Today’s reading: 2 Chron 24:1–25:28, 1 John 1:5–10, Ps 103:1–14
Today’s theme: Urgency
Today’s theme is that we are called to urgently respond to God’s call and to avoid procrastination. We all need to ask the Lord to help us with this.
2 Chronicles 24:1–25:28
And he gathered the priests and the Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you act quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly. 2 Chronicles 24:5 (ESV)
There could have been lots of reasons for the procrastination (to delay, to put off intentionally) of the Levites including a distrust of the royal family. Some may even have questioned why the king did not just use royal funds. In any case regardless of the priest’s possible reservations, it was still up to them to obey the king.
We must avoid procrastination in our lives even if it appears to be backed by apparent good reasoning.
We have been called to active and quick obedience, we should not delay in obeying the Lord and should not be slack in doing the work of the Lord.
Jesus spoke against procrastination all the time. For example in Matthew 8:21–22 and Luke 9:59–62 Jesus deals with those who would delay His calling on their life.
We must ensure that we do not delay in responding to God like the five procrastinating virgins of Matthew 25:2–13. We should not make excuses as in Luke 14:16–21. Remember “Now” is the day of salvation, 2 Corinthians 6:2.
The urgent call to obey
Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 2 Chronicles 24:17–18 (ESV)
Joash was not a strong king, he was easily led astray. The priest Jehoiada brought him up and guided him but he never seems to develop his own relationship with the Lord.
His delay in obeying the Lord and setting his heart to follow the Lord in the days of the great priest Jehoiada has left him open to the evil council of the princes of Judah. He has now sold himself into apostasy.
The urgency of God’s call to relationship with Himself and the requirement to make a conscious stand for God in our own hearts is crucial. We must settle our minds, while we still, can on wholly following the Lord.
God knows why the call is so urgent and why procrastination is the tool of the enemy. The reason is that we are in the middle of a war for the souls of men and the glory of God. We need to act quickly and decisively so we are not blown around with every new wind and swept away with each new wave.
In Ephesians 4:14 Paul tell us to grow up and not be so easily carried away.
Urgency to proclaim the truth
Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’ ” 2 Chronicles 24:20 (ESV)
Zechariah is a great example to us unlike the Levites and the king who showed hearts full of procrastination and unfaithfulness. Zechariah speaks boldly, he is empowered by the Holy Spirit and speaks with the urgency of an ambassador of God’s kingdom to the people who had fallen away.
In the New Testament we are called to desire prophecy. This is not prophecy on the level of the revelation of scripture but is like the bold stand and proclamation of Zechariah. 1 Corinthians 14:1,39.
We should have God’s urgency in our hearts as we proclaim His truth. Without delay and without fear, like Zechariah we may lose our lives but we are messengers of God’s Kingdom and the message we carry is an urgent message with a call for immediate response. Acts 17:30.
The king shows how evil he has become. This is the danger of procrastination in obeying the Lord, we can become callous and wicked. Let’s determine in our hearts today to be like faithful Zechariah and not like the cowardly Joash.
And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart. 2 Chronicles 25:2 (ESV)
The kingdoms urgent call to “now faith” obedience to the Gospel is not one that can be satisfied in a half hearted way. Jesus calls us to follow Him fully, with all our hearts.
This king is an example of a person who dips their toe into the water of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and then retreats in disbelief, fear, laziness or some other selfish reason. We are called to dive in with our faith in God and His word.
Jesus calls us to follow Him with all our hearts. It is the first and greatest commandment. In Luke 9:62 “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
We will see later that this half hearted following of the Lord opens the king up to the dangerous pitfall of false confidence.
See Romans 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 1:8 and 1 Peter 4:17 on the call to obey the gospel.
Beware fleshy false confidence
But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom. 2 Chronicles 25:20 (ESV)
Here we see two things, God’s sovereign hand is at work to bring about God’s purposes concerning the compromising and wicked king who did not follow the Lord with all his heart.
We also see the opposite extreme to delay and procrastination, namely fleshy false confidence. Philippians 3:3, 19.
The danger of having a lukewarm relationship with the Lord is that we can easily end up charging forward in false confidence to our own destruction.
The urgent call to move forward is only applicable to those in the Lords army. Those who are not truly committed must first hear the call to repent and obey the gospel.
The following is a quote from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress about a fool called Vain-Confidence “He therefore that went before (Vain-Confidence by name), not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit, which was on purpose there made by the prince of those grounds to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed to pieces with his fall.”
1 John 1:5–10
God is light
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 (ESV)
The world likes to focus on the scripture that says “God is Love” but the same bible tells us here that “God is Light”. This is less popular because this speaks of purity, holiness and truth as revealed in the light of God’s word.
God’s love and light always work together.
Truth matters, it is core to God’s very being.
God is total light, this is why He calls for total allegiance. He will not share His glory with anyone else, we are called to follow Him alone with all our hearts.
Why go to Church?
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 (ESV)
Some ask why do I need to go to church? Well here is the reason, it is evidence that we are truly in fellowship with God.
Active life in the church is how we practice the truth and show evidence of true discipleship. If we feel drawn away from fellowship we need to check our hearts.
Confess your sins
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (ESV)
We must not have vain confidence, we must humbly and honestly come before God each day and confess our sins so that He can cleanse us.
Bless God with everything
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Psalm 103:1 (ESV)
We should worship and serve the Lord with all that is within us, not with lukewarm hearts.
God is merciful
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11–12 (ESV)
God is so merciful and gracious to us so let’s not delay in our service for Him today.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 John 1