Wednesday, November 2, 2016

bad, bad, bad

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 26-28
mark this: 2 Chronicles 25:1-2
Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.
and this: 2 Chronicles 27:1-2
Jotham did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.
and this: 2 Chronicles 28:1
Ahaz did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD.
When Eddy was maybe 3 or 4, he had a toy doctor's kit. He had a stethoscope, a thermometer, a tongue depressor, a device which looked into the ears, and a flashlight to examine the eyes.
With all those medical devices, Eddy was quite the pest. He examined everybody 2 or 3 times a day. He even examined our dog.
And every one of Eddy's examinations came up with the same results. They all went just like this:
(stethoscope) "Heart…bad."
(thermometer) "Temperature…bad."
(ear gizmo) "Ears…bad."
(flashlight) "Eyes…bad."
(tongue depressor) "Tonsils…bad."
In the books of Kings, and now in the books of Chronicles, the Bible makes the same kind of thumbs-up or thumbs-down evaluations. The kings of Judah and Israel were either "good" or "bad." (1)
All of which begs the question: What about you? What about me? "Good" or "bad"?
No person is qualified nor authorized to make that call, even about ourselves. But there's a device nearby which is made for the task:
All Scripture is given by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. (2)
The Bible is a mirror, looking you straight in the eye:
For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law – the law that sets you free – and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (3)
Your Bible is a scalpel which can explore regions we've hidden from ourselves:
God's word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. (4)
Alas, every now and then, there's some medicine to take:
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (5)
My advice (prescribed for free!) is to keep your nose in Scripture all the days of your life. Otherwise -- even if you're a church-goer; even if you're the pastor or the Sunday School teacher -- it's likely that the verdict of little Eddy awaits. And that, trust me, would be "bad."
(1) Israel was the Northern Kingdom, with its capital in Samaria. Its kings were all unfaithful to God.
Judah was the Southern Kingdom, with its capital in Jerusalem. Almost half its rulers remained somewhat faithful to God; the others proved disobedient.
(2) 2 Timothy 3:16/NCV; (3) James 1:23-25/NLT; (4) Hebrews 4:12/NCV; (5) Hebrews 12:11/NLT

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