2 Kings 17:1-18:12; Acts 20:1-38; Psalm 148:1-14; Proverbs 18:6-7
Today as I sat down in the quiet of afternoon nap time (oh, how I love thee, afternoon nap time!), I opened my One Year Bible and began to read. As I read the first few verses, I stopped reading and thought to myself, “Did I read this already? Am I a day ahead somehow?” But, no, I am on the right day. It’s just case after case after case of the same bad news for Judah and Israel – “He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD…” (2 Ki. 17:2). Have you lost hope that the kings would ever get it right? As I read the history of Israel and Judah, I find myself wondering how a king would even know how to do right, given all the bad examples before him. In fact, Scripture itself says this: “But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God” (vs. 14).
But then…Hezekiah. “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD,” and not just a little – “according to all that David his father had done….He trusted in the LORD the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him” (2 Ki. 18:3, 5). What a blessing to his people King Hezekiah was, bringing prosperity with him and blessing on the land. What a breath of fresh air; what a wonderful change of pace. I’m afraid to read tomorrow’s passage, for fear that we’ll go back to the same old story! But that’s the way of human nature, right? Three steps forward, two steps back? (Or maybe ten steps back, if you’re Israel.) Still, it’s okay to be encouraged today.
And in our own lives, it’s okay to be encouraged and feel excited when we see progress in our walk with the LORD. We won’t get it perfect, either. Like the Israelites and their kings, we will sometimes blow it. I think we’re all pretty well aware of the ways we fail. But do we celebrate and praise God for the ways we succeed? For the times when we are able to hold our tongue and we do put someone else’s needs ahead of ourselves? Are we present and engaged in those times as well? I hope so. God wants to rejoice with us, in our growth and victory, just as he wants to walk with us through the times we disobey and need discipline.
Speaking of blowing it – did you take in the power punches of today’s proverbs? “A fool’s lips walk into a fight and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul” (Pr. 18:6-7). No mincing words there. Our mouths are a powerful thing and, left to their own devices, our lips can bring us into great trouble. I know I’ve written before on this subject (are you trying to tell me something, God? Is there a reason that my day to blog always has something about our words? Hmmm…) and it’s made all the clearer in this passage. We need to continually guard our mouths, as they have the greatest potential to bring us to ruin. Better to be silent than like the fool who is led into a fight!
(PS – Happy Birthday to my fellow blogger and WONDERFUL mother, Nell Sunukjian!)
- Esther McCurry
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