Old Testament In a Year: July 21 – Psalms 1, 2, 10

Psalms 1, 2, 10
Focus Verse: Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? – Psalm 10:1

It is easy to find ourselves asking such questions of God when nothing seems to be going right in our life and He appears not to hear our voice

We ask for clarity, but receive chaos. We pray for a miracle, but are handed a mess. We request a blessing, but are given bad news instead.

God, where are You? we ask. Why are You so far away? Why are Your ears closed to my prayers? Why are You hiding Yourself when I need Your help?

In truth, God is never far away from us. He is always near. His ears are always open to our prayers. But God doesn’t always answer as quickly as we would like Him to or in the way that we think He should; and sometimes, He doesn’t answer at all. We shouldn’t mistake His silence for standoffishness or His refusal as revulsion of us. Through His silence, God often strengthens our faith and increases our love for His voice so that when we hear it again at last, it is all the more sweeter.

Old Testament In a Year: July 20 – 2 Kings 24, 25

2 Kings 24, 25
Focus Verse: And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. – 2 Kings 24:19

Even though he was aware of the negative consequences that the kings before him had faced for doing evil, Mattaniah (called Zedekiah by the king of Babylon) still did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Even though both Israel and Judah were being torn apart and destroyed because the people refused to obey and follow God, Mattaniah still led them in doing what was evil.

He did not learn his lesson. Instead of repenting and deciding to do what was right, he chose to continue in the way that was wrong even though he knew it led to darkness and destruction.

When those before us and when those around us do wrong, it is easier for us to join them. But it is more excellent for us to resist them and choose to do what is good in the sight of God instead of what is evil; to walk in the light instead of the darkness; and to stand for right instead of wrong.

Old Testament In a Year: July 19 – 2 Kings 22, 23

2 Kings 22, 23
Focus Verse: And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant. – 2 Kings 23:3

Even though the people of Judah joined Josiah in this covenant to the Lord, this was not a public show-off moment for Josiah. It was a personal declaration of loyalty, obedience, and faithfulness to God.

Josiah made a personal covenant to walk after the Lord and keep His commandments with all his heart and all his soul. He promised to perform, or obey, all the words that were written in the book of the law.

Josiah’s covenant to God was not dependent on any one else making a covenant to God. Even if no one else joined in the covenant, Josiah still would have made it. Even if no one else decided to walk after God, Josiah still would have walked after Him. Even if no one else decided to keep God’s commandments and perform His words, Josiah still would have done so.

Our commitment to God and our dedication to His Word must not depend on anyone else’s commitment or dedication to God. It must be our own choice, each and every day.

Old Testament In a Year: July 18 – 2 Kings 19, 20, 21

2 Kings 19, 20, 21
Focus Verse: Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying. – 2 Kings 20:2

When Hezekiah became sick and heard that he was going to die, what was his immediate response? It was not to ask questions or fall into a depression or give up hope altogether and not even attempt to talk to God. His immediate response was to pray to God, the same God who had told him ‘you shall die; you shall not recover.’

Hezekiah prayed and he cried. He asked God to remember his faithfulness and how he had done what was good in God’s sight.

Hezekiah’s prayer was an act of faith. God had already told him he wouldn’t recover from his sickness. God had already told him he would die. Hezekiah could have despaired. He could have thought: What good will praying to God do? It won’t get Him to change my situation. Yet, Hezekiah believed that prayer could change things. And it did. God heard his prayer. God saw his tears. And God healed him. What’s more? God added fifteen years to his life.

That is the power that prayer has. That is how faith in prayer, and faith in God, can change things.

Whenever you are faced with an impossible situation or given some difficult news, turn to God in prayer about it and request of Him what you need/want. Believe that He will hear you and answer you, just as He did Hezekiah.

Old Testament In a Year: July 17 – 2 Kings 17, 18

2 Kings 17, 18
Focus Verse: But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. – 2 Kings 17:14

Not listening to the Word of God and not obeying His commands is a sign that we do not believe in Him.

If to love Christ is to keep His commandments, then to believe in God is to listen to His Word and obey it. We cannot say we believe in God with our mouths, yet despise the laws and promises that He made us with our hearts. We cannot say we listen to God with our ears, yet lust after the world and fleshly desires with our eyes.

Our walk must reflect our talk. Our behaviour must match our beliefs. Who and what we follow must be evidence of our faith.

To believe is to obey.

Old Testament In a Year: July 16 – 2 Kings 15, 16

2 Kings 15, 16
Focus Verse: (This was the promise of the Lord that he gave to Jehu, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it came to pass.) – 2 Kings 15:12

Every promise that God made, regardless of how inconsequential it may have seemed, has come to pass. God is not a human that He should lie. He does not say things that He will not do.

The promises God has made to you both in His Word and in your personal time together will come to pass. Every one of them. In God’s perfect timing and in His perfect way. Don’t doubt it.

Old Testament In a Year: July 15 – Amos 7, 8, 9

Amos 7, 8, 9
Focus Verse: But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ – Amos 7:15

Amos never imagined that he would be a prophet of God. He never thought that he would have a book of his own which would be included in God’s Word which is still being read today.

Amos was only a herdsman and a caretaker of sycamore trees. He was not a prophet. He was not a prophet’s son. The blood of prophets did not run in his veins. Yet, God had bigger plans and a greater purpose for Amos than Amos ever had for himself.

God took Amos from following the flock and taking care of trees, and made him a prophet to Israel.

You may be doing something right now that doesn’t seem important, but you have no idea what God has for you to do in the future. God’s plans for you are much bigger than the plans you have for yourself. His purpose for you is far greater than you could ever imagine.

Old Testament In a Year: July 14 – Amos 4, 5, 6

Amos 4, 5, 6
Focus Verse: Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. – Amos 5:14

Instead of being passionate and energetic in pursuing evil, you should be passionate and energetic in pursuing good and in seeking God. Only then will God truly be with you and truly be near to help you.

Being a Christian in name only does not mean God will always bless you no matter what or that you can do whatever it is you want. God’s blessings, help, and presence in your life is dependent on your obedience to Him.

So, do not seek after evil people or evil things; do not enjoy the company or listen to the conversation of evil people; do not entertain anything that has the appearance of evil. Evil ought not to be sought, but shunned; avoided, not applauded; not merely disliked, but fiercely hated.

Seek that which is good, and in your pursuit of good, seek “the chief good,” who is God. He is perfectly good, eternally good, immutably good, and the source of all goodness. He is the Father of the good Savior, the good Shepherd, the good Samaritan – Jesus the Christ – who has already been made your sacrifice and is ready now to be your friend and guide. So, seek Christ. And also seek the Spirit who will work good in your life and will give you the power to work good out of your life.

Old Testament In a Year: July 13 – Amos 1, 2, 3

Amos 1, 2, 3
Focus Verse: Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. – Amos 2:10

May we never do as the Israelites repeatedly did and forget the good things that God has done for us. Because if we forget His actions, it will not be long before we stop following His steps.