Responsiveness 

~~MTS-4463
Responsiveness
“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people…”    2 Ch. 34:27
    It’s such a great blessing when our hearts can still be moved and touched by the Spirit of God. We can easily become cold and indifferent when we hear the words of God proclaimed, thinking that they have nothing to do with us.
    Such wasn’t the case with King Josiah when he heard the Book of the Law read to him. Even though it was primarily addressing the rebellion of the previous generations against the law, the king took the matter personally and he didn’t consider himself exempt when God’s people as a whole were condemned by the Book of the Law.
    It’s just so easy to go through the motions when we sit in the pews listening to God’s Word proclaimed Sunday after Sunday. We seem to regularly go to God’s house to worship without expecting anything meaningful to occur, and corporate worship is perceived more as an obligation than anything else.
    Listening to the Word of God proclaimed, either through reading or listening, must always be intentional, purpose-driven even. We open up the Scriptures not merely to read, but with an intention to listen when we read, and by humbly listening our reading will bring forth definite action.
    Are we ready to respond when the Lord speaks through the Scriptures?
    I have been preaching at the same church for the last twenty-four years, yet the words don’t seem to have any impact on some of the church members. Why? By being unresponsive to God’s word, the more people listen to the word preached, the harder and colder their hearts may become. What makes God’s words come to life is through our responsiveness and obedience to them.
    In fact, failure to respond to God’s words positively is an indication of disbelief. We may indeed claim to believe a lot of things, yet we may resolve to do what comes most naturally during the time when we are challenged physically and emotionally, and we become all too human to act more spiritually.
    What Josiah did when he heard the Law proclaimed to him should serve as a great example for us. He responded to God’s words humbly and took it personally and he ended up doing something to rectify the situation.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:32:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Other Gods 

~~MTS-4462
Other Gods
“Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all that their hands have made…”     2 Ch. 34:24
    We may be leading our lives in such a way as if the Lord doesn’t really exist; or even if he does exist, he isn’t really sovereign and is in control of all things.
    We are not really consistent in our faith and practice. The chasm between the two appears to be rather wide, wider than we can ever imagine.
    Aren’t we often anxious about different things? Of course, being anxious or worried about things is an indication of lack of faith in God, believing that his power is insufficient and things concerning me are out of his control. Even worse, we may even think he has bad intentions for us, since he is all powerful, yet he simply refuses to act on our behalf.
    We may claim to believe the Lord is both powerful and good, yet our actions seem to say the opposite. By our conduct we seem to believe that he is neither, and our actions do speak louder than words.
    Indeed, we don’t actually burn incense to other gods, but we oftentimes act like atheists who don’t believe in the existence of a loving God; therefore we are inclined to take things into our own hands when the situation becomes dicey, trusting men more than God.
    How do we mend the gap of our inconsistency between faith and practice? This is the question, isn’t it?
    To be born again is to be renewed in all aspects of our being, yet the renewal appears to have occurred in the spiritual realm and seems to have very little impact on our minds. Therefore our new birth doesn’t seem to engender a new way of thinking. Surely, what I am is what I think, so we may be remaining who we have always been emotionally and intellectually, albeit we have been regenerated spiritually.
    There is no other way, really. The key to resolving this issue is to reprogram our thinking patterns by conforming to the word of God. We have been lagging behind in reading the Scriptures and acting on the truth contained within them. Consequently, the chasm between our faith and practice has become wider and wider. It may even get to point when we seriously doubt the validity of our faith.
    This appears to me, a rather serious issue, and if nothing is done over time, we will become no different from unbelievers.   

 

Posted by Robert Sea Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:35:00 AM Categories: Devotional

God's Law 

~~MTS-4461
God’s Law
“When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.”     2 Ch. 34:19
    Surely it wasn’t an ordinary book the king had obtained; what he heard were the words of the Law proclaimed to him.
    Surely he must have heard the Book of the Law mentioned to him, yet it created very little impression on him, for he had no idea what the content of the book was, and how he was supposed to view the book.
    If the book was the words of God, it was merely one of the books composed by men the kings of Israel had collected over the years. There wasn’t any reason to pay special attention to it.
    I have a small collection of books and they have been placed in my bookcase, collecting the dust of West Texas. Many of them I have read, but a lot of them I haven’t, yet they are all solemnly standing on the shelf, waiting to be inspected.
    Does it matter whether I read any of them? Not all that much. My knowledge about certain areas may increase a little by reading those books, yet it matters little in the larger scheme of things.
    “Words, words,” says Hamlet, when asked what he was reading.
    How can I bring all the words I have read over the years to a coherent and unifying whole? Can I ever reconcile all the differences among them and establish a consistent idea void of contradiction?
   “It’s better to read no book if we believe in all books,” goes a Chinese saying. “A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing,” said Pope. By the same token, much knowledge can also be a grave danger, unless the knowledge acquired is truthful and without human error, for knowledge can both lead and mislead.
    I don’t put my Bible on the bookcase as if it were merely one of the many other books. It holds a special place in my heart as well as on my bookshelf. In fact, I often put it on my nightstand next to my bed, easily accessible when I need it.
    “When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes,” we read.
    That was the moment when the king suddenly came to realize what he was hearing was not the words of mere humans; they were the very words of the living God. Tearing his robes was an expression of Josiah’s deep remorse and repentance. Perhaps we have to do the same thing as the king if we have been taking the Law of the Lord too lightly.
    
 
 
 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Monday, February 12, 2018 6:46:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Gatekeepers 

~~MTS-4460
Gatekeepers
“Some of the Levites were secretaries, scribes and gatekeepers.”    2 Ch. 34:13
    Which of these three types of jobs would I have preferred to do had I been a Levite? I sometimes wonder.
    The first two jobs probably were more respectful than the third, since they all dealt with words, and it would have required more training to do the work well. On the other hand, being gatekeepers of God’s temple appears to be rather easy, for all they needed to do was merely stand there. No skill or special training was ever needed.
    Truly, that was the job that I wouldn’t have chosen.
    That was the job I had to do when I was in the service, and the mere mention of it brings back all sorts of bad memories. Every shift that we had to do lasted for two hours within a twenty-four-hour cycle. Obviously, the worst shifts were the times between midnight to day break.
    I had to do the same thing while I was working at the National Palace Museum when I had to be a gatekeeper part of the time, collecting tickets from visitors. The job itself wasn’t all the glamorous and the monotony of it was sometimes unbearable.
    Was being a gatekeeper in God’s temple any different than the chores I had to do as a young man?
    “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness,” Psalm 84 says.
    In this world we seem to be classified and identified by our professions, the jobs we do to make a living, and we are ranked either high or low by how much we earn at each job. Indeed, our value system is basically determined by how valuable and prestigious our jobs are.
    Come to think of it, being a doorkeeper in God’s house may not be all that undesirable after all, for the job itself seems to provide an ample amount of time to meditate on God’s words and to pray, which are the things that I have enjoyed doing the most.
    King David might sometimes have looked at his younger days as a shepherd in retrospect with great nostalgia and longing, for they were the days when he had all the leisure in the world to meditate on God’s grace and to compose psalms praising the Almighty.
    To be completely candid, I would have had great difficulty choosing among the three jobs had I been in the position to choose. I might have chosen being a gatekeeper in God’s house after all.     
 
 
 
  
 
 
 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Friday, February 9, 2018 8:35:00 AM Categories: Devotional
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