Today’s reading: 2 Chron 31:1–32:33, 1 John 2:15–17, Ps 104:16–35
Today’s Theme: Wholly (100% or With Everything or Totally)
Today’s theme explores the concept of whole hearted devotion and dedication. God calls us to wholly follow and honour Him.
2 Chronicles 31:1–32:33
Destroy Them All
Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession. 2 Chronicles 31:1 (ESV)
The people were inspired by the faith and single hearted, total dedication of their King Hezekiah. This spurred them on to destroy every high place and idolatrous altar.
We are also called to have this same passion and dedication in our lives. We are called to wholly follow the Lord. When putting sin to death in our lives we should have no mercy on our sin and compromise, we need to destroy it all.
Romans 8:13 teaches us “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Colossians 3:5 commands us “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
We should not leave room for compromise. We should determine in our hearts to destroy all idolatry, sin and compromise.
As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. They brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 2 Chronicles 31:5 (ESV).
The tithe being 10% has always been a representation of everything. The people symbolically gave God 100% of everything, not just 10% of everything.
We should at least give God a regular tithe or 10% representation from our income today. The New Testament does not talk about the tithe specifically but does speak about the spirit and meaning of tithing in the scriptures. About giving everything to the Lord and being generous as we give.
Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything, give to the poor and come and follow Him in Mark 10:21. Jesus extends this call to all His disciples in Luke 12:32 -34 where He encourages them that the Father wants to give them the kingdom. They should sell all they have and give to the needy, instead focussing on storing up treasure in heaven. Jesus culminates this lesson by stating “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
In Romans 12:8 Paul teaches us to give generously and in 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
They were enrolled with all their little children, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, the whole assembly, for they were faithful in keeping themselves holy. 2 Chronicles 31:18 (ESV)
In the spirit of the gospel call to give God everything we give God our very lives and so should lay it all on the line to walk in sanctification and holiness like these Levites.
Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him in Luke 9:23. Jesus also taught us that those who remain faithful till the end will be saved in Matthew 24:12.
Word Study: Faithful, in the Hebrew this word is “Emuna” the root words for this include trustworthy, wearing to prove to be firm, reliable, permanent and to believe. In this sense the word means steadfastness, trustworthiness, faithfulness, honesty, official duty, firmness and to be dependable.
Meditate on the meaning of this word today and listen to the Holy Spirit as He shows you how faithfulness needs to be applied in your life.
With All Our Hearts
And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered. 2 Chronicles 31:21 (ESV)
We should not be half hearted when we do anything especially when we serve the Lord.
Hezekiah worked for and sought the Lord with all his heart and we should do the same.
James 1:8 warns us that we should not be doubtful and double minded.
Paul teaches us in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”.
He set to work resolutely and built up all the wall that was broken down and raised towers upon it, and outside it he built another wall, and he strengthened the Millo in the city of David. He also made weapons and shields in abundance. 2 Chronicles 32:5 (ESV)
As we work for the Lord we need to be resolute. We need to make up our minds, set our aims and give ourselves over completely to see the task completed.
This is where both our firm faith and hard work go hand in hand. Our purposeful working gives expression to our deep rooted faith.
James teaches that faith without works is dead in James 2:20-26. He finishes the lesson by saying “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 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 32:7–8 (ESV)
Hezekiah was a man of great faith, he knew that God was with him. Because he was 100% dedicated to God he had the confidence to know and boldly declare that heaven’s armies were with them. His words inspired faith and confidence in the people too.
We are at war and we need to have faith in our great God just like Hezekiah did. God fights our battles for us.
As Paul teaches on God’s eternal plan, we read in Ephesians 3:11–12 that we have confidence through our faith in Him. “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
We should declare the truth to one another to build up all our faith and confidence in the Lord as we stand and God fights.
The Danger of Pride
And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. 2 Chronicles 32:31 (ESV)
Pride was the great pitfall for Hezekiah who like David was a man who really loved and served the Lord. When we read this true account we need to ask the Lord to help us to stay true to Him.
Notice the verse says that God left him to himself to see what was in his heart. We should be very grateful that we have been given new hearts through the gift of God the Holy Spirt. See Titus 3:5.
One way to guard against pride is to always be grateful to the Lord.
1 John 2:15–17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 (ESV)
We should not just love everything, no way. As Christians, we do not love the things of the world in terms of lusts of the flesh, covetousness, envy and pride which all find their roots in idolatry and materialism.
Our Love should be for God and all that God loves.
The Things we love serve as a good test and indicator to us of where we are with God. If our affections and desires are for the things of the world we need to repent and turn our hearts to the Lord again.
These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. Psalm 104:27 (ESV)
God is the great provider for all creation.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 John 2