lord could have kept him from crying at the wrong moment or being seen by someone who was friendly to the queen. Athaliah finally met her death, the Lord fulfilling His promise to destroy the wicked.
Paul faced great danger from the Jews at Corinth. “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, ‘Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will harm you because many people here in this city belong to me’ ” (Acts 18:9-10). The Jews’ efforts to bring legal action against Paul ended in their being thrown out of court in one moment of time.
Satan makes you think the end is here, the worst has come, and the game is lost. Remember: It’s not over until it’s over. The Lord is watching over you!
The power of God is tangible! Elisha had been buried for an undetermined period of time when another dead man was accidentally thrown into his grave. Elisha’s bones had so much of the power of God still residing in them that they caused the dead man to resurrect. And to think, we have trouble raising the dead while we are still alive!
Paul’s body also contained great power from God. Even handkerchiefs that he had touched could be taken to the sick to bring healing (Acts 19:11-12). Obviously, Jesus carried this power, too. People could touch the hem of His garment and be completely healed.
In each of these cases, the power of God inhabited the physical world and was able to be transmitted. Why should we think it strange that God’s supernatural, miracle-working power can break into the physical world and change even the most desperate of circumstances?
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, this same power is in us. We must exercise it to minister justice to the oppressed, provide food for the hungry, and bring freedom to the captives (Psalm 146:7).
Satan’s ugly, violent acts of horror are graphically painted throughout the Old Testament. We find monarchs murdered, pregnant women mutilated, and children sacrificed in fire (2 Kings 15:16, 16:3). We see idolatry in its basest form with the establishment of demonic altars in the temple of God (2 Kings 16:10-14).
In the New Testament, we find Jewish exorcists helpless before the violent power of demon spirits. One man possessed by an evil spirit overcame the seven sons of Sceva, taunting, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?” (Acts 19:15). We see that many people in Ephesus lived under demonic oppression and practiced magic before coming to Christ (v. 19). In fact, so steeped in idolatry was Ephesus that the entire city ranted and raved against Paul and rose up to defend the honor of the false goddess Artemis (v. 27).
We cannot deny that Satan has spread his unclean message across all cultures and throughout all history. The good news is that we are not of his kingdom! We are those to whom the Lord grants peace and satisfaction.
Claim the peace of God for your life, and allow no trace of Satan’s kingdom to penetrate!
From this verse in Acts, we get “20/20 vision”! Paul reminded the Ephesian elders that his message had been consistent everywhere he had gone, both in public forums and to individuals in their own homes. He did not confine his ministry only to open, public services, but he also went into homes. This was the pattern of ministry for the early Church.
The second part of 20/20 vision was Paul’s declaration for men to turn to God in repentance and have faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:21). The message was twofold: repent and believe. This was the pattern of preaching for the early Church. When we stray from the simplicity of this message, we will not be effective in reaching a godless, confused society.
The final part of Paul’s 20/20 vision was the pattern for commitment. Knowing he was facing trouble and death in Jerusalem, he still said, “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love” (Acts 20:24). This was the pattern of sacrifice for the early Church. Christians were willing to die to reach the world with the message of salvation.
Have you checked your 20/20 vision lately?
What is it about praise that is so powerful? Why are we so strongly exhorted in so many scriptures to praise the Lord?
First, praise blesses God. When His people praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp, the Lord takes delight in them (Psalm 149:4). We bless Him when we dance, clap, rejoice, and are glad in Him. The saints should ever “rejoice in his honor” and “sing for joy as they lie on their beds” (v. 5).
Second, praise engages mighty warfare against the enemy. If it is our honor to praise the Lord, then it is our glory to put our enemies to flight through praise (v. 9). Praise has the power “to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains” (v. 8). As we praise God, the sentence upon our enemies as written in the Word of God is executed.
Never underestimate the power of praise. King Hezekiah’s simple worship and prayer brought the angel of the Lord into his situation. In one night, the angel killed 185,000 Assyrian troops, and Judah was delivered from the enemy’s hands (2 Kings 19:35).
Praise ye the Lord!
In the midst of the terrible ordeals of life, we often don’t know to whom we can turn. In 2 Kings 20, Hezekiah was facing death because a terrible sickness had attacked his body. To whom did he turn in his hour of need? The Word of God tells us that “he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord” (v. 2).
The “wall” represents the tower of the Lord. In his moment of desperate need, Hezekiah’s eyes were no longer fixed on human methods and reports. The things of the world no longer distracted his vision. Rather, he raced to safety inside the tower of the Lord.
The Lord heard his cry and instructed Isaiah to have Hezekiah’s servants apply an ointment made from figs. They obeyed his command, and Hezekiah was healed. Because he had run to God, God heard his prayer, saw his tears, and added fifteen years to his life (vv. 5-6).
The tower of the Lord is a supernatural tower. It is so strong that it can turn the sun backward ten degrees, a feat that boggles the mind when the laws of physics are considered. Leave your present fears behind and run into the tower of the Lord. It is the one place you are safe!
The Word of God is the one factor in your life that will determine your level of blessing. David wrote that the person whose delight is in the law of the Lord would find that whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:2-3).
Josiah’s life turned completely around the moment the high priest said he had located the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord. Reading the Word sparked a righteous indignation in Josiah’s spirit, and he cleansed both Judah and Israel of their false gods with a determination unsurpassed in biblical history.
Your heart may be predisposed to serving God, but hearing the Word in your heart will light the fire of conviction. If you devote your life to reading and meditating on the Word, you will remain continually opposed to sin. You will also be disposed to God and to fulfilling the destiny He has for you.
In this second half of the year, devote yourself fully to the Word of God. Read and devour it as would a hungry person, and put whatever you read into practice. When you do, the Lord promises that you will be blessed!
Jehoiachin’s life is a tremendous picture of God’s judgment and grace. His sin landed him in a dungeon for thirty-seven years; then suddenly without explanation the king sent for him and released him from prison. More favor was extended to him through kind words, a position of honor, daily food at the king’s table, and a regular allowance for the rest of his life.
In the same way, God reached down into the dark prison house of sin, and by grace He instantly released us from our sentence. He cleaned us up, spoke His love to us, and seated us “with him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). He dressed us in the finest robes of righteousness and continues to feed us each day with living bread from the table of the Word of God. Finally, He provides for all our material needs on a daily basis by promising to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).
“Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth!” (Psalm 2:10). Let us not boast of our positions, prestige, or prosperity. We are where we are because of God’s incredible grace!
Paul could identify with the psalmist, for he was surrounded by hundreds of hostile Jews who were bent on his destruction. Their plot to assassinate him seemed foolproof, except for the fact that Paul knew the Lord was the lifter of his head. In fact, God had already arranged for Paul’s nephew to hear of the plan and to be taken to inform the commander of the army of the evil plot. The commander then intervened, and the plot was foiled (Acts 23:16, 23-24).
There is a place of rest in the Lord where we do not fear the plots of the enemy. Instead, we lie down and sleep because the Lord sustains us (Psalm 3:5). We are encircled by God’s protection, and Satan cannot enter that circle without God’s permission. We can rest easy today under God’s shield, for He will not allow the plots, devices, and arrows of the devil to remain inside our circle forever.
Let us make David’s prayer our own: “Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked”
(v. 7). Whatever plot the enemy may have hatched, God has a messenger—perhaps a nephew—to foil it!
In Acts 24 Paul could not be swayed to offer a bribe to Governor Felix (v. 26). He kept his conscience clear before both God and man. Consequently, he was able to reason with Felix concerning “righteousness and self-control and the judgment to come” (v. 25).
Our primary witness to the lost comes from who we are, not just what we say. Felix believed that any man could be bought for a price and that Paul’s words would eventually yield to his lusts. He found in Paul, however, a man genuinely concerned about the governor’s soul—a man who was totally unmoved by materialism. Paul had discovered that “the Lord has set apart the godly for himself” (Psalm 4:3). Because of Paul’s integrity, nothing could penetrate his shield of protection.
Be careful of your witness, as well as your words, in front of those you seek to influence. Satan will try to negate your witness by your works. One false move and all that you say will be meaningless. If you are going to preach about the judgment to come, live as though you are ready for the judgment. Then your witness will be powerful.
The prayer of Jabez is a cry for deliverance from a life of pain. The name Jabez means “distress,” or “pain,” and accordingly, from the day of his birth, Jabez endured much pain.
Satan seeks to afflict those who are honorable with pain and sorrow in order to destroy their effectiveness. Jabez prayed for God to turn the devil’s curse into blessing and his own limitations into enlargement. Our prayers, too, should be for God to enlarge our territory just as He did for Jabez, who had been through such pain and sorrow. We want to be enlarged, not for personal pride and pleasure, but to reach into the regions beyond with the Gospel.
Jabez also prayed that God would keep him from harm so he could be delivered from a life of pain, sorrow, and distraction. And God granted his request!
Why not pray today for God to reverse the curse and break the limitations you have faced, perhaps even from birth? He will spread His protection over you (Psalm 5:11) and surround you with favor as with a shield (v. 12)!
God helped the Reubenites, Gadites, and men of Manasseh when they waged war because they pleaded for His help in the midst of the battle. He answered their prayers “because they trusted in him.”
In spiritual warfare you must remember two things. First, you need to pray constantly while the battle is raging. Assemble a group who will commit to pray continually until the battle turns and the victory is won. Second, remember that the Lord is fighting against the enemy (1 Chronicles 5:22). Recognize that it is really not your battle, but the Lord’s.
God and Satan are irreconcilable enemies, and God is as interested in your victory as you are. When you realize that God is actually fighting your battle, you will say to the enemy as David did to Goliath, “The Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. The Lord will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47).
Many times you lose spiritual battles when you start complaining, whining, and muttering about your defeat. “Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life” (Proverbs 18:21). Guard your tongue, and every day proclaim, “The battle is the Lord’s.” He will not let you be defeated!
How easily we can be blown off course from the will of God by listening to advice from others instead of listening to a word from the Lord! Paul tried to convince the centurion that he had heard from God concerning great danger to the ship if they set sail from Fair Havens. Nevertheless, the centurion followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship (Acts 27:11).
Someone once said, “We don’t need good advice. We need a word from the Lord!” God does not need decision makers—He needs hearers. In every circumstance, He has a planned way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), if we will take the time to listen to Him. The pilot and ship’s owner thought they had made the right decision “when a light wind began blowing from the south” (Acts 27:13). How quickly, however, did the dreamy breeze turn into a nightmare storm!
Do not try to discern the right direction with your natural mind, but wait upon the Lord and listen to His counsel. In the end, you will save yourself much heartache, for “the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21). If you follow His counsel, you will discover that God is your shield, “saving those whose hearts are true and right” (Psalm 7:10).
Purpose can make a huge difference in a person’s life. The crew of Paul’s ship had given up all hope of being saved (Acts 27:20) after being relentlessly tossed in a mighty storm for two weeks. Still Paul was not moved. He knew he had a purpose to fulfill, for an angel had spoken to him, telling him that he would “surely stand trial before Caesar” (v. 24). Believing that nothing could defeat what God had determined, Paul encouraged everyone around him that all would be well.
When the circumstances of life fail to line up with your expectations, you can feel trapped, and the world becomes a hopeless place. God, however, has a plan for you, and when you find His purpose for your life, adverse circumstances become meaningless. No matter the difficulty, Satan cannot destroy you before you fulfill your purpose.
In Acts 27:28, when all hope seemed gone, suddenly a slight change appeared: the depth of the water lessened. As you cling to your purpose and God’s promise, suddenly the battle will begin to turn. It may seem almost imperceptible at first, but nothing will stop God from fulfilling His purposes.
That’s exactly what David experienced. After all the years of his trials with Saul, the day finally came when God removed Saul from the scene and “turned his kingdom over to David son of Jesse” (1 Chronicles 10:14).
Keep sailing. God is not finished with you yet!
David’s army was awesome. Some of his men were ambidextrous, so skilled and versatile that they could shoot arrows or sling stones with either hand. One was so powerful that he snatched a spear from an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall and killed him with his own spear (1 Chronicles 11:23). Others “were expert with both shield and spear, as fierce as lions and as swift as deer on the mountains” (12:8).
The common thread running throughout David’s army was courage. Not one was fearful, hesitant, or puny. All were talented, resolute, and aggressive. They worked with precision, totally destroying the enemies of God with an awesome unity of spirit.
Paul, too, showed courage. He was so brave that he simply “shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed” (Acts 28:5). The islanders kept waiting for him to collapse, but he just kept right on going.
The day of weak and cowardly soldiers is over! The world is watching your courage in adversity. Quit taking your spiritual temperature all the time, and step into your mighty position in God. You are in His awesome army!
God wants you to “break through” in every difficult situation you face! David faced his first and greatest challenge from the Philistines immediately after he was anointed king. David asked God if he should go out and fight the Philistines, and God instructed him to attack, assuring David that He would give him the victory. Desiring to honor God for answering his prayers, David renamed the area of battle so that everyone who came there in the future would know of God’s goodness to him in that place. It was known as the place of breakthrough.
David referred to the battle in terms of the innate power that water has to break through any resistance. A flood of waters is an awesome force. It can break down dams, dikes, and walls, even moving rocks as it overwhelms everything in its path. Even more mighty is God’s power, a force so great that it sweeps away any barrier the enemy tries to erect against us.
Not only is God powerful in giving the breakthrough, but He is also strategic. In the second battle against the Philistines (1 Chronicles 14:14), God told David to encircle them and launch a surprise attack. David obeyed and broke through to victory again. Here we see that God is infinitely more powerful than the devil—and smarter!
Wait upon God for His strategy, and move at His command. Believe today that His power and His wisdom will give you a breakthrough, for He is Lord of the Breakthrough!
Humanism tells us, “I’m okay . . . you’re okay” and says that salvation is little more than a contribution to one’s own personal happiness. As Christians, however, we know that without the salvation purchased by Jesus’ blood, humanity is hopeless.
Nowhere is the wickedness of humanity described in more graphic detail than in Romans 1 and Psalm 10. Paul begins Romans with a thorough description of the wickedness of humankind, coupled with a justification for the wrath of God. He continues with a description of how people have rejected the truth of God because of pride (Romans 1:21) and how such rejection has caused their minds to concoct unspeakable evils, such as idolatry and sodomy (v. 27). In Psalm 10:7, David describes the wickedness of people’s motives and speech, which leads to abuses of power in their relationships with their fellow man.
Before we can ever get people saved, we must get them lost. Who among us does not see within himself the awful fruits of rebellion these chapters describe? Let us thank God today that He is willing to forgive our past and to accept us as His very own children. We should be so grateful that we would never entertain the thought of turning our backs on Him.
God’s kindness leads to repentance. We once were lost, irretrievable sinners, but when we realize that God still loves us enough to forgive us in Christ, it will break our wills and cause us to cry out to Him for mercy.
David was so overwhelmed by God’s kindness in promising to bless his future household that he exclaimed, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving me a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God” (1 Chronicles 17:16-17). Such honor and kindness from God made David a humble, not proud, man.
Paul demolished the idea that God’s goodness grants a person self-righteousness. The Jews he so often preached to felt this way when comparing themselves to the Gentiles (Romans 2). We must never fail to remember that we are no better than anyone else, and if not for the kindness of God, we would be just like everyone else!
Be humbled today over the fact that, in His kindness, God has forgiven you. Never let that forgiveness be perverted into an attitude of superiority. Stay repentant and ever grateful that He has transformed your life. This continual gratitude and repentance will keep you from pride and religious arrogance from now until you see Him face-to-face!