2 Chronicles 17-18 B

This story kinda makes me laugh, because Ahab thinks he can trick, or ignore, the LORD.

First, he surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear, even if he knows it’s not true. This is unhelpful.

Second, he mistreats the person who does speak the truth. This is unproductive.

Third, he takes the unfavorable news and hatches a plan to evade it, as if the news had come from another place besides the throne room of the LORD. This is foolishness.

In the end, a stray arrow happens to find a small chink in his armor. What are the odds? Maybe a billion to one, but the LORD doesn’t need good odds. He’s gonna do what He’s gonna do. There’s no escaping that.

So who do we think we are do the same? When we surround ourselves with people who don’t challenge us? When we attack people trying to tell us the truth? When we think we can create our own back-up-plan/safety-nets to disobeying the LORD? It’s unhelpful, unproductive, foolish, and sometimes, yeah, fatal.

“But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?’” (18:6)

There’s a way to find the wisdom of the LORD. Are we looking for it?

-Bethany

2 Chronicles 13-14 B

“Now behold, God is with us at our head and His priests with the signal trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you will not succeed.” (13:12‬)

“Thus the sons of Israel were subdued at that time, and the sons of Judah conquered because they trusted in the LORD, the God of their fathers.” (13:18‬)

A civil war between the chosen peoples of God. If the matter of being chosen had solely to do with bloodlines, this would be an impossible battle to call. Isn’t the LORD bound by His covenant to Abraham for both sides?

No. Never. As the unfolding of later years would continue to demonstrate, the favor of the LORD doesn’t have to do with being born in the right family, it’s about faith.

The Northern Kingdom had replaced the LORD with golden calves, perhaps to represent an idea of Him, but generally because they no longer had political access to the temple for proper worship. While the armies of Judah were out-numbered and out-maneuvered, the LORD responded to their cries and gave them victory.

It can be all too easy to curate a sense of safety and stability based on resources, good odds, strategies and perhaps even familial legacy. But when push comes to shove, we find out how much of that is sinking sand.

The LORD is the only firm foundation, the only One worthy of full trust; able to bear the weight of life. History has taught us the this faith applies to all peoples. It’s not about being born Jewish. It’s not about being born anything, it’s about knowing and trusting the LORD, Creator God.

There’s plenty of faulty things to put our faith in. What are the things you find yourself tempted to have faith in more than the LORD? Do you find yourself feeling He owes it to you to be on “your side” because of some history? Ask Him about that today.

-Bethany

2 Chronicles 9-10 B

The next time someone asks me, “if you could time travel to any era of history where and when would you go?” I need to remember my answer is this moment when Solomon gets a visit from the Queen of Sheba.

I can kind of imagine it, thanks to a combination of Hollywood magic and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But I want to see what all the wealth of the world looks like.

With spices and animals coming in from all the far reaches of the planet, what were they eating? Fusion Korean tacos? With all the best the nations had to offer in one place, what is built? An excess of everything.

I found this list of the estimated 20 wealthiest people in history (Solomon ranks number 5). Extreme wealth is a strange thing. A lot of the guys on this list were not nice, but many others were generous. It’s impossible to blanket statement wealthy people, besides to say, they do have a lot of power.

Today, I feel wealthy because I know a lot of people. Somehow I’ve met some of the best people the modern world has to offer. I feel I’ve collected, or absorbed, as much as I can from around the world–my favorite things it has to offer–and I am fortunate enough to be full of diverse experience and friendships (also tacos and shawarma).

Variety has always been the spice of my life. This was my favorite thing about growing up in the melting pot that is the United States. No matter where I am, I hope I can be generous with the wealth I possess. We all have our best to share, and it’s lovely to see all the unique varieties.

Thank God He has given us glimpses of where wisdom can lead, and that we have the histories and writings of Solomon. We know all good things come from His hand.

How will we “share the wealth” today?

-Bethany

2 Chronicles 5-6 B

“He said, ‘O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart;’” (6:14)

Every day I am thankful for this. There is no power on earth, no person or force, that compares to the LORD, or carries His beautiful attributes. Israel was so fortunate to be chosen to know Him. To be sure, any of us who have sought to know Him are blessed.

The Creator God, whom Solomon makes sure to mention doesn’t need this house, is full of loving kindness. What an incredible truth. His patience endures. It is how anyone has made it this long.

The world and church history is bleak and confusing, but He remains perfectly stunning, brilliantly beautiful. One of my favorite lyrics from a song (I’m sure I’ve quoted it here before) is by The Waiting:

Your glory, LORD, is still a burning light, a light that all our faithless hands could never dim.

He remains faithful when we are faithless. Look at all the situations in which Solomon pleads for the LORD to answer prayers. The ways in which we humans can screw up are endless. Please answer us when we call, anyway, LORD. Based on Yourself and not us.

Things change so quickly in our world. I love how steadfast the LORD is. He never changes, and that’s great news, because He’s unlike any other: perfect.

-Bethany

2 Chronicles 1-2 B

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” (1:10)

The thing about this move that’s truly amazing, is

  • Solomon sees His reign over Israel as a task bigger than himself
  • He admits His dependence on the LORD to do it well
  • He wants to do it well for the glory of the LORD, who was with his father

We all have been entrusted with something from the LORD. Our time, relationships, talents, positions, etc. How seriously do we take these tasks? Do we see their size and significance? Do we walk in it humbly, knowing we need the LORD? Do we want the summation of our lives to glorify the LORD?

What has the LORD given you? When was the last time you asked for wisdom? How can you make a habit of presenting your time, relationships, talents and positions to the LORD; requesting His wisdom?

He loves to answer the prayers of the humble.

-Bethany

1 Chronicles 26-27 B

I really enjoyed Carly’s thoughts on this last time.

Chronicles, at once, covers much more and much less than I would expect from a book of the Bible. For many generations, I could imagine it being a thrill for a family member to spot their great (to the nth) grandfather’s name and trade in these pages. “You see son, we are (insert occupation here) people.”

In this way, Chronicles remains an identity document. More job titles are listed than I would assume necessary, but that’s because I’m from a culture obsessed with status, which doesn’t value every trade.

The truth is, all jobs are important and we need people for all of them. It’s very beautiful to think of how the LORD gave us different skills and gifts. What a glorious work of art we are as a collective group!

Maybe you’re still trying to find your place in the story, but don’t get tripped up with comparisons or status. The best we can all do is live the life we’re allotted to the glory of God, which is designed to edify the whole.

-Bethany

1 Chronicles 22-23 B

“David said, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore now I will make preparation for it.’ So David made ample preparations before his death.” (22:5)

This could at once be an object lesson for parenting, or also a challenge to us all about how to set up the next generation for success.

So often I hear people quake with fear at the thought of what the world will look like in the next fifty years. Some people are afraid to even have kids, thinking the future looks so bleak!

Here’s the thing. Life does go on, and just because those in charge now won’t be in charge later (thank God, actually) it doesn’t necessarily mean things have to get worse.

Solomon outshined his father in many ways. His days were much more The Golden Age of Israel. He was a king in peace. He was immeasurably wealthy and expanded Israel to its broadest borders.

It takes a lot of humility (and faith) to image the next generation doing better than us. God is still powerfully enthroned and anything is possible.

So why the anxiety? Maybe we’re tracking trends, but isn’t history more cyclical than a steady descent into oblivion?

  • What has the Lord put on your heart?
  • How can you inspire the next generation to take this dream further than you can in your lifetime?
  • What would it looks like to prepare?
  • What resources can you gather to pass on?

Maybe you need to go further back. Ask the LORD for hope and vision for the future. All of us frantically running around like Henny Penny isn’t helping. We need to be hopeful for the coming century.

Pray for young leaders to rise up. Pray for creative solutions and peace. Pray for a generation who can worship and serve the LORD better than we did.

-Bethany