Memorize a Scripture a Month: September 2017

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2
King James Version (KJV)

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Old Testament In a Year: September 12 – 2 Chronicles 31, 32

2 Chronicles 31, 32
Focus Verse: With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. – 2 Chronicles 32:8

Ephesians 6 tells us that we do not fight against flesh and blood. And just as we do not fight against flesh and blood, neither do we fight with flesh and blood. As believers, we have God to help us and fight our battles – whether they are spiritual, financial, or physical.

This is why we can be confident regardless of what or who we’re faced with.

I am with you, God says. Therefore, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of hardship or trouble. Do not be dismayed when you receive a negative doctor’s report or fail to be promoted at your job. Because I am with you, not without you; because I am for you, not against you, you will experience victory in every battle. With this assurance, be encouraged and take confidence.

Old Testament In a Year: September 11 – 2 Chronicles 29, 30

2 Chronicles 29, 30
Focus Verse: Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. – 2 Chronicles 30:1

Hezekiah was one of the kings of Judah who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Not only did he do what was right, but he worked to help others do what was right, as well.

When Hezekiah set about to cleanse the temple, to restore temple worship, and to celebrate Passover, he did not do it alone. He knew he was doing a good work, the right thing, a holy effort, and he got others involved in it. He recruited the priests, the Levites, the officials of the city, singers, trumpeters, and the whole assembly. He sent letters throughout all Israel and Judah and to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting everyone who had a heart to return to the Lord, to do so.

As a result, not only was he blessed, but others were blessed as well. Collectively, they were pardoned, consecrated, and healed. Together, they feasted, sang, sacrificed, and praised the Lord with great gladness and thanksgiving. God is pleased when His people work together and worship together for Him. And when we are doing a good work for the Lord, we should not keep it to ourselves, but should spread it far and wide and seek to get as many others as possible involved.

Old Testament In a Year: September 10 – 2 Chronicles 27, 28

2 Chronicles 27, 28
Focus Verse: So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God. – 2 Chronicles 27:6

To order your ways before the Lord means that you prepare what you do and what you say by His commandments. Your behavior, your actions, your attitude, and your words are directed and guided according to God’s Word, God’s will, and God’s way.

Those who are careful to follow, obey, and order their ways before the Lord, will always experience success. They will experience temporal success in this world, but more importantly they will also experience eternal success in the world to come.

Old Testament In a Year: September 9 – Isaiah 5, 6

Isaiah 5, 6
Focus Verse: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8

Through the Great Commission, God has already called every believer to “Go.” It is still up to each one of us to decide if we will answer the way Isaiah did or if we will shut our ears to the call of God. This is not a one time decision. It is a decision that has to be made every day, and oftentimes throughout the day.

During the times we spend in prayer and Bible reading, God will often remind us of someone we should be helping. When this happens, is our response one of willingness to listen to His reminder and act on it? When situations arise that require our prayers or our time or our money, do we say, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah’s commission was not a pleasant one. He was told to go to his own people and rebuke them harshly. And he was told to rebuke them harshly until they were desolate and destroyed. May each of us have hearts that so want to see the will of God done on earth as it is in Heaven, that we readily say, “Here I am! Send me,” even when what God is telling us to do is hard or unpleasant.

Old Testament In a Year: September 8 – Isaiah 3, 4

Isaiah 3, 4
Focus Verse: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. – Isaiah 4:4

As true sons and daughters of God, it is not enough for us to repent of sin and to be forgiven for it. We must also put sin away from us; and for us to put it away, we need God’s help. We need Him to wash us and cleanse us. We need Him to scrub away our filth and replace it with faithfulness. We need Him to see beneath our outward displays of beauty and examine our hearts to make sure that we are truly holy and righteous on the inside.

Being washed and cleansed by God is neither a pleasant nor an easy process. It is, however, a process that is worth it because by enduring the judging and burning of the Spirit we will be made to look more like Christ. God knows the roads on which we travel, and after He has tested us, refined us, and purified us, we shall come out as pure as gold.

Old Testament In a Year: September 7 – Isaiah 1, 2

Isaiah 1, 2
Focus Verse: When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. – Isaiah 1:15

God has little appreciation for our public expressions of worship if the actions of our private lives are contrary to our public worship.

If we are living in sin and being punished by God because of that, no amount of fervent prayers or hands outstretched in worship or giving of tithes and offerings, will persuade God to stop the punishment. He is more concerned with us giving up sin then He is with us giving Him sacrifices.

If our hearts are not right with God, if we have not ceased from doing evil, if we have not learned to do good, if we are not seeking justice and correcting oppression, if we are not standing up for the rights of the marginalized and are not speaking up for those who have no voice, then God will not accept any form of service that we do for Him or any act of devotion that is shown to Him. He will, in fact, abhor it.

Old Testament In a Year: September 6 – 2 Chronicles 24, 25, 26

2 Chronicles 24, 25, 26
Focus Verse: And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. – 2 Chronicles 25:2

The latter part of this verse explains why the three kings in the three chapters of 2 Chronicles 24, 25, and 26 started off well in serving God, but ultimately failed. Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah all did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but none of them did so with a whole heart.

In the case of Joash, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. As soon as Jehoiada died, Joash stopped doing what was right. He abandoned the house of the Lord. He started serving false gods such as the Asherim and idols. He even had Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, stoned to death. This shows that Joash was not doing right because he personally loved God. He was only doing right out of eyeservice, to please Jehoiada. He only loved and served God half heartedly, not with a whole heart.

In the case of Amaziah, as soon as God gave him several victories in war, Amaziah turned away from God. I really don’t know what Amaziah was thinking, but he turned from serving the God who had given him victory and began serving the false gods of the very men who he had defeated. He worshiped them. He made offerings to them. And as a result, he was defeated.

In the case of Uzziah, he started off very well. He was only sixteen years old when he became king and Scripture says that “he set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” Uzziah experienced victory in battle, and because of God’s help, he became very strong and his fame spread throughout the region. As he grew strong, however, Uzziah also grew proud and his pride led to his destruction. He failed to remember that his prosperity and strength was not because of him, but because he sought the Lord. As soon as Uzziah stopped seeking the Lord, he stopped being prosperous and strong.

This is why Jesus encouraged us to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” If we only love God with half or a part of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then we leave room to love something else or someone else and that something or someone else will eventually push God out. When it comes to following, loving, and serving God, we must be all in and do so with a whole heart, or we will end up starting off well and then fading out just as Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah did.

Old Testament In a Year: September 5 – 2 Chronicles 23; Joel 2, 3

2 Chronicles 23; Joel 2, 3
Focus Verse: And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people. – 2 Chronicles 23:16

Immediately after Jehoiada determined that he would belong to the Lord, along with the king and all the people, the words of that covenant were followed by action. They didn’t just declare that they were the Lord’s people. They demonstrated that they were the Lord’s people. By tearing down the house of Baal, by breaking Baal’s altars and images, by killing the priest of Baal, by posting watchmen for the house of the Lord – they showed they were serious about following God and doing what was right.

We often say that we are followers of God, that we love and obey and believe in Him, but do our actions reflect our words? Does our behavior match our speech? If not, we must make changes in our life so that we are the Lord’s people not just by what we say, but also by what we do.