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 11 – 2 Kings 13, 14

2 Kings 13, 14
Focus Verse: Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” – 2 Kings 13:19

When Elisha was near death, King Joash went to him crying because he feared that Israel would now be defeated by Syria. With a bow and several arrows, Elisha demonstrated how it would be Syria that was defeated by Israel and not the other way around.

Elisha told Joash to take the arrows and strike the ground with them. Joash took the arrows, struck the ground three times, and then stopped. Elisha was angry with him for stopping at the number three. In doing so, he limited his future victory. Instead of defeating Syria five or six times until they were completely destroyed, he would only defeat them three times.

Are you doing the same as Joash by placing limits on what God can do in your life by making small requests of Him? In your prayers, do you strike three times and then stop?

Your God is a big God; so why ask Him for a small blessing? Your God is a triumphant God; so why ask Him for only one victory? Your God is a rescuing God; so why ask Him for only a partial deliverance?

Don’t limit God, thus limiting His goodness in your life, by only striking His throne of grace three times. Keep striking! In other words, keep praying. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.

Old Testament In a Year: July 10 – 2 Kings 10, 11, 12

2 Kings 10, 11, 12
Focus Verse: Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign. – 2 Kings 11:21

Jehoash was only seven years old when he was crowned and began to reign as king of Judah.

After years of being ruled by men and women who disobeyed the one true God, served other false gods, and repeatedly did things that were wrong, Judah finally had a king who did what was right.

2 Kings 12:2 says, “And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days.” He followed the instructions of Jehoiada the priest. He repaired God’s temple. He reigned in a just and fair manner.

Jehoash shows that you are never too young to stand up to past evil, reject the wrong lifestyles of those who are older than you or those who came before you, chart your own good path, and choose to do what is right in the eyes of God all of your days.

God doesn’t require you to be of a certain age to follow Him. He doesn’t require that you have a lot of experience. He just requires a heart of obedience, humility, love, teachability, and faithfulness.

Don’t let others look down on your youth. And don’t you look down on it yourself. You can make a difference, set a good example for others, and do great things for God – right now.

Old Testament In a Year: July 9 – 2 Kings 7, 8, 9

2 Kings 7, 8, 9
Focus Verse: Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” – 2 Kings 7:9

These four lepers had the attitude that you should have as a believer in Jesus the Christ.

After finding the camp of their enemies, the Syrians, empty of people, the lepers began to take part in all the good stuff that had been left behind. They ate. They drank. They carried away silver and gold and clothing and hid it for themselves. They knew the enemy had been defeated, and they reveled in it alone, until it dawned on them that…

Others remained holed up in the city of Israel, without food and without water; still thinking that their enemies would soon be victorious in destroying them.

The lepers said, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. We should not remain silent, but should go and tell.”

As a believer in Jesus the Christ, you have the ultimate good news and if you remain silent about it, you are not doing right. Do not wait. Do not revel alone in the good news of Christ’s love and salvation. Go and tell others about it.

Old Testament In a Year: July 8 – 2 Kings 4, 5, 6

2 Kings 4, 5, 6
Focus Verse: But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” – 2 Kings 5:11

Naaman was about to walk away from being healed because his healing was not happening the way he thought it should happen. He was about to leave behind a blessing because his blessing was not coming in the package he was expecting it to come in.

God did not always work in the way that people thought He should work back then, and He will not always work in the way you think He should work today.

Don’t ignore God’s instructions just because they are not what you expected. God doesn’t have to “prove” Himself by using something better (a.k.a. the rivers of Damascus) to bring about your blessing. He will often use the Jordan river to: (1) text your obedience to Him, and (2) test your faith in Him.

Be careful not to bypass the blessing that God has in store for you because God’s instructions appear too simple or because they don’t seem to make sense. Even when you do not understand the way, choose to trust and obey.