2 Kings 24-25; Job 14; 1 Corinthians 2 (NIV)
2 Kings 24-25; Job 14; 1 Corinthians 2 (The Message)
2 Kings 24-25
Here, we read about 3 kings of Judah: Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, & Zedekiah. Each of them did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Each of these three kings ruled at Jerusalem during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, who was king of Babylon.
Job is lamenting of his troubled recent history. He is crying out to God, asking why God makes people suffer so much. I’ve included The Message translations above. In one verse in this translation, Job says to God, “So why not give us a break? Ease up! Even ditchdiggers get occasional days off.” As he continues, Job is asking for God to remove these troubled times from him. Job KNOWS God is the only one who can make the trouble go away and restore him to a time when life was better. Job knows that when that time comes, God will watch over him each and every day, but not count his sins.
1 Corinthians 2
Paul speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit amongst the people of Corinth, work that still is being done to this day. When Paul and the people who accompanied him there first came to Corinth, they kept their teachings simple, only talking about who Jesus is and what he did. They didn’t speak in fancy theological terms in order to impress the Corinthian people in to following Jesus. To do so would have been to use human nature to try to bring people to Jesus, which would be futile. Rather, they allowed their simple message, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to work in the Corinthian people. Once they become more mature in their spiritual journey, then more specific theology can be taught to them. But, in the end, it is only by the Holy Spirit that they can and will continue on this journey.
Doesn’t this passage from 2 Kings ring so true today? We have leaders around the world who struggle to be good leaders, and are often unsuccessful at being good leaders. Why is that the case? Because they, like the rulers of 2 Kings, are probably trying to do too much on their own, without seeking guidance from God. We worship a God who is always faithful to us…as long as we remain faithful in HIM! But, I truly believe, that he doesn’t pay us as much attention when we leave him out of our lives. In my search of this, I found a passage in 2 Chronicles 16:7-9. Here is a small part of those verses: “Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
Job’s situation went from bad to worse to nearly impossible to face, and the bad times seemed relentless. But Job knew very well that only God could deliver him from his difficulties. So he stated that he would continue to wait on Him. At that time when God called on him, he would be ready to answer. Despite all of the terrible things that happened to Job in such a short time, he continued to maintain his faith on God.
Paul knew exactly what he was doing when he visited each of the places where he started new churches. He didn’t go in like a professor from Oxford, using big fancy words to try to impress. He didn’t pull out all of his framed diplomas, or make mention of his accolades that were accumulated in his lifetime. Rather, he met people where they were at. He kept his message simple. In the education world, teachers are successful only if they are willing to meet students where they are at and build them up from there. I can’t teach my students quantum physics if they don’t first understand the basics of physics. In the same way, people aren’t going to become followers of a religion they don’t understand by starting them with the advanced class.
So, may you always remember that you won’t be successful in you life on your own. You NEED God in your life. To live any differently would be to be like the rulers of 2 Kings. We all will falter and fall away from time to time, but as long as we keep coming back, God will always be waiting. Job knew this. Even though he struggled, he still came back to God, and in due time, God restored him. And we don’t have to dazzle others and rub our religion in their faces. I truly believe that if we are going to be true evangelizers, we need to do so by acting out of love and kindness first, and then once people recognize that we are genuine, they might listen more about who this Jesus character is and what he is about.