2 Chronicles 13-14

“Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!’ ” 14:11

Asa did what was good and pleasing in the sight of the Lord and tore down pagan shrines and idols (14:2). God granted him rest from his enemies as he directed the people to seek after Him. 

The Lord came to Asa’s rescue and helped him defeat his enemies in his time of need. As I read this, I wondered what motivated Asa into obedience and reverence to the God of Israel. 

Did he fully submit to him and understand his power? 

Or did he look back on the history of God’s people and then perform his best, godly behavior to receive God’s military favor?  
What motivates my behavior? 

Do I follow God because I love him, revere him and trust him? Or am I eyeing him as an ally and just trying to fall in line? 

Eh, sometimes both. I think a good, healthy understanding of God’s authority and power over things is appropriate. But I also love, respect and trust him. I’m praying my actions and life reflect that well. 

Asa took out the things in his path that offended God. He submitted to him. And, he looked to him and cried out when he needed help. 

If you were to weigh out your relationship with God, where is your motivation coming from? Fear, or love? 
-Carly 

2 Chronicles 11-12

Even though Chronicles doesn’t say Solomon ended his career as king poorly, you can see in these chapters how things were poised and ready to slide out of control. 

Why is it so easy to abandon the Lord for worthless things? How does He have patience for us? I hardly have patience for myself. 

And here again, in 12:6-7, the LORD relents from calamity because they humbled themselves in the 11th hour. Why do we always have to wait for the 11th hour to humble ourselves?! I’m sure the cities Shishak captured before getting to Jerusalem would have appreciated a speedier repentance. 

People are incredibly self destructive, but God is infinitely more gracious. Oh Praise Him!! So how can I be the love of God to people? By continuing in graciousness with my self destructive friends (as well as myself). By moving in the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gooodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control instead of the flesh. 

The Holy Spirit is the sources of everything and I need to remember to come to Him as such, many times a day. Otherwise, I’m just lost, and prone to self destruct.

LORD, guard us and lead us. Thank you for your Spirit, who works within us and teaches us how to live and love as you intended. Give us Your grace for one another. We need You.

-Bethany 

2 Chronicles 9-10 

Chapter 9 wraps up the reign of Solomon and we read on as his son, Rehoboam, takes the throne. 

And, alas, this does not go well. 

“But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers.” 10:8

The text speaks for itself in this chapter: seek after the advice of the honest, godly and experienced. The older men offered Rehoboam a solution that required him to show humility. He instead chose to flex his power and intimidate his people. 

I’m so thankful Jesus doesn’t lead this way. He never, ever, threatens, shames or oppresses us. Instead he’s patient. Loving. Gently coaxes us to trust him, forgives us, meets us where we are and fiercely defends the oppressed. What a great and perfect leader we have in him. 

How are you leading? Whose advice do you seek? Do you choose humility or pride? 

Let’s give praise to Jesus today for being our perfect King! 
-Carly 

2 Chronicles 7-8

“When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.” (7:11-12)

After a massive 3 week dedication celebration in front of the entire nation, Solomon goes home and God meets him, one on one. I cherish this about the LORD. Not only is He powerfully in our corporate midst, but He is also incredibly personal. He meets with Solomon, even though he’s not a priest. 

He gives Solomon insight into what to do when things go wrong, when they’re not relishing in a magic moment, happily headed home:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (7:14)

Healing follows humility; being honest with ourselves, and God, about the rabbit hole we’ve fallen down, the things we get carried away with, the good things that become idols. Sometimes it’s hard to see, and often times it’s even harder to admit. 

As an American, I feel I always need to watch myself with the idols of safety, security and comfort. These are good things, but if they become the bosses of my life, making decisions for me, they’ve got to be recognized and thrown out for what they are: idols. 

Idolatry doesn’t have to be outright. Behind every god in Canaan was the “promise” of something every human desires: food (rainfall in the right times for a good harvest), family (stability, sex and fertility), and favor (success and victory over enemies). Of course God promised to provide those things, if they remained faithful to Him, but doing things the way “everyone else does” starts to make the most sense after awhile. 

So God, knowing the tendency of man, tells Solomon what to do when people start wondering why it’s not raining: Humble yourselves, be prepared to be wrong. Look at me, admit you’ve been looking elsewhere, and give it up. Pretty simple. He does all the heavy lifting after that.

I am thankful for the closeness of God, even after everyone goes home and I’m alone. I’m thankful for the grace of God, who lets me start over after I’ve made a mistake. I’m thankful for the power of God, who is able and ready to heal an entire nation. He’s amazing, right? 

-Bethany 

2 Chronicles 5-6

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.” (5:14a)

Amen to that. I love how Solomon gives praise to God after His holy presence fills the Temple. 

“But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” (7:18-21)

It is unimaginable when you think about it, God dwelling here on earth with us. It’s an easy thing to take for granted. Notice how Solomon asks for God hear him, to watch over the Temple and to answer his people. I read this and think, duh! It’s the Temple. Of course his presence will be there and he’ll watch over it. Luckily, Solomon takes a more humble approach.

My dad has always prayed over things. When our family got a new car, he prayed over it for safety. Before we left on a trip, we prayed. Recently he visited my new home and nervously eyeing our steep staircase, he asked if we had prayed over it yet. He invites God into things and petitions for his presence. It was always an example to me not to take for granted that God is with us, but to thank him and petition for it. 

Do you have a big project on your hands?  A new ministry emerging? A new job? A member of the family being added? Remember to dedicate it to the Lord. Invite him to watch over it and to hear from you. “Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” 

Let’s be people like Solomon, eager for God to be involved in our work with him. 

-Carly 

2 Chronicles 3-4

“Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.” (3:1)

The same place the Lord halted His wrath and made the angel sheath his weapon is the place the temple would be built. The Holy of Holies, separated from mankind by a curtain which would be torn from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus’ death. The wrath of God turned away from His people again, at the cost of a descendent of David.

The Word of God is beautiful. He became human and dwelt among us. We have seen His glory. The grace and mercy of God is marvelous. 

On all accounts, we deserve destruction. The world is a beautiful place, but mankind has done some horrendous things. Watching the news is very disheartening. Many times over it would have been reasonable for God to wipe us all out, but He doesn’t. He lures us to Himself and transforms us, slowly but surely. He builds His church among us. It may not be overlaid with gold anymore, but it is still precious. Paul tells us to use our gifts to build up His church. 

Where did you meet the grace and mercy of God? How can you build up His church today? 

-Bethany 

2 Chronicles 1-2

Solomon is off to a great start. Here’s a great outline on how to respond when you step into leadership or a position of godly authority: 

1. Drop everything and worship God. Solomon gathers up all the leaders of Israel and sets the tone: we will worship. 

2. Consult Him. (1:6) 

3. Ask for wisdom. Can you imagine this? Solomon has the ultimate Magic Genie situation and the only thing he asks for is to lead his people well. He is taking his role seriously, humbling himself and reaching out for help to the ultimate Helper. 

God love, love, loves humility and despises pride. It is easy to get carried away with yourself when you’ve been put in a special or powerful position. Let’s not forget that it is God who puts people into authority (Romans 13:1), and no one is wiser or more powerful than him. 

Has God given you authority somewhere? How are you leading? We have the ultimate mentor! Consult with him. 
-Carly