Bible in 365 Days – Day 163

DAY 163.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Kings 20:23-43
  • 1 Kings 21
  • 1 Kings 22:1-9
  • 2 Chronicles 18:1-8

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

1 Kings 20:23-25 NLT

After their defeat, Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains. Only this time replace the kings with field commanders! Recruit another army like the one you lost. Give us the same number of horses, chariots, and men, and we will fight against them on the plains. There’s no doubt that we will beat them.” So King Ben-hadad did as they suggested.

 

THE REACTION

1 Kings 20:26-28 NLT

The following spring he called up the Aramean army and marched out against Israel, this time at Aphek. Israel then mustered its army, set up supply lines, and marched out for battle. But the Israelite army looked like two little flocks of goats in comparison to the vast Aramean forces that filled the countryside!

Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: The Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Observation (s):

  1. Ben-hadad’s officers placed limits on God, believing He was like their gods, designated to operate and demonstrate His power in only one sphere.

    After their defeat, Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won.  But we can beat them easily on the plains.

  2. In the face of the Arameans’ preparation for a fight in the hills, the Israelite army seemed small and inconsequential.

    Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: The Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

  3. God utilized the Arameans’ misconceptions as a prime teaching moment for the Israelites. He proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He had no limits and that a large army could not defeat Him.

    Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: The Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Application:

Worshippers of gods tend to believe that each god has power over a specific domain. For example: Hades is the death and the underworld. Venus is the goddess of love and fertility and Neptune is the god of the seas. Greek mythology tells the story of Persephone who was stolen from her mother, Demeter, the goddess of fertility and harvest. When Demeter learns that Hades, the god of the underworld was responsible for stealing her daughter, she could do nothing beyond wrecking havoc on the domain under her control (the earth – creating various season) while relying on the decree of Zeus, her husband, as to how the matter would be resolved. She became a prime example of an earthly god who was restricted and could only impact the domain that she had dominion over.

Who do you believe God is? What do you believe that God is capable of? Are you like Ben-hadad’s officers who believe that God was like the earthly gods, restricted to one domain? Our God has no limits. He is not restricted to a particular domain, only able to come to your aide under a specific circumstance. He is fully functional in any season and within any geographic conditions. If you trusted Him to fight for you in the hills, trust Him to fight for you in the plains.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 162

DAY 162.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Kings 17:8-24
  • 1 Kings 18-19
  • 1 Kings 20:1-22

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

1 Kings 19:14 NLT

He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

 

THE REACTION

1 Kings 19:15-18 NLT

Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimsh to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

Observation (s):

  1. Elijah, in his continued persecution, began to feel like he was the only one left who was faithful to God.

    He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

  2. God set in motion a plan that would handle all of Elijah’s enemies and provided Elijah with a protege, to help him carry the weight.

    Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimsh to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 

  3. God also reminded him that he was not the only one in Israel who was still faithful to Him.

    Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

     

Application:

Have you ever been in a situation where it felt like you were the only who “got it!” Like you were the only one who was enlightened or following a certain path. For me, moments like these occurred in high school. Being the only Apostolic among my mostly Christian friends was a lonely journey. Oftentimes they could not understand why I only wore skirts or why I couldn’t hang out at the movies with them. Like Elijah, I felt like I was the only one left in my school. This perception changed, when God showed me that there were many others of the Apostolic faith in my school. I was not the only one!

Growing into adulthood, I experienced similar situations. I came into contact with people who mocked my beliefs or sought to change me into what they perceived as “better”. I was even mocked by Christians of different denominations. I grew weary of fending off these incidents and often questioned God as to why I was the only one experiencing these behaviours. Again, He took the time to slowly surround me with people of a similar belief system who also shared their similar experiences. I felt heartened.

Sometimes it will feel like you are the only one left who is standing for God and bearing the cross of that stance. Don’t let your fear play tricks on your mind. Take heart! You are not the only one left who is faithful to God.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 161

DAY 161.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Kings 15:16-22
  • 2 Chronicles 16:1-10
  • 1 Kings 16
  • 1 Kings 15:23-24
  • 2 Chronicles 16:11-14
  • 2 Chronicles 17
  • 1 Kings 17:1-7

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

2 Chronicles 16:1-4 NLT

In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah.

Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message:

“Let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.”

Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all the store cities in Naphtali.

 

THE REACTION

2 Chronicles 16:7-9 NLT

At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

Observation (s):

  1. Asa’s first reaction was to rely upon himself to get his nation out of trouble.

    In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah.

    Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message:

    “Let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.”

  2. Through Asa’s self-reliance he got his immediate desired result.

    Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all the store cities in Naphtali.

  3. Asa’s self-reliance made him a fool. It cost him the opportunity to fully conquer his two enemies. This was an opportunity that God-reliance would have given him.

    At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

     

Application:

We posit the myth of self-reliance with pride. For many of us, our first instinct, in the midst of trouble or as go-getters, is to rely upon ourselves. Only after we have tried self-orchestrated Plans A-Z do some of us decide to rely on God.

Here is what happens when you don’t rely on God, from the outset. Saul was deemed foolish when he took matters into his own hands and failed to wait on Samuel, God’s representative. Asa was labelled a fool when he sought to help himself by allying with his enemy instead of appealing to God. Are you a fool? Do you keep trying to do the things you are appointed to do without the anointing or backing of God? Saul lost God’s anointing, his appointment and the establishment of his lineage because of his foolishness. Asa lost the opportunity to fully conquer not one but two of his enemies (King Baasha of Israel and King Ben-hadad of Aram) because he was a fool who chose to rely upon himself. What have you lost or are on the verge of losing because you have chosen to not rely on God and have sought to accomplish your appointment and purpose by yourself?

Don’t be a fool! Rely on God not yourself.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 160

DAY 160.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Kings 13
  • 1 Kings 14:1-24
  • 2 Chronicles 12:13-14
  • 2 Chronicles 11:18-23
  • 2 Chronicles 12:1-12
  • 1 Kings 14:25-28
  • 2 Chronicles 12:13-16
  • 1 Kings 14:29-31
  • 1 Kings 15:1-5
  • 2 Chronicles 13
  • 1 Kings 15:6-8
  • 2 Chronicles 14:1-8
  • 1 Kings 15:9-15
  • 1 Kings 14:19-20
  • 1 Kings 15:25-34
  • 2 Chronicles 14:9-15
  • 2 Chronicles 15

 

Standout Verse(s):

2 Chronicles 12:1 NLT

But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Rehoboam was a spiritual freeloader who used God to accomplish the desires of his heart.

    But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

  2. When Rehoboam accomplished all he needed, he abandoned God, leading God’s people astray.

    But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

     

Application:

We frown upon people we label as opportunists, parasites or freeloaders. These are persons who takes advantage of others, using their resources and departing when they have everything they wanted, and some. Although we don’t often given it much thought, there are many of us who behave in such a way towards God.

A prime example of a spiritual freeloader was Rehoboam. Rehoboam cleaved to God until he was well established and his kingdom was strong. When he got what he wanted, from God, he turned his back on God and led God’s people astray.

Are you a spiritual freeloader? Do you take advantage of God’s kind nature, seeking Him because of what He can do for you? Do you use God only to accomplish the desires of your heart? Do you urgently seek God for His grace when you have nothing but depart from His presence the minute you have been established? Your behaviour counts both when you have nothing and when you have everything.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 159

DAY 159.png

Focus Chapters:

  • Ecclesiastes 11:7-10
  • Ecclesiastes 12
  • 1 Kings 12:1-20
  • 2 Chronicles 10
  • 1 Kings 12:21-24
  • 2 Chronicles 11:1-4
  • 1 Kings 12:25-33
  • 2 Chronicles 11:5-17

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

2 Chronicles 11:15 NLT

Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the pagan shrines, where they worshiped the goat and calf idols he had made.

 

THE REACTION

2 Chronicles 11:14, 16 NLT

The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons would not allow them to serve the Lord as priests.

From all the tribes of Israel, those who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Jeroboam took a stance that went against what God had ordained, bringing idolatry into Israel.

    Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the pagan shrines, where they worshiped the goat and calf idols he had made.

  2. The Levites, Jeroboam’s subjects, sided with what was ordained by God and left behind all they owned to be in a place that allowed them to stick with that stance.

    The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons would not allow them to serve the Lord as priests.

  3. Other Israelites who desired to stand with God, followed suit after the Levites.

    From all the tribes of Israel, those who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

     

Application:

How badly do you desire to follow the Lord’s ordinances?

The Levites and some Israelites left behind their homes and lands to go to Jerusalem where they could do as the Lord had instructed. These were men whom, according to the split of the nation of Israel, would have been Jeroboam’s subjects. However, when Jeroboam chose to take the path of the ungodly, introducing idolatry into Israel out of fear, these men of God departed from his kingdom. They chose to forsake their king and pasturelands and properties, moving instead to Judah and Jerusalem where the citizens still chose to be led by God.

Will you take a stance today? Will you chose to follow God’s ordinances? What are you willing to forsake to follow Christ?


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 158

DAY 158.png

Focus Chapters:

  • Ecclesiastes 7-10
  • Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

 

Standout Verse(s):

Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Those who wait for the perfect moment will never accomplish anything.

    Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
    If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

     

Application:

We often get caught up in envisioning and waiting for the perfect moment. Take a walk down memory lane of your life. Imagine some of the most incredible blessings you have experienced. Could you imagine how different things would have been if you had continued to wait for the “non-existent perfect moment”? There is a high chance that you would still be waiting and your blessing would have been non-existent!

Our definition of perfect requires no variations to our expectant scenario. God’s version of perfect is the time He has designated for us to move. God’s time for us to plant might not be perfect in our minds, but it is perfect for Him. The time God designates as our season of harvest may be cloudy but by God’s standards, it is still perfect.

Don’t stand still because there are prerequisite pieces that you are unable to see or risks and situations that we are not sure how they will pan out. If God says the time is perfect, the time is perfect.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 157

DAY 157.png

Focus Chapters:

  • Ecclesiastes 1:12-18
  • Ecclesiastes 2-6

 

Standout Verse(s):

Ecclesiastes 4:4, 6:9 NLT

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Envy of their neighbours can motivate people to success.

    Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors.

  2. Enjoy what you have.

    Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.

  3. Constantly chasing success without enjoying the fruits of your labour is a meaningless endeavour.

    Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

    Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

     

Application:

Chasing success due to envy is a never-ending unsatisfactory cycle. There is always something that will be better than what you have. According to the standards of the world, the definition of success changes daily. Today your neighbour’s success is determined by their ability to drive a fancy car. Tomorrow, it’s their ability to own their own home in an established area. Next year, it is something quite outlandish and untenable.

Solomon was on to something when he exhorted others to enjoy what they have today. Enjoy what you have now! While it is okay to dream and chase better, don’t forget to enjoy the hard-won harvest of today. Before you know it, you are too old to enjoy your labours or you have reached the end of your time on earth and have not enjoyed the life or blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you. Your efforts would have been for naught – meaningless, like chasing the wind.


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