Day 62- March 3

Proverbs 8:1-21

What does it say?

Wisdom invites all mankind to gain understanding by listening to her words. Nothing man desires can compare with wisdom. Those who seek wisdom will find her.

What does it mean?

Solomon invites the reader to make the same choice he had made – to choose wisdom over all else. He possessed both wealth and wisdom. Yet in his opinion, wisdom’s value has no equal. The irony is that the pursuit of wisdom leads to enduring prosperity. This doesn’t mean that every wise person is rich. Rather, every wise person has what he needs because he handles his affairs in a wise and just manner. This includes the choice to leave pride and arrogance behind, along with speech and behavior that God considers evil. Wisdom promises to be found by any and all who seek her.

How should I respond?

We usually associate age with wisdom. However, this passage says that you can be wise now – whatever your age, position, or situation. How? Simply pursue wisdom more than anything else. What other pursuits do you need to leave behind? Are you focused on the ends or the means? This simple paradigm shift opens the door for God’s blessing. For instance, instead of asking God to take you out of a situation, ask Him for the wisdom to handle your relationships or finances in a godly way. What else has been at the top of your prayer list lately? Wisdom is the answer.

Day 61- March 2

Proverbs 7

What does it say?

Solomon again urged his sons to keep his words and guard his commands. Wisdom and understanding protect young and simple men from the snares of the adulteress.

What does it mean?

As in the previous chapter, Solomon addressed his son’s personal acceptance of godly instruction so that it became central to who he was. Solomon wisely painted word pictures of putting his teaching on daily, like a ring, and instinctively protecting it from harm as one would protect his physical eyes. When God’s Word is stored in the hearts and minds of His children, it provides wisdom and judgment for every situation. Solomon specifically says that godly teaching helps a person recognize those with immoral intent.

How should I respond?

We are in constant need of wisdom to recognize the pitfalls of sin. The overwhelming message of Proverbs is that wisdom comes from God’s law, which is no longer written on tablets of stone but on the hearts of believers (Hebrews 10:16). Like a wedding ring, following God’s commands signifies that we belong to Christ and are unavailable to any other way of life. That kind of intimacy with Christ isn’t automatic; it must be intentionally protected. You have no idea what situations or temptations you’ll face this week. How are you internalizing God’s Word to protect and prepare your heart for any situation?

Day 60- March 1

Proverbs 6:20-35

What does it say?

Solomon’s teaching on issues of morality was a guiding light and protection to his son.

What does it mean?

Solomon asked his son to internalize what he had been taught, choosing to make it his way of life rather than mere outward compliance. Solomon’s description of his teaching likened it to Scripture, a guiding light leading down the path to life rather than self-destruction. (Psalm 119:11, 105). Parental instruction based on God’s Word also provides protection and wise counsel. Solomon said that following his words would specifically protect his son in issues of morality. Solomon was preparing his son to respond wisely to temptation before he was face-to-face with the situation.

How should I respond?

Kids have access to all kinds of immorality as close as the smart phones in their hands. While every generation faces new avenues of temptation, the moral issues remain the same. Each person must choose to either accept or disregard God’s Word. It’s our job as parents, family members, teachers, and volunteers to prepare this generation for the world they will face. But the only instruction that has lasting value comes from Scripture. In order to be effective, we must first allow God to change our lives through a personal relationship with Christ and obedience to His Word. What role is God asking you to play in guiding the next generation? Have you made godly teaching your way of life?

Day 59- February 28

Proverbs 6:1-19

What does it say?

Solomon warned against financial pledges and laziness, which lead to poverty. The Lord hates the ways of dishonest and violent people who stir up dissension.

What does it mean?

Solomon continued to warn his son against foolish behaviors that lead to poverty. He reasoned that God created man to do honest and useful work, using the body for the Lord’s service. That’s why God hates when the human body is used for evil. Solomon laid out six behaviors that are detestable to the Lord – each corresponding to a particular part of the body. Using one’s entire being for God’s honor not only brings Him glory, it benefits the person as well.

How should I respond?

As a child, you may have learned the song “Be Careful Little Hands What You Do.” That principle remains true no matter how old you are. According to this passage, it applies to every part of your body. What would life look like if your behavior was the exact opposite of what God hates? Eyes that look humbly to the Lord for help aren’t filled with pride. A tongue that praises the Lord isn’t used for lying. Hands busy serving aren’t folded in laziness or used to harm the innocent. Feet that carry the good news of the gospel don’t rush into evil. Also, a heart consumed with the love of God has no room for scheming. How will you use your body for the Lord’s honor and glory this week?

Day 58- February 27

Proverbs 5

What does it say?

The words of an adulteress lead to regret and utter ruin. Solomon encouraged his son to stay far from her door and find satisfaction in his wife alone.

What does it mean?

Still instructing his son, Solomon extended his metaphor regarding what path to take. In this passage he specifically warned against any path that led to adultery. Solomon understood that adulterous relationships that seem enticing at the beginning ultimately lead to pain and regret. He wanted his son to have an intimate physical relationship that was blessed, finding joy and satisfaction with his wife alone even into old age. Without wisdom and discipline, the sin of adultery would pull him into its trap. Staying on the path of wisdom, however, would keep him far from the door of the adulteress.

How should I respond?

Our society encourages us to follow our hearts and do whatever feels right. The problem with that philosophy is the deceitful nature of our own hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). So what precautions can you put in place to protect your marriage? Foremost, guard your conversations at work and with friends, avoiding inappropriate jokes or comments. What you may consider innocent flirtation is really playing with fire. Affairs often start as emotional attachments, so reserve heart-to-heart talks for your spouse. It is possible to love one person for a lifetime, but love is a choice you make each and every day.

Day 57- February 26

Proverbs 4:10-27

What does it say?

Accepting and guarding wise instruction will lead to an unhindered path. Above all, the heart should be guarded as the storehouse for instruction and the wellspring of life.

What does it mean?

Solomon used a metaphor describing two choices in life: the godly path of wisdom or the destructive path of wickedness. He implied that choosing the darker path is the result of rejecting wisdom. Hence, foolishness eventually leads to wickedness. A godly life shines brightly in contrast to the spiritual darkness of the wicked path. But the path of the righteous isn’t taken by accident; it’s the result of accepting wise instruction and guarding one’s heart. Every part of the body must be focused on the wise path.

How should I respond?

Olympic medals are not won by accident. The athletes who achieve the most make choices every day that keep them on the path to success. They listen to coaches, guard their time, and stay focused on their goals. As a follower of Christ, you too have to be on guard and focused in order to avoid foolishness. Staying on the path to godly wisdom requires submitting your heart, mouth, eyes, and feet to God and His purpose. Where have you let down your guard? How has a foolish decision opened the door to ungodly thoughts or behavior? Determine today to take one intentional step “in the way of wisdom.” The path you choose will determine the outcome of your life.

Day 56- February 25

Proverbs 4:1-9

What does it say?

Solomon taught his sons that having wisdom is superior to all else and gaining understanding is worth giving up everything because it brings life and grace.

What does it mean?

In these verses we learn why Solomon asked God for wisdom when he could have asked for anything he wanted (1 Kings 3:5-14). Solomon’s father, King David, taught him that gaining wisdom and understanding was worth more than all the treasure he could acquire – worth giving up all that he had. To aid his understanding, David personified wisdom as a woman due the love and fidelity of a beloved wife. This lesson changed the course of Solomon’s life. Wisdom had indeed exalted and honored his embrace. Solomon carefully passed on his father’s advice to his own sons.

How should I respond?

As parents, we are the most important teachers our kids will ever have. It’s vital to intentionally plant the seeds of truth in their hearts and minds. The things we say and do will have a lasting impact on the course of their lives. What truth from God’s Word have you learned this week? How are you passing that on to your children? They listen, watch, and learn – even when we think they aren’t paying attention. How do your actions match what you say you believe? Wise children are the product of careful teaching.

Day 55- February 24

Proverbs 3:21-35

What does it say?

Solomon urged his son to use sound judgment and do good deeds when he had power to act. God blesses the righteous, gives grace to the humble, and honors the wise.

What does it mean?

King Solomon didn’t want his son to delay when he had the power to do something good for someone else. However, good deeds alone aren’t what please the Lord; it takes humility to look out for the best interest of others. As a result, God provides discernment and sound judgment regarding when to act and what to do. It then stands to reason that those who follow the Lord should never intentionally harm or falsely accuse others. While the wicked look out for themselves at all costs, the upright have the promise of God’s guidance and grace.

How should I respond?

The old adage is true: with great power comes great responsibility. Not only are followers of Christ heirs of God’s kingdom, we also have the constant presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Like Solomon’s son, we need to understand that our position isn’t to be used for selfish purposes. But neither are we to do good things simply to gain favor with God. Understanding God’s grace produces an attitude of genuine humility, making it second nature to help others. God’s grace and wisdom are the intangible components in the lives of those who choose to follow Him. And the effects of His grace on any situation can’t be calculated.

Day 54- February 23

Proverbs 3:1-20

What does it say?

Trust in the Lord and accept His discipline. His wisdom and understanding are incomparable treasures that bring blessing, long life, honor, and peace.

What does it mean?

Solomon, again, tells his son that wisdom and fear of the Lord go hand in hand, urging him to go beyond reverence for the Lord to trust. Trust is more than simply acknowledging that God is capable of handling life’s issues; trusting with one’s whole heart requires acting upon that knowledge in faith. It means accepting the Lord’s correction because He has full knowledge of the situation and knows how to clear the path for His child’s best interest. Only then will one find true wisdom and understanding, which are more valuable than the greatest earthly treasures.

How should I respond?

With what situation has God been asking you to trust Him? How can you know if you’re trusting in the Lord’s wisdom rather than your own? First, ask Him to reveal any area where you’re not yielding to His correction; godly wisdom is the result of obedience. Next, acknowledge God’s authority over your life and humbly seek His direction before taking each step. Every time you choose to trust the Lord, your understanding of how He works increases, and He receives glory for the results. A life of trust will produce a wiser, more peaceful you. What could possibly be more valuable than that?

Day 53- February 22

Proverbs 2

What does it say?

Wisdom comes to those who accept and apply God’s commands.

What does it mean?

Solomon told his son that gaining wisdom isn’t merely a mental exercise; it requires action. “If” he sought wisdom, “then” it would lead to understanding and work itself out in his behavior. Those who conduct themselves wisely are upright, blameless, just, and faithful. Wisdom is like a two-sided coin: it must be sought, but it is also a gift of God. The logical conclusion, then, is that wisdom comes by seeking God Himself, which results in living in His favor and presence. Seeking godly wisdom leads a person to others who are doing the same and leads away from those living foolish, immoral lives.

How should I respond?

As children we quickly learned that actions have consequences; if you touch a hot stove, then you get burned. People who loved us provided the knowledge that the stove was hot. Choosing to act with understanding by not touching the stove is wisdom. As we become more mature, God provides us with all kinds of knowledge about the “ifs” and “thens” of the world for both our physical and spiritual well-being. But choosing to act on the knowledge we gain is up to us. How would you describe your search for knowledge about God and His ways? The guidance and protection that result from God’s gift of wisdom come by diligently seeking Him and acting on what you learn.

Day 52- February 21

Proverbs 1:20-33

What does it say?

Those who reject wisdom’s correction will be destroyed by their own ways. However, listening to her advice brings safety and freedom from fear of harm.

What does it mean?

In the opening chapters of Proverbs, Solomon was teaching his sons how to live wisely. Here, he lays out logically the case for wisdom and warns of the consequences of rejecting it. First, wisdom is available to anyone willing to listen and respond. Next, since all wisdom comes from the Lord, one cannot be wise without having a personal relationship with God. Finally, accepting correction and acting on godly advice bring wisdom and will lead one away from harm. The person who ignores wise advice, however, will be haunted by their choices because a foolish decision cannot be undone.

How should I respond?

“If only”… we’ve all been haunted by those words at some point. If only we had listened. If only we had done things differently. Too often, we only want God’s input after our own ideas have fallen apart, and our plans end in disaster. We have to live with the consequences of our foolishness when we reject wise, godly advice. What foolish decision can you avoid by acting on God’s commands in Scripture? What godly person can you go to for wise advice? Living with no regret starts with having a vibrant relationship with Christ. Will you accept or reject His wisdom today?

Day 51- February 20

Proverbs 1:8-19

What does it say?

Instruction from parents is valuable, but evil influences lead to despair and ruin.

What does it mean?

God desires that parents diligently teach their children and point them to the Lord. Children would be wise to honor their parents’ godly influence and guidance in their lives. As children learn from their parents’ instruction, it brings honor to the children, the parents, and God. Listening to a parent’s counsel also provides a strong foundation of wisdom in every aspect of life. Solomon strongly warned against evil influences that will lead to a destructive lifestyle. Succumbing to the allure of sinful pleasures, dangerous influences, and greedy desires can lead to a pit of despair and ruin.

How should I respond?

God has set a high standard for parents to live out before their children. This requires intentional daily living that focuses on becoming godly examples that children can follow. As a parent, what areas in your life do you need to bring before the Lord, asking for wisdom and guidance? We can’t expect our children to live honorably before the Lord in areas where we have failed to follow Him. Thank God today for His warning in Scripture against evil influences. What temptations have you allowed to overtake your life because you failed to seek God’s direction or truth? Admit these areas of struggle before the Lord. He is ready and willing to come to your rescue and bring you out of a destructive path into a restored life with Him.

Day 50- February 19

Proverbs 1:1-7

What does it say?

The Proverbs of Solomon were written to offer words of wisdom that encourage a life of discipline, discretion, and prudence. Knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord.

What does it mean?

In the opening verses of Proverbs, Solomon stated his purpose and his audience. By thoughtfully reading these pages, every person has something to gain – regardless of age or level of knowledge. As king, he was teaching the Israelites to use good judgment in order to do what was right and fair in their daily interactions with one another. He stated that wisdom requires both knowledge and first-hand experience of the Lord. Therefore, wisdom starts by respectfully responding to God in obedience and worship. His conclusion? It’s foolish for anyone to reject the wisdom and discipline found in Scripture. It is wise to seek guidance and discernment for life.

How should I respond?

Wisdom is the process of knowing how to live out the truth that God gives in His Word. It doesn’t matter if you are young and impulsive or if you already have a measure of wisdom from years of living – Proverbs has something for you. Which quality in today’s passage are you in need of just now – wisdom, discernment, good judgment, discipline, or guidance? The starting point is approaching God and His Word with reverence and respect. The question is, “Will you embrace or despise what He shows you?”

Day 49- February 18

Job 42

What does it say?

Job recognized God’s sovereignty, repented of his presumptuous attitude, and obeyed God’s instructions to pray for his friends. He was given twice as much as he had before.

What does it mean?

Faced with devastating tragedies, Job struggled with what he had always believed about God. In the end, Job realized his arrogance and repented. God vindicated Job in the presence of his friends. It might have been tempting for Job to say to his friends, “I told you so.” However, God didn’t let that happen. God instructed Job to pray for his friends, releasing any bitterness that could have taken root in his heart. Job’s reward was not only his restored prosperity, but also restored faith in the God who loved him enough to give him a glimpse of the reality of who He is.

How should I respond?

In recent years, reality television programs with pseudo-experiences of “real life” have become increasingly popular. The book of Job, on the other hand, does give an actual look at real events experienced in real life. In the midst of tragedies, you might wonder, “Why?” No matter what the answer is, God wants to give you a greater understanding of who He is. In what situation are you questioning what God has allowed instead of humbly trusting Him? Submitting to Him – whether in a season of difficulty or in a moment of victory – changes you and helps you know Him better. That is reality.

Day 48- February 17

Job 40-41

What does it say?

God’s questions challenged Job to see his limited wisdom to administer justice and his limited power to handle powerful creatures, such as the behemoth and the leviathan.

What does it mean?

In a profound act of grace, God met with Job and gave him a chance to state his case. Admitting his unworthiness, Job stopped talking and started listening. God’s questioning helped Job see his inability to handle matters of justice for all the moral issues of the world. Job’s faith had wavered, and he needed a reminder that God always administers justice fairly. Instead of addressing the “why?” of Job’s trials, God appealed to his mind and heart with the rhetorical question, “Can you….?” No, Job could not – but he could rest in the wisdom and power of his all-sufficient Lord.

How should I respond?

God in His grace recorded Job’s experiences to help us understand that we may never understand some things in this earthly life. We often question why good people suffer, while evil people seem to prosper. At times we often wonder, “How did that person get that job, promotion, or recognition?” How has your faith wavered because life doesn’t seem fair? Remember, the final chapter of our lives is still in process. God does reward obedience – but not always on this side of life. Will you trust God’s promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)?

Day 47- February 16

Job 38-39

What does it say?

God broke His silence and questioned Job. The Creator of Heaven and earth responded by revealing details of His creation, not by giving a reason for Job’s trial.

What does it mean?

In this courtroom, God was Prosecutor and Judge. Rather than answer his multitude of questions, God asked Job questions, leaving him with no defense. God silenced Job’s wonderings by pointing out the wonders of His creation. Since God perfectly planned and sustains the universe, He could certainly handle Job’s life. God is accountable to NO man; His wisdom and sovereignty were all Job needed to know. Although Job might not have understood the mind or ways of God, he could know and trust Him. Job had been waiting for the answer to, “Why?” but the Lord responded with, “Who?”

How should I respond?

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty; there’s nothing my God cannot do!” This simple preschool song says it all. Our God, Maker of Heaven and earth, is at work in your life. His history of faithfulness should give you total confidence that He can handle whatever comes your way. When has the enemy tried to tell you differently? When have you felt all alone? You are not! God may not explain the reason for your pain, but He has already done so much more by revealing Himself in Scripture. Our all-wise Creator is at your side and invites you to know and trust Him. Will you?

Day 46- February 15

Job 35-37

What does it say?

God is great! Who can know Him? Elihu finished by declaring God’s goodness, justice, power, and sovereignty. Man cannot know or understand God’s ways or reasons.

What does it mean?

Elihu felt it was his duty to speak for God in order to help Job gain understanding. He believed Job was neither obedient nor repentant and that was why he was suffering. Elihu argued that Job wasn’t owed blessing for obedience because God is sovereign. Regardless of whether or not Elihu understood Job’s situation, he did understand some things about God’s person: the Lord is powerful, benevolent, just, and sovereign.

How should I respond?

Schoolteachers and parents alike often use rewards as positive reinforcement for right behavior. Likewise, rewards are withheld when a child’s actions are unacceptable. We come to expect rewards for doing what’s right, even from God. While obedience does bring blessing, we don’t always recognize how and why the Lord is directing our lives as He does. His blessing may come by withholding something you’re praying for earnestly. What painful situation might actually be God’s goodness in your life? What change are you resisting? Find peace in the confident recognition that God is in control. Remain obedient and look for His powerful, benevolent hand.

Day 45- February 14

Job 32-34

What does it say?

No matter what happened to Job, God was just, fair, and right in all He did.

What does it mean?

Job’s three friends seemed to give up on his admitting to some grave sin. Meanwhile, Elihu, a young bystander decided to convey his perspective on Job’s situation and his friends’ advice. He found holes in the arguments of both sides: Job placed blame on God, while the friends found Job guilty without evidence. There are different opinions as to whether Elihu was arrogant or had great insight for his age. Either way, he defended the character of God in the Lord’s silence. Elihu correctly argued that God could never act wickedly, pervert justice, or show partiality.

How should I respond?

We’ll never have all of the answers during life’s most difficult moments. But what do you do when God seems to be completely silent or inactive? Focus on His character traits while you’re waiting for Him to act. For instance, knowing that He is just will guard from saying, “It’s not fair” or “Why me?” What other attributes of God have you seen in Scripture? How do they relate to your current circumstances? What unanswered questions do you have today? Turn them over to your Lord and rest in knowing that He is just. Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14); He sees what you are going through.

Day 44- February 13

Job 29-31

What does it say?

Job reminisces about the honor and respect he previously had; then he reflects on his current state of misery, despair and abandonment, both spiritually and physically.

What does it mean?

Job was an upright man, held in very high regard in his community. He was wise, generous, and admired. Job was an advocate for the poor and helpless. He was in close communion with God and knew he was blessed. But when sudden tragedy came upon him, Job was scorned and ridiculed by the lowest of the low. He lost more than his physical possessions: he lost his place in society. Although Job knew God was there, he felt totally alone.

How should I respond?

Life can change in an instant. How blessed we are to have the Bible, rich in truth and full of promises when our world turns upside down. When have you experienced the lowest of lows? God may seem so far away, but He has promised never to forsake those who follow Him. Do you have friends or family members who are in the depths of despair? Don’t withdraw from them; be there to gently remind them of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Like Job, we may sometimes fall from the graces of others, but we cannot fall from the grace of God. You are not alone!

Day 43- February 12

Job 27-28

What does it say?

Job talked about the source of all wisdom and understanding. Man can search and find treasures deep in the earth more easily than he can find wisdom.

What does it mean?

Precious metals and gems have been desired for millennia. Man has gone to great lengths to uncover the hidden treasures God placed in the earth. Long before Solomon, Job posed the question, “Where can wisdom or understanding be found?” Certainly not in the depths of the ground or the sea, nor can it be bought with any amount of riches. The answer is given in verse 28. The fear of the Lord (respect and awe for the majesty of God) is wisdom and turning from evil is understanding. Job knew he needed wisdom and that God was its only source.

How should I respond?

How much money is enough? The world’s answer… just a little bit more. Yet no amount of money can buy wisdom or provide security. If people without Christ greedily long for more “stuff,” shouldn’t those who claim His name pursue wisdom? Truly seeking after God and trusting Him will put you on the path of wisdom. Seeking Him starts by studying His Word. What current situation has left you perplexed? What are you pursuing for the answer, more money or godly wisdom? Ask God for understanding as you study Scripture. A God-given “aha” moment is worth more than any treasure.

Day 42- February 11

Job 25-26

What does it say?

Bildad questions how any man can be righteous before God, who has dominion over everything. Job talks about man’s frailty and God’s power over His creation.

What does it mean?

This short exchange between Bildad and Job focuses on the power and majesty of God compared to man’s insignificance. In Bildad’s last words to Job, he tried to convey man’s complete unworthiness to question God’s justice. Job’s sarcastic response conveys how unhelpful Bildad’s words were at such a difficult time. Bildad chose to further humiliate his friend rather than encourage him in his frustration and despair.
Job’s response shows an understanding that God’s actions and power are incomprehensible.

How should I respond?

Our view of God is limited. We tend to think of Him in light of our current circumstances. We see God as either loving or just, but it’s difficult to understand that He is both, and so much more. How have your personal experiences skewed your thoughts about God? The best way to broaden your understanding is a commitment to study Scripture daily. Dig into His Word and ask God to reveal truths about Himself. Changing how you view the Lord will change how you see yourself and everyone with whom you come into contact.

Day 41- February 10

Job 23-24

What does it say?

Although he was terrified of what else God might have in his future, Job knew he would be delivered if he could find God and plead his innocence in person.

What does it mean?

God’s comments about Job are evidence of the close relationship they shared (Job 1:8). Nothing about Job’s character had changed, yet he felt as if a chasm had been placed between him and the Lord. But despite ominous circumstances and gripping fear, Job maintained his innocence as he laid out the case for God’s judgment on those who rebel against Him. Because he had enjoyed such close fellowship with the Lord, Job understood His character – God’s justice is certain, even if it seems delayed. So if Job deserved God’s righteous judgment, why was he still alive?

How should I respond?

Emotions are powerful. Anxiety and fear can rob your appetite and steal your sleep. You may be terrified of what else could go wrong and why God hasn’t already shown up to fix things. Such draining emotions can alter your sense of reality, creating a feeling of distance from the Lord. We know from Scripture, however, that God never changes and He never leaves us (Hebrews 13:5-8). Like Job, find strength by reminding yourself of what you know to be true. Ask Jesus to give you peace of mind to govern any turmoil in your heart. God created you with emotions, but never intended them to rule over you.

Day 40- February 9

Job 20-21

What does it say?

Zophar describes the future of the godless as filled with disgrace and disaster. But Job questions why God allows the wicked to live in prosperity and die in peace.

What does it mean?

Job saw the injustice of his own suffering compared to the seemingly long and peaceful lives of those who renounced God. He could not rectify Zophar’s speech regarding God’s punishment of wickedness with reality. If God is just, why did He allow wicked people to prosper while he suffered unimaginable pain? At the same time, Job recognized the limits of his understanding compared to God’s. Job was willing to accept that he didn’t fully understand God’s ways and pointed out that neither did his advisors.

How should I respond?

As soon as children can talk, they start asking questions; that’s how they learn and mature. The same is true of our spiritual growth. God is not afraid of or angered by our questions. Questions are fuel for spiritual maturity; they prompt us to seek answers. Thinking we have all of the answers, like Job’s friends, is misguided theology. What questions do you have for God? Honestly admit your questions to the Lord, and then dig into His Word to see what it says on the matter. Our finite thinking means we can’t possibly understand everything that God allows (Isaiah 55:8-9). But the more you learn about Him in Scripture, the more you’ll trust His character and understand His ways.

Further Reading: Job 22

Day 39- February 8

Job 18-19

What does it say?

Bildad concludes that a person in Job’s present condition must be evil. Job maintained his innocence and proclaimed God as both his oppressor and his Redeemer.

What does it mean?

Bildad tried to jolt Job into repentance by describing the fate of the wicked, which in his mind perfectly summarized Job’s current state. Job’s reply marks the depth of his despair followed by his greatest proclamation of God. At this, his lowest point, Job firmly believed that God had come against him and withheld justice. At the same time he ached for the day that God would stand as his Defender and tell the world of Job’s innocence. Job’s deepest despair inspired his deepest faith. No matter what God had allowed, Job was certain that only God could deliver and vindicate him.

How should I respond?

What allows a person to face life’s deepest despair with an equally deep faith? Recognizing the Lord for who He is – the only secure shelter during life’s roughest storms. Each of us must choose to either draw closer in faith or turn away from Him in anger. Allowing Christ to change your life prior to those painful moments makes turning to Him instinctive. That kind of trust floods your mind with peace and your heart with joy, which glorifies the Lord. How can you praise God today regardless of your circumstances? Will you join Job in declaring, “My Redeemer lives”?

Day 38- February 7

Job 17

What does it say?

Job declared that as a result of all he had lost, his spirit was broken. Job cried out to God for relief and expressed that his only hope was the grave.

What does it mean?

God had allowed Satan to take everything and everyone away from Job. All he had left was his physical existence, which was miserable and seemed to be coming to an end. Still, Job held strongly to his innocence and poured out his heart to God. The decimation of his plans for the future caused Job to be completely broken as he sank into depression. With every dream shattered, he saw no hope but to accept whatever future God had for him, even if meant a lonely grave.

How should I respond?

Life seldom turns out the way you think it will. We tend to cling to our own plans until we reach the end of our rope. God, however, is in the business of using broken people who are unconditionally surrendered to Him. Trading our own ideas for the unknown can seem terrifying when life throws us a curve ball. Surrender requires faith that God can make something good out of our shattered dreams. What future plans do you need to release to the Lord? As followers of Jesus, He alone is our hope. Are you willing to surrender to God in the same way that Jesus did saying, “Not my will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42)?

Day 37- February 6

Job 15-16

What does it say?

Eliphaz accused Job of being proud and made a case that Job deserved his lot because of his wickedness. Job responded to those who came to comfort him.

What does it mean?

Because Job knew his faith in God hadn’t faltered, his friends’ accusations were not comforting, but insulting. Job was distressed, humiliated, and despised by his community; relief was nowhere in sight. He believed God had caused his distress, although he couldn’t understand the reasons. Still, Job believed that God heard his cries and saw that his heart was humble. He firmly believed that God’s faithfulness was unwavering. Job’s only comfort was his belief that God could be trusted to intercede for him.

How should I respond?

What Job believed to be true, we know to be true. Jesus Himself intercedes for us from His throne in Heaven. Followers of Christ should pray for one another and offer comfort when we can. Our efforts, however, are limited by our humanity. Only Jesus – God with us – can intercede for us perfectly and continually (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Only the Holy Spirit – God in us – can provide perfect peace, comfort, and guidance through the storms of life (John 14:16, 26). What situation is causing you to grieve? To whom have you turned for comfort? Talk to God – there is no lasting comfort but His.

Day 36- February 5

Job 14

What does it say?

Job contemplated the brevity and difficulty of human life. He saw no hope for relief or restoration before his death.

What does it mean?

Complete and utter distress caused Job to look back on his previously blessed life as short and pointless. He viewed death as an end to his pain. Even though Job didn’t seem to have full knowledge concerning the resurrection of the body and the promise of Heaven, he knew God well enough to understand that He is able to do anything. Job briefly wondered about the possibilities of renewed life without misery or resurrection after death. He didn’t allow himself to wonder for long, though, before he blamed God for taking away any hope, dismissed the thought of recovering from his misery, and believed that only death could bring relief.

How should I respond?

As Christians, eternal life is our greatest hope and at times, our only comfort. What wonders await us once we are in the presence of the Lord forever, away from sin and sadness! Until then, we experience pain, loss, and loneliness; sometimes we struggle to maintain hope in the Lord. We must remember that God is able to do more than we could ever imagine (Eph. 3:20). During dark times, what He wants most is for us to trust Him and wait for Him. In what area of your life has your hope in God diminished? Talk to God in these moments, and ask for grace while you place hope in Him.

Day 35- February 4

Job 12-13

What does it say?

Job responded to his friends and prayed to the Lord.

What does it mean?

Job‘s friends repeatedly rebuked him and gave him no comfort or encouragement. He had reached the conclusion that their silence would be the best wisdom they could offer. He knew his only true and lasting comfort would be from God Himself. Even with all God had allowed to happen, Job continued to hope in the Lord. He decided to take his case straight to God instead of accepting the judgment of everyone around him. He wanted to speak to the Lord directly and longed to hear His reply.

How should I respond?

Many times the encouragement and answers we seek from friends may be limited or inappropriate. God is the only one who can give complete assurance. Perfect comfort requires a perfect Comforter. The Holy Spirit comes alongside us to give comfort so we will know how to offer the same to others in their times of need (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Where do you turn when a problem occurs: Do you turn to social media, call your friends, or take the issue to the Lord first? Intercessory prayer is good and necessary, but going directly to God offers direct comfort. In what situation do you need to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit? As you accept His comfort, you’ll be able to recognize and help others who need to do the same.

Day 34- February 3

Job 11

What does it say?

Job’s third friend, Zophar, called on Job to repent of his sin and stop mocking God.

What does it mean?

“The remarkable thing about Job is not that he overcame his circumstances but rather that he survived his counselors” – Dr. Paige Patterson. Just like the other two friends who lacked understanding and compassion, Zophar called on Job to repent of his sin. After telling Job to stop mocking the Lord, he went on to say that he deserved even more suffering than God had already allowed. Zophar’s emotional rebuke was filled with condemnation, and it ended with a severe warning. Sadly, Job’s friends were doing more harm than good.

How should I respond?

It’s important to pray and ask God for discernment before offering advice. Sometimes we offer our own opinions and thoughts rather than giving godly counsel from God’s Word. Are you helping your friends with the advice you give or adding to their problems? Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Ask the Lord to examine your heart and intentions before you speak. Then, rely on Him to give you the words to say. How might you have condemned or accused someone when you should have shown love and compassion? Based on today’s passage, what will you do differently next time?

Day 33- February 2

Job 10

What does it say?

Job pleaded with God. He wanted to know why God would create him just to punish him so severely.

What does it mean?

Job had reached the point in his suffering in which he began to question God’s faithfulness. He began to wonder if God was angry with him and thought it was good to oppress him. Even though he knew he served a just God, Job began to question His intentions for allowing the innocent to suffer while the wicked went unpunished. The faithfulness and goodness of God were hard for Job to see in his current circumstances. He felt as if the God he had always loved and served had betrayed him and was now his enemy.

How should I respond?

Have you ever suffered to the point that you began to question God’s goodness and faithfulness? Hebrews 10:23 tells us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” We can hold firmly to the promise that God is still faithful despite our health, circumstances, or bank account. Aren’t you glad that God’s faithfulness doesn’t depend on our amount of faith at any given moment? God remains faithful even when we are faithless. How will you trust in His faithfulness today?

Day 32- February 1

Job 8-9

What does it say?

Bildad encouraged Job to repent, asserting that God wouldn’t punish Job unless he or someone in his family had sinned. Job then responded to Bildad’s call for repentance.

What does it mean?

From Bildad’s point of view, Job showed disrespect toward God by questioning why he was suffering. Bildad couldn’t comprehend that God would permit the righteous to experience such pain. He felt that only those who sinned against God would be punished through suffering, so he urged Job to repent from his sin. Instead of encouraging Job to trust in God’s compassion and grace, he made accusations concerning Job and his family. Job couldn’t imagine how to prove one’s innocence to a Holy God. In his anguish, Job felt that he had been found guilty, and his only option was to plead with his Judge for mercy.

How should I respond?

As followers of Christ today, we also suffer, grieve, and even question. During our grief and suffering, we must rely on God’s mercy and grace. Mercy is best described as God’s not giving us what we deserve, whereas grace is God’s giving us what we don’t deserve. No one is holy or righteous enough to earn God’s favor. How have you tried to explain life’s ups and downs without regard for God’s grace? You can’t rely on your own goodness, but God’s grace is available to get you through any circumstance.

Day 31- January 31

Job 7

What does it say?

Job explained his restlessness, sharing details about the physical and mental suffering he was enduring. He asked why God was testing him every moment of his day.

What does it mean?

Job’s suffering was so multifaceted that he didn’t have a moment’s relief. Even if the physical pain eased enough to allow sleep, nightmares would awaken him. The effects of restlessness and hopelessness wracked Job’s body and emotions to the point that he begged God to leave him alone, if only for a brief moment. Job didn’t understand why God allowed him to suffer so greatly or why He wouldn’t at least forgive him of his sin and restore him. His only comfort was in knowing that one day he would die, and the suffering would end.

How should I respond?

Suffering will not always be understood on this side of Heaven. Some suffering is the result of natural consequences: fall off a roof, and you’ll likely break bones. But what about suffering that can’t be explained, as when a newborn baby dies? Unexplained adversities cause many to ask the age-old question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” How do you respond when God doesn’t give relief right away? Making the decision to love the Lord in spite of tragic circumstances is a matter of trust. Jot down ten things you know to be true about God’s character. When you can’t see what God is doing, you can always trust Him. Will you give Him your hopelessness today?

Day 30- January 30

Job 6

What does it say?

Job spoke to his three friends, asking them for comfort rather than arguments.

What does it mean?

When Job needed comfort, his friends poured salt into an open wound. His emotions erupted after being rebuked by Eliphaz. Job was ready for God to take him before he denied or spoke against the Lord. Job needed encouragement. He wanted his friends to simply be there for him. Had there been something Job could have done to end the suffering, he would have gladly done it. He needed companionship, but his friends had no understanding of what he was going through or how to help him.

How should I respond?

We often try to fix situations and even people. But despite our best intentions, we sometimes have no idea what to say to a broken-hearted friend. Sadly, you may have said the wrong thing when words weren’t really necessary at all. This week, allow God to use you as a friend who is willing to merely love and encourage someone else. You may be the only encouragement that person receives. Ask God to help you discern when to listen, when to speak, and when to just be there. You may be surprised to discover that your mere presence is enough.

Day 29- January 29

Job 4-5

What does it say?

In response to Job’s questioning of the Lord from Chapter 3, his friend Eliphaz mistakenly assumed that Job must have sinned and was being punished by the Lord.

What does it mean?

Job’s well-meaning friend Eliphaz talked with him about God’s holiness and righteousness, concluding that God is just and would not cause the righteous to suffer without a reason. From his viewpoint, God’s blessing was equated with righteousness, while suffering was related to sinfulness. Therefore, Eliphaz felt that Job must have sinned. While there are consequences to sin, not all suffering is the result of personal sin. The sheer presence of sin in the world has caused decay and death since Adam and Eve. Eliphaz had a hard time understanding how God could permit suffering without cause. He called on Job to repent from his sin so that God would restore him.

How should I respond?

We can all think of people who seem to prosper, despite their rejection of Christ. You may also be able to name friends who love and serve the Lord, yet they have had to suffer unimaginable pain. Some of them have deeply influenced our lives because they chose to praise God in spite of their suffering. What difficulty are you facing right now? Will you yield to God’s work in your life and choose to rejoice, knowing that God is using this time to strengthen your faith and draw you closer to Him (James 1:2-5; 12)?

Day 28- January 28

Job 3

What does it say?

In a speech to his friends, Job cursed the day he was born. But after all Job had suffered, he still refused to curse God.

What does it mean?

All of Job’s worst fears had come to fruition. While he didn’t turn his back on God, Job did question, “Why?” Why would God allow so much suffering in his life? His loss caused so much heartbreak that he longed for death and for the Lord to take his life. In overwhelming pain, Job even wished he had never been born. He wasn’t suicidal, just completely broken and ready for his heartache to end. The Lord, however, had other plans for Job and refused to let him die.

How should I respond?

Asking God, “Why?” is not sin. Life can be hard. Being broken before the Lord and crying out for answers and help are a normal part of handling suffering. How have you questioned something God has permitted in your life? Asking, “Why?” doesn’t mean you don’t trust God. It’s a simple admission that you don’t see the whole picture or understand why He is allowing your heartache. What questions do you have for God today? Why don’t you go ahead and ask Him? He may show you His purpose, or He may use your question to draw you into a deeper relationship with Him.

Day 27- January 27

Job 1-2

What does it say?

Job lost his possessions, children, and health as the result of two conversations between God and Satan in the heavenly realms.

What does it mean?

In the first two chapters of Job, two scenarios are taking place. Glimpses of Job’s life and character show how the Lord had provided for Job and blessed him with possessions and family. Appropriately, Job glorified God with how he lived his life. Even so, God permitted Satan to bring suffering into Job’s life. Once Job’s possessions, children, and health were gone, his wife encouraged him to curse God. God was not the source of Job’s suffering, but He did permit it. Job’s response was to bless the Lord regardless of his circumstances since God permits both good and bad.

How should I respond?

It’s difficult to understand suffering. However, we can rest assured that Satan’s power is limited to what God permits. What kinds of suffering has God allowed in your life? How have you responded? Has it drawn you closer to Him or pushed you away? Your ability to love and serve the Lord isn’t limited by your circumstances. Because He is eternal, God sees the whole picture: past, present, and future. You can learn from the past and try to understand the present. Jesus, however, is the sure hope for your future. Will you choose to trust Him with your circumstances today?

Day 26- January 26

Esther 9-10:3

What does it say?

The Jews defeated their enemies, and the Feast of Purim was established.

What does it mean?

A divine reversal of events occurred in today’s passage. On a day intended for the annihilation of the Jewish people, God’s redemption led to the destruction of their enemies, the very people who intended to destroy them. Many enemies of the Jews throughout Persia had been empowered by the edict from Haman. By allowing the Jews to defend themselves God brought judgment on their enemies in the region. Rather than a day of fear and mourning, the victory established a national day of celebration.

How should I respond?

Battles and warfare are common throughout Scripture. Many passages in the New Testament refer to the Christian life as spiritual warfare (Rom. 7:23, 2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:11-17, 1 Tim 6:12). While a spiritual battle is usually a difficult and unpleasant experience, it is the means by which God makes His power known to both His enemies and His children. What spiritual victories have you had personally? Why not take a day to celebrate these victories, to remember them, to recount them to friends and family, and to thank God for them? Do you have difficulty recalling any? Then begin with the day of your salvation, and celebrate God’s reversal of your personal destiny.

Day 25- January 25

Esther 8

What does it say?

Esther pleaded with the king on behalf of her people. Mordecai wrote a new law giving God’s people the opportunity to defend themselves.

What does it mean?

Mordecai had been spared, and Haman had been dealt with; but the Jewish people were still in danger. After Esther pleaded with the king on their behalf, an edict was drawn up to reverse the one Haman had written. Because Mordecai was given this responsibility, the Jewish people could read of God’s deliverance in their native language. While the law could not be overturned, the Jews were given the opportunity to defend themselves against their enemies. It brought joy and comfort to know that God had not abandoned them. He would give them strength to face their enemies.

How should I respond?

God has given us power and authority to overcome anything that wars against us spiritually. The death and resurrection of Jesus has already secured the victory, but the responsibility to submit to God’s Spirit to fight daily spiritual battles is ours. Many times we surrender to a defeated enemy. When a spiritual battle gets fierce or overwhelming, remember that God is with you. He will always give you the strength to stand when you rely on Him. What battles are you facing right now? What has God shown you through the study of His Word that can help strengthen you for the struggles ahead?

Day 24- January 24

Esther 7

What does it say?

Esther revealed Haman’s intentions to the king. Haman was sentenced to death and hanged from the very gallows he built for Mordecai.

What does it mean?

Esther had submitted to her role in God’s plan and waited for His timing. God knew the very moment to reveal Haman’s plot to the king. When Ahasuerus asked Esther during the course of the meal what her request was, she knew it was time. By exposing Haman’s hatred, Esther also had to make her own nationality very clear. She had no way of knowing if the king would be furious with Haman’s ambition or with her boldness. No doubt Vashti’s fate was still fresh in her mind. Esther’s choice to personally identify with God’s people showed courage and faith as she left the outcome in God’s hands.

How should I respond?

Taking a stand for God is never the wrong decision, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We can become so concerned with our reputation, ridicule, or even the end of certain relationships that we fail to speak up. With whom has God prompted you to talk about your faith? Are you hesitant to identify with other followers of Christ? Rather than worrying or becoming preoccupied with what other people think, obey and trust God to take care of you. Place your excuses before the Lord today, and ask Him to strengthen you. Christ will embolden you to say the right thing at the right time.

Day 23- January 23

Esther 6

What does it say?

When King Ahasuerus couldn’t sleep, he had the record of his reign read to him. After hearing of Mordecai’s actions, the king decided to honor him, humiliating Haman.

What does it mean?

God was behind the king’s sleepless night. He not only kept the king awake, but He led the king’s servant to the exact passage He wanted Ahasuerus to hear. This is pivotal, as it altered the course of events drastically over the next twenty-four hours. God was looking after His people in general as well as ensuring Mordecai’s safety and honoring his faithfulness. Of course, with Mordecai’s blessing came Haman’s public humiliation. Not only did Haman choose how to honor Mordecai, believing it to be for himself, but he was also responsible to see that it was carried out.

How should I respond?

God uses divine interruptions to get the attention of His people and to carry out His plans. These interruptions may come in the form of sleepless nights or occur in the middle of the day. Altering our perspective allows us to see these interruptions as possible interventions by God, rather than bothersome. How closely do you pay attention to “hiccups” in your day? Consider turning those times when you can’t sleep or when you’re stuck in traffic into prayer. God may use an unexpected change in your routine to pull your focus in a new direction. Today, pay attention!

Day 22- January 22

Esther 5

What does it say?

Esther invited the king and Haman to dinner. Haman plotted against Mordecai.

What does it mean?

While Esther’s position deepened her humility, Haman’s position exacerbated his pride. The invitation to join Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus for a private dinner puffed him up even more. Yet he found it difficult to enjoy his privileged position and wealth because the resistance of one man, Mordecai, consumed him. Haman’s discontent was so significant that his friends and family encouraged him to humiliate Mordecai and have him sentenced to death. At least then, he believed, he could find peace and take pleasure in his greatness.

How should I respond?

Humility is not a sign of weakness, but evidence that you are drawing strength from God. Pride is the opposite attitude, a resistance of the need for God in your personal affairs. Pride does not produce contentment, but an ever-increasing dissatisfaction with your current circumstances. There is no peace in an unending pursuit of personal satisfaction. Pride is destructive both personally and spiritually. In what areas of your life have pride and discontent started to take over? Ask God for help in shifting your perspective from reliance on your own ability to dependence on Him. Pride destroys, but humility produces greatness.

Day 21- January 21

Esther 4

What does it say?

The Jewish people were devastated by the news of Haman’s plot. Mordecai urged Esther to approach the king to plead for mercy.

What does it mean?

Fulfilling Mordecai’s request would put Esther’s life on the line. The Lord would deliver His people, whether she spoke up or not. Her courage to act came from knowing that God wanted to use her as part of His plan to rescue His people. She was not queen by accident or coincidence; God had positioned Esther for a purpose. Mordecai’s faith inspired Esther to remember God’s past faithfulness. She knew the value of seeking God and asked the people of God to join her in fasting and prayer. She took her requests to the King of kings prior to approaching her earthly king.

How should I respond?

As a follower of Christ, your life has purpose. Your position and circumstances aren’t coincidence or luck. God wants to use your life as part of His plan. The Lord will accomplish His purpose with or without us. However, He offers us the privilege of joining Him to be a part of something special. Finding the courage to be part of His work is the result of prayer and spending time in His Word. In what ways has God been asking you to join Him in His work? How are you allowing God to use your position, your relationships, or career opportunities? Like Esther, you may very well have been positioned “for such a time as this!”

Day 20- January 20

Esther 3

What does it say?

Haman was enraged that Mordecai refused to bow down to him. Haman used his position with the king to attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.

What does it mean?

Haman’s promotion came with the honor of having the king’s servants bow to him. As a Jew, however, Mordecai knew it was wrong to bow to anyone or anything other than the Lord. Even though the other servants questioned his decision and pressured him to bow to Haman, Mordecai stood firm. Then he went a step further by disclosing his reason: he was Jewish. Haman was furious with Mordecai’s resistance and determined in that moment to destroy all the Jews.

How should I respond?

One person can make a difference by taking a stand for God and truth. That kind of resolve can set the stage for Him to do something special, although it may initially cause conflict with others. How have you possibly compromised your beliefs in order to fit in? Have you chosen to say nothing rather than stand for godly principles? Resolve to make your commitment firm by asking God to provide you with strength and power as you study His Word and submit to the Holy Spirit. You won’t have to look far to find an opportunity to take a stand for Christ. How will you make a difference today?

Day 19- January 19

Esther 2

What does it say?

Esther was chosen to be the new queen. Her cousin Mordecai saved the king from a plot to take his life.

What does it mean?

The search for a new queen was a fearful and anxious time for the young women in Ahasuerus’ kingdom. They were involuntarily taken from their homes and sent off to spend the rest of their lives with hundreds of other women in the king’s harem. Despite the dire circumstances, Esther kept her composure, stayed humble, and listened to wise counsel – all of which led to her finding favor with the king. Life had taken an unexpected turn, but God was positioning her for His purpose.

How should I respond?

Unexpected and unwelcome changes often leave us asking, “Why?” A need for understanding can be a distraction from trusting God. Self-imposed pity parties about our circumstances pull our focus away from the Lord, causing us to miss what God is working out, both in us and through us. What situation in your life has you perplexed and asking God, “Why?” Take time to honestly talk with God. Then turn that question into “What?” or “How?” by asking, “What do You want to do in and through me? How can I glorify You with my response to these circumstances?” God may be using your circumstances to position you perfectly for His purpose.

Day 18- January 18

Esther 1

What does it say?

King Ahasuerus celebrated his power and wealth. Vashti was removed as queen.

What does it mean?

King Ahasuerus was a proud, quick-tempered man who celebrated his excessive wealth with extravagance. As the king of a vast empire, Ahasuerus was accustomed to controlling everything and everyone. Queen Vashti, however, refused to be controlled. There aren’t clear explanations as to why she refused the king’s order, but her actions breached both royal protocol and cultural etiquette. The king’s humiliation quickly turned to anger. Banishing Vashti from court and removing her as queen seemed the only way to salvage his reputation. Ahasuerus, once again, had the illusion of control.

How should I respond?

Pride often leads us to believe that we know what’s best. Like King Ahasuerus, we try to control our circumstances and the people around us. Manipulation of any kind shows a lack of trust in our sovereign God. What situation has sent you scrambling for a way to fix it? Who are you subtly attempting to control? Examine your plans and motives in light of God’s Word. Ask the Lord to reveal where you’re working toward a different set of goals and on a different timetable than His. Then give those areas over to God’s control.

Day 17- January 17

Nehemiah 13

What does it say?

Nehemiah addressed several areas of disobedience that had arisen among the Israelites in his absence.

What does it mean?

Upon his return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah was dismayed to find Israel’s devotion to God weakened. He immediately began to address each issue and reminded the people of their sacred promises. Nehemiah acted in obedience to God, regardless of who opposed him. He chose the unpopular path, rebuking his own countrymen, so that God’s law would be honored. He also seemed to understand that later generations would suffer if he chose to do nothing. Throughout the process, Nehemiah humbly asked God to remember his faithfulness and to have compassion on him.

How should I respond?

Many in today’s culture place far more importance on what others think of them rather than whether or not God is pleased with their lives. The approval you seek will determine the kind of influence you have. What kind of legacy are you leaving for those who follow behind you? Standing up for the truths of Scripture may not be popular in your home, workplace, or school; but the Lord honors those who honor Him. Ask God to show you areas of your life that need His correction so that you will leave behind a legacy of faithfulness and obedience.

Day 16- January 16

Nehemiah 12:27-47

What does it say?

Nehemiah and the Israelites completed the task of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and celebrated the event by offering a ceremony of praise to God.

What does it mean?

Consider how the odds were stacked against Nehemiah and the Israelites’ completing the wall. They returned from captivity to a devastated capital city. They were poor, outnumbered, and surrounded by violent enemies. The future of the entire nation rested on the success of this small band. Yet God’s provision was more than enough to ensure success. The people’s natural response was to give all the credit for that success to God. The celebration, which could be heard far away, spilled over into their daily lives as they gave generously to support the Levites and the temple services.

How should I respond?

Birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries are all reasons for celebration. Today’s passage reminds us that celebration is also in order when a God-given goal is completed. Like the Israelites, the focus of the celebration should be on God’s provision and enabling, not our own efforts. What task has God given you to do? How has He provided for your success despite the obstacles? Take time to stop and celebrate accomplishments at home, at work, and in ministry. If it has been some time since you last celebrated God’s unfailing goodness, today is a great day to start.

Day 15- January 15

Nehemiah 10:28-39

What does it say?

Nehemiah led the Israelites in making a vow to keep God’s commandments and properly support the temple.

What does it mean?

During their years of captivity, the Israelites had forgotten many of God’s instructions given through Moses. Under Nehemiah’s guidance, the Israelites again listened to the Law of God and made a vow to uphold His instructions in three distinct ways. First, they agreed to separate themselves from the influence of nations that did not follow God’s commands. Next, the Israelites agreed to resume all of the temple ceremonies and to keep them exactly as God instructed. Finally, even though they possessed little wealth, the Jewish people agreed to give their tithes generously to support the temple.

How should I respond?

Scripture teaches that there is a connection between spiritual health and commitment to the local church. Voluntary commitment to God’s house draws us closer to God and to each other. Giving of ourselves to support the church provides a common purpose and keeps our spirits healthy. How are you working with other believers to help your local church thrive? No sacrifice of time, talent, or money can compare with the spiritual benefits of obediently serving the Lord. Contact your church office staff if you’re not sure where to start – they will be happy to help you!

Further Reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26

Day 14- January 14

Nehemiah 9

What does it say?

The Levites led Israel in prayer – praising the Lord’s name, confessing their sins, and recognizing His faithfulness despite their continual disobedience.

What does it mean?

The grief Israel felt over their sin after reading the Book of the Law resulted in individual and corporate repentance. The Lord’s name and attributes were praised as the Levites offered thankful recognition of all that He had done for every generation of Israelites. The bulk of the prayer, however, is a confession of the nation’s long history of sin, which led to their present circumstances. Although enslaved in their own land, they asked for only one thing: that He would not regard their present suffering lightly. Even in “great distress” they focused on the greatness and faithfulness of their God.

How should I respond?

Reading Scripture and talking to God go hand-in-hand; one should naturally lead to the other. The prayer in today’s passage is a beautiful example for us to follow. Too often our prayers are so filled with asking for God’s provision and protection that we forget to thank Him for His faithfulness. But consider the other two parts of this prayer – praise and confession. How much time do you spend praising the name and character of the Lord? Try reading this passage as a personal prayer. Praise God for His attributes listed; then confess your own sins in place of Israel’s. Focus on His faithfulness today.

Further Reading: Nehemiah 10:1-27

Day 13- January 13

Nehemiah 8

What does it say?

The people of Israel worshiped the Lord and wept as Ezra read the Book of the Law of Moses. They then joyfully celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles.

What does it mean?

The walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt, but the spiritual condition of the nation still needed restoration. The people living in Jerusalem still had a Babylonian mindset from decades of captivity. The leaders rightly understood that God’s Word alone was the solution to Israel’s spiritual void. As Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Moses and the Levites gave instructions, those listening understood and grieved over their sinful condition. God’s Word is intended to instruct, comfort, and convict. But Nehemiah also wanted the nation to celebrate their renewed understanding and identification with their God – which was the entire purpose of rebuilding the wall.

How should I respond?

It’s nice to have well-maintained facilities in which to gather as a church. But the building only serves its purpose as we understand and respond to the clear teaching of God’s Word. Our initial reaction to the instruction, conviction, and comfort found in the Bible should be joyfulness. Even grief over sin is cause for joy; you can’t correct sin until you identify it. How are you actively going beyond the reading of Scripture? Do you attend a Life Group, weekly worship services, or read biblically sound books to increase your understanding? A correct response to Scripture is essential to spiritual growth.

Day 12- January 12

Nehemiah 6

What does it say?

Nehemiah’s enemies unsuccessfully tried to lure him away from his work and into harm. The surrounding nations became afraid when the wall was completed in 52 days.

What does it mean?

Sanballat and company had failed to stop the building of the wall, so they turned their attention to weakening or removing Nehemiah’s influence over the people of Jerusalem. Through repeated attempts they tried to discredit him and even threatened his life. Because Nehemiah was confident of the great work God had called him to do, he didn’t get distracted, try to defend his reputation, or run and hide. Instead, he stayed focused on the task at hand. God continually gave Nehemiah determination and discernment to see through their deceptive schemes.

How should I respond?

Satan will continually oppose anyone doing a great work for God. If he can discourage or discredit you, then the entire project is at risk. What “great work” has God given you to do? Raise children? Lead a class or ministry within your church? Don’t let fear or intimidation distract you from your God-given task. Like Nehemiah, be confident in the work God has given you to do and stay committed to its completion. Ask God for the discernment and resolve to go on with your work, regardless of the opposition you face.

Further Reading: Nehemiah 7

Day 11- January 11

Nehemiah 5

What does it say?

Nehemiah put a stop to slavery and usury between the Jewish people and refused to take the governor’s allotment. He remained devoted to building the wall.

What does it mean?

Nehemiah led by example. Completely devoting himself to God’s work, he determined not to use the privileges of his position at the expense of the people. He did not tax them for his support or take the food allotted to the governor. Others, however, had tried to gain financially from the economic misfortune of their countrymen. Nehemiah demonstrated an understanding of God’s love and concern for the poor and oppressed by pouring out that same love to other people. His example and urging led others to do the same. No doubt, Nehemiah had earned their respect by working alongside the other builders rather than simply overseeing the project.

How should I respond?

Make a quick list of qualities you expect a leader to have. Now, circle the ones that line up with God’s Word (e.g., honest, just, kind, fair). Which traits did Nehemiah model? We all have wonderful ideas of how leaders should act, but do we exemplify those same qualities in our own lives? As you look back over your list, put a check beside the qualities you possess. Although you may not be an elected leader, consider the areas of influence God has given you within your family, job, and community. Rather than use that influence for personal gain, ask God to help you be a servant leader today.

Day 10- January 10

Nehemiah 4

What does it say?

Nehemiah and his countrymen defended the wall against the threat of attack. They continued to build despite ridicule from their enemies.

What does it mean?

Nehemiah didn’t give in to ridicule, physical threats, discouragement, or fear. Instead, he reminded the people that the Lord, “who is great and awesome,” would fight for them and frustrate the plans of the enemy. Nehemiah kept the focus on the job God had given them to do. He and his workers continued to repair the wall as well as watch for enemy attack. Their diligent resolve and defense strategy ensured that God’s plan would prevail, regardless of opposition.

How should I respond?

What has God asked you to build? A family, business, or church? Satan still tries to sabotage us with ridicule, threats, discouragement, and fear. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since any eternal work for God will face opposition. Scripture gives us the enemy’s tactics and even tells us how to counter them (Eph. 6:10-18). Does your fear sometimes seem greater than your faith? How has ridicule or discouragement distracted you from building? You can take heart because God remains faithful. We need to remember who God is and resolve to defend our “wall.”

Day 9- January 9

Nehemiah 2

What does it say?

Nehemiah received permission from Artaxerxes, the Persian king, to go to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the city. He surveyed the walls before asking the officials for help.

What does it mean?

Nehemiah still carried the burden of Jerusalem four months after he first prayed about the condition of the city and his countrymen. God had been at work, orchestrating the exact moment for this conversation with Artaxerxes. During long months of prayer, God had placed a desire in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. He then answered Nehemiah’s prayer by giving him favor with the king, who agreed to provide supplies to help Nehemiah’s dream come to fruition. After arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah cast his God-given vision to those who could help it come about.

How should I respond?

God-given plans and provision are the result of diligently seeking Him in prayer. How often do you prayerfully look for guidance in God’s Word? The purpose of a God-given desire is to bring Him glory. When you are certain of what God wants you to do, you can also be certain that He will provide what you need to do it. Consider keeping a devotional journal to record how God directs you through Scripture. Then, jot down a prayer and watch for God’s timing. Just as He provided for Nehemiah, the Lord is also “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

Further Reading: Nehemiah 3

Day 8- January 8

Nehemiah 1

What does it say?

After receiving news that Jerusalem was in ruins and its inhabitants disgraced, Nehemiah confessed the sins of the nation and asked God for favor with the king.

What does it mean?

Nehemiah and many of God’s people were captives in Persia. Those who had been allowed to return to Jerusalem had intermarried with people from other nations and had taken on their pagan practices. This once great nation, a symbol of God’s richest blessings, had become a disgrace. Nehemiah’s immediate response to the condition of the city and its inhabitants was to mourn, fast, and pray. He confessed his own sin as well as that of his countrymen. Through it all, Nehemiah understood that God’s promises were still true and that restoration of God’s people was possible.

How should I respond?

You don’t have to look very hard to find stories of professing Christians whose lives have been turned upside down by sin and its devastating consequences. What is your initial reaction to another believer’s moral or ethical failure? When God reveals sin – anyone’s sin – our response should be sorrow and repentance. Not being heartbroken could be an indication that pride has deceived us into rationalizing our own sin. Instead, earnestly pray and ask God to reveal your shortcomings, claiming His promise of forgiveness. Then pray for the person who was caught in sin. Restoration is possible!

Day 7- January 7

Ezra 10:1-44

What does it say?

The Israelites who were guilty of intermarriage with pagan women confessed their unfaithfulness and made a covenant to separate from their pagan wives.

What does it mean?

There is no doubt that the decision to send away the pagan wives and children caused heartache and division. The Israelites were not banned from marrying women from other nations, as long as they had converted to the Jewish faith. However, God had specifically forbidden intermarriage with women who worshiped idols. Obedience was important for the nation to remain true to their worship of the Lord. Although these events in Jewish history are difficult to understand, the case-by-case investigations most likely determined which wives worshiped the Lord God of Israel and Him only.

How should I respond?

Dating websites match personalities, political opinions, and interests in order to make a connection. However, no connection is stronger than living for Christ. Sharing spiritual beliefs is vital to a healthy marriage. Because marriage is sacred to God, it should be to us as well. So, what should you do if married to an unbeliever? Scripture is clear and concise: the believing marriage partner is to do everything possible to preserve the marriage (1 Cor. 7:12-20). Let your obedience to God’s Word be a spiritual example and influence to your spouse. Pray daily that your spouse will see his or her sin and receive God’s forgiveness. It may be your influence that leads your mate to faith in Christ.

Day 6- January 6

Ezra 9:1-15

What does it say?

Ezra was told of the people’s disobedience regarding intermarriage with pagans. Grieved and distressed by what he heard, Ezra turned to the Lord in prayer.

What does it mean?

The law of God prohibited the Israelites from intermarriage with pagans (Deut. 7). Marriage is an intimate relationship. The religious beliefs, morals, and values of the husband and wife greatly influence their children. Marriage to women from nations that practiced idol worship would have lasting effects on Israel’s present families and future generations. It also put them in a dangerous position because intermarriage with pagans violated God’s law. Ezra understood the devastating consequences of breaking the Lord’s clear commands. Once again, the future of the nation was in God’s hands.

How should I respond?

It’s easy to think we can dabble in sin every once in a while without consequence. But this kind of thinking is dangerous. One sin inevitably leads to another and dulls the conscience. Before you know it, one act of compromise has pulled you into a lifestyle of sin. God’s warnings are His protection from sin and its consequences. What temptations are you currently facing? Have you resisted, or have you dabbled? Ask the Lord to show you any areas in which you’ve compromised. Then seek His forgiveness and turn away from the sin before you are caught in a cycle of disobedience.

Day 5- January 5

Ezra 7:1-28

What does it say?

God extended His favor to Ezra through King Artaxerxes. Ezra was granted freedom to return to Jerusalem to teach, lead, and govern the Israelites.

What does it mean?

Ezra made it a priority to study, obey, and teach the law of God. With God’s guidance, Ezra led the people spiritually. Artaxerxes saw this as an asset because he wanted to ensure peace throughout his empire. Israel would have no need to rebel against Artaxerxes when guaranteed the ability to worship the Lord without fear. Ezra’s diligence and obedience opened the door to religious freedom for God’s people. Once again, God used a pagan king to fulfill His purposes for Israel. In turn, God received glory and honor from His people.

How should I respond?

Reading the manufacturer’s instruction manual tells you how to operate your vehicle for top performance. In a similar way, God’s Word is the instruction manual from our Creator. The Bible is God’s infallible Word, written for our benefit. It contains everything we need to know about how to live obedient, productive lives. How faithful are you to study and apply God’s Word? The more you study Scripture, the more you’ll understand how to live to please the Lord. Then you will be prepared to lead and teach others. Study. Obey. Teach. How can you implement Ezra’s priorities in your own life?

Further Reading: Ezra 8

Day 4- January 4

Ezra 6:1-22

What does it say?

After confirmation that Cyrus had granted the Israelites permission to rebuild the temple, the work continued uninterrupted until it was finished.

What does it mean?

After 21 years, everything the people needed to resume their covenant relationship with God was finally restored. The rebuilding of the temple fulfilled the people’s need for proper fellowship with Him. They worshiped freely and celebrated the Passover in recognition of all that God had accomplished on their behalf. Even those who had stayed in Jerusalem during the exile and had taken on Gentile customs, once again separated themselves to the Lord. God’s people served and worshiped in His house, just as He had intended.

How should I respond?

Christians today gather in houses of worship all over the world. Although every church is unique, places associated with the name of Christ should share some of the same characteristics. When God’s house operates the way He intended, it becomes a place of joy. Your local church is a place to share and hear how God is working in the lives of His followers. The preaching of God’s Word brings repentance, spiritual rebirth, and recognition of His blessings and faithfulness. How are you giving your time and talents to God’s house? Your contribution may be just the thing that brings someone else joy.

Day 3- January 3

Ezra 4:1-5:17

What does it say?

The Israelites’ work was stopped briefly when they faced opposition, but the work resumed after Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people.

What does it mean?

When kings of surrounding enemy nations noticed the Israelite’s progress in rebuilding their temple, they became concerned. They feared the Israelites would be too powerful if the project were completed. Accusations were made, and the Israelites were challenged repeatedly to account for what they were doing. When work was stopped for a time, the enemies seemed to have succeeded. However, this reconstruction was vital to the people’s covenant relationship with God, and it had to be completed. Haggai and Zechariah’s encouraging words helped the Israelites continue the work regardless of what they were facing.

How should I respond?

Facing opposition should not come as a surprise when we we’re seeking to serve and honor God. Satan likes nothing better than to foul up anything we are doing that furthers God’s plans. What setback has discouraged you from following God’s will? It’s important to keep going. Continuing to work despite roadblocks now will make it easier next time. It will also give you the tools to help someone else in the same situation. Don’t give up! Your endurance through tough times may encourage someone else to keep going.

Day 2- January 2

Ezra 3:1-13

What does it say?

The Israelites took the first steps toward rebuilding as the altar and foundation of the temple were put into place.

What does it mean?

It may not have seemed like much to some, but an altar and a foundation were a good start. Yet even before the foundation of the temple was laid, the Israelites offered sacrifices on the altar and worshipped the Lord. He had been faithful throughout their exile and captivity, even though it was His discipline. He had not forgotten His people or His promises to them. Now their act of worship on the newly erected altar showed their desire to be His people. Although it was just the beginning, the Israelites were confident their God would faithfully dwell among them again.

How should I respond?

God’s faithfulness is not always seen in big miraculous events; it’s often the little things that have the greatest significance. God shows He’s with us every day in all types of ways. Sometimes we just fail to take notice. How has God been faithful to you this week? Did you give Him credit for the small victories or things that may seem to be only coincidence? How can you be more aware of His presence in your life? Consider journaling or even taking pictures to document how God is working. God’s faithfulness never changes. Like Israel, we have reason to be confident in the God we serve.

Day 1- January 1

Ezra 1:1-11

What does it say?

God moved the heart of Cyrus, the Persian king. A proclamation was issued allowing the Israelites to return from exile and to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

What does it mean?

Jeremiah’s prophecy of Israel’s release from captivity in Babylon was about to be fulfilled. Cyrus may have thought his proclamation and financial support were making it all possible, but God was once more using a pagan king to accomplish His plan. Without the temple there was no place to make atonement for sin through sacrifices. The lack of a sacrificial system had prevented the nation’s worship of God as defined by the Mosaic Law. It was time for the Israelites to return to their covenant relationship with God. Only the one true King could make that possible.

How should I respond?

No matter which political party you support, it is important to remember that our elected officials are not really in control. God still rules over them all (Proverbs 19:21; 21:1). It seems at times that things are a complete mess. The Israelites probably thought the same thing. But nothing that happened yesterday and nothing that will happen today or tomorrow are out of the realm of God’s knowledge or control. Scripture states that “every knee” will bow one day in recognition of God’s rule. Today, no matter what the news brings about the state of our world, take heart. Our King still rules!

Further Reading: Ezra 2

Day 365- December 31

2 Chronicles 36

What does it say?

After Josiah’s death there was a succession of evil kings. Despite God’s repeated warnings, the people turned away and were taken away into captivity.

What does it mean?

King Josiah’s life was dedicated to the spiritual restoration of God’s people. After his death, the nation lived under a succession of kings who did evil in the Lord’s eyes. God chose to respond with grace in the face of open, defiant sin. Even so, the people wouldn’t listen. The compassionate God, who very much wanted a relationship with His people, could no longer refrain from discipline. The punishment was severe but necessary to preserve His Name, the integrity of His chosen people, and His promise of a Messiah.

How should I respond?

How often is your first response anger rather than compassion? It can seem almost justified in the face of a great offense. But reacting in anger is not what God desires nor does it reflect His character. In what situations do you need to be more longsuffering with others as God was with Israel? How often has the Lord given you multiple chances to obey in areas regarding your thought life, entertainment choices, or sinful attitudes? God desires for His followers to show the same grace and mercy that He has shown to them.

Day 364- December 30

2 Chronicles 35

What does it say?

Josiah led his people to celebrate the Passover as the nation remembered what the Lord had done for them in years past.

What does it mean?

The nation of Israel had long forgotten the Passover and their obligation to observe it. Now, energized by the re-discovery of the law, the people came together for a celebration so grand that its equal could be found only in Israel’s distant past. Specific attention was given to every detail. Most significant, however, was the fact that the celebration far exceeded the requirement of the law. Rather than observe Passover as a mere duty or ritual, the nation showed fervor and excitement in thanking God for His miraculous work. The people finally showed the passion for God He so richly deserved.

How should I respond?

In the busyness of life it can be easy to take for granted all that God has done for us. Even the observance of holidays can be more about obligation and less about remembrance and reflection. Simply going through the motions can rob us of the joy associated with special days. Have your holidays been a time of thankfulness and celebration? As you approach a new year, stop to reflect on how much you have to be thankful for. Make a list and set aside time specifically to praise and thank God. This year, recapture the joy of celebrating what He has done!

Day 363- December 29

2 Chronicles 34:14-33

What does it say?

Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law during the rebuilding of the Temple. As a result, the people began to deal with their longstanding disobedience.

What does it mean?

God’s people were so far removed from obedience that they had even lost the sacred law He gave them to live by. The Book of the Law was the heartbeat of the nation and its discovery sent shock waves throughout the kingdom. This momentous occasion humbled the people and reminded them of a long-forgotten truth: God always requires obedience to His commands. With the re-institution of the practices of the law, restoration of the kingdom began. The people could finally worship and obey God the way that He desired.

How should I respond?

Being confronted with our own disobedience can be sobering – especially when we weren’t aware that we were doing wrong. However, a lack of awareness does not absolve us of our responsibility. God has given us His Word to teach us what He requires. Also, He has given us the Holy Spirit to instruct us and give us the power to do what is right. How diligently do you search Scripture to learn God’s character and His commands? Are you hoping to find leniency through simple ignorance of God’s Word? It is impossible to live an abundant, fruitful Christian life apart from God’s revelation of Himself through the Bible. What affect will Scripture have on you today?

Day 362 – December 28

2 Chronicles 34:1-13

What does it say?

For 31 years Josiah reigned in Jerusalem and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He cleansed the land of idols and restored the temple.

What does it mean?

For many years the kings of Israel led the nation into various forms of idolatry. The landscape, once defined by the unmatched splendor of the house of God, was now littered with idols and pagan altars of worship. Josiah’s radical approach to the elimination of these abominations showed that his heart was dedicated to ridding the nation of anything that offended God. But true change meant not only the complete elimination of everything that drew the people away from God but also the restoration of the only legitimate house of worship – the temple of the Lord.

How should I respond?

Dealing with spiritual distractions can be difficult. It’s easy to believe that ignoring them is enough. Like Josiah, we need to recognize that any form of sin that isn’t completely removed represents a future opportunity to sin. What temptation needs to be removed from your life with the focus and intensity shown by Josiah? Any habit you remove needs to be replaced with a new one: set aside time for daily Bible study and prayer, join a small group, or find a place to volunteer in your church. Though this kind of commitment is challenging, the effect on your relationship with God will be life changing.

Day 361- December 27

2 Chronicles 33

What does it say?

Manasseh led Judah into more evil than the nations God had destroyed before them. But Manasseh humbled himself before the Lord after he was taken prisoner by Assyria.

What does it mean?

Manasseh thought he could live any way he chose. But God loves His children too much to allow open rebellion against His name and against what is best for them. By disregarding God’s correcting words, Manasseh also rejected God’s promises and His presence. So the Lord brought about the most humbling circumstance possible in the life of a king – being led away captive by a hook in his nose. It wasn’t until Manasseh hit rock bottom that he sought the Lord. However, Manasseh’s repentance couldn’t wipe away years of influence, and his son Amon continued his evil lifestyle as king.

How should I respond?

God’s Word provides us with comfort and reveals His character and promises. Scripture also convicts us of sin, pointing out where we’re out of sync with God’s expressed will. When we disregard His Word and choose sin over obedience, God may allow difficult circumstances to grab our attention. The allure of sin can be so strong that we often don’t look to Him until other things have been taken away. Have you tried to ignore the Lord’s correction in your life? Humbly ask His forgiveness right now, change your course, and experience His presence. Why wait for Him to humble you?

Day 360- December 26

2 Chronicles 32:24-33

What does it say?

Hezekiah repented of pride after the Lord miraculously answered his prayer to save his life from a serious illness. God tested Hezekiah’s heart after he had succeeded at much.

What does it mean?

Even though Hezekiah ruled over Judah as a godly king, he struggled with pride. After all, his wealth required great storehouses. Also, the Lord had given him a miraculous sign that his life would be extended 15 years after his life-threatening illness (2 Kings 20). It was evident to all that Hezekiah was blessed and protected by his God. But the Lord withdrew His Spirit from Hezekiah when he displayed to envoys from Babylon all the treasures of his storehouses, revealing a foolish and prideful heart. Hezekiah came face-to-face with the reality of who he was without the Lord’s wisdom and guidance.

How should I respond?

Your Achilles heel may not be pride, as Hezekiah’s was, but we each deal with some kind of sin issue that tends to bubble to the surface repeatedly. Without the guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit, that sin could subtly take control – even while you are successfully serving the Lord. So how can you protect yourself from yourself? First, recognize the issue, and call it what it is – sin. Then, submit your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit daily, asking God to convict you when you’re out of step with Him. Ask His forgiveness and move on.

Day 359- December 25

2 Chronicles 32:1-23

What does it say?

Assyria invaded Judah and compared the Lord to the gods of other conquered nations. God annihilated their forces after Hezekiah and Isaiah cried out to Heaven for help.

What does it mean?

It’s interesting to note what King Hezekiah did as he faced the greatest challenge of his reign. First, he consulted with his officials and officers to secure the city. Next, he took time to encourage the people by reminding them that Assyria’s vast army was powerless against the Lord God. Then, with the prophet of the Lord at his side, Hezekiah cried out to God – the One insulted by Assyria’s blasphemous words. Hezekiah planned and worked as if everything depended on him, but he trusted and prayed as if everything depended on the Lord.

How should I respond?

We each have a crisis mode that kicks in when things start to go wrong. The people we surround ourselves with during those moments may determine how well we handle the situation. First, ask God to direct you to people who are knowledgeable about your particular challenge and can lay out practical steps of action. Next, don’t forget to encourage others who are facing the crisis with you. Reminding them that God is in control keeps you focused on Him as well. Finally, and most important of all, confide in a godly prayer partner. Unlike those outside of Christ, you can have full confidence in the power of God to see the situation, hear your prayers for help, and act on your behalf.

Day 358- December 24

2 Chronicles 31

What does it say?

The people responded generously to Hezekiah’s command to contribute to the temple. He was obedient to the Lord, leading the people to do what was good and right.

What does it mean?

Hezekiah’s life was changed as a result of experiencing the presence of the Lord in worship (2 Chron. 30). Spiritual revival continued in Judah because they finally had a king who desired to serve the Lord. Judah’s revival was more than a temporary emotional high. The results were evident in Hezekiah’s life. He was obedient to God’s laws and commands, faithfully doing what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord and wholeheartedly seeking God in every undertaking. As Hezekiah led by example, the people responded immediately and generously.

How should I respond?

At some point, you may have come home from a church camp or retreat with new spiritual fervor, but what were the results months later? Experiencing the presence of God results in lasting life change. Are you currently in need of spiritual renewal? Take a quick inventory: (1) How obedient are you to God’s commands in Scripture? (2) Do you follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting to do the right thing, even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable? (3) How much time do you spend wholeheartedly seeking the Lord before starting a new venture? True revival is a change in perspective about God that brings lasting effects to every aspect of our thinking and behavior.

Day 357- December 23

2 Chronicles 30

What does it say?

Hezekiah challenged the people to return to the Lord and celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. Many ridiculed the invitation, but a large crowd celebrated for 14 days.

What does it mean?

Hezekiah wanted everyone to have the joy of restored fellowship with the Lord that he had experienced when the temple was reopened. There were three responses to his Passover invitation. Some ridiculed the message and quickly discarded the idea while others humbly came. But the people of Judah who had witnessed the temple opening overwhelmingly followed the Word of the Lord as given by their king. The result was the greatest spiritual revival since the days of Solomon. They were so accustomed to living a disobedient lifestyle that they had forgotten the joy and fulfillment of living for God.

How should I respond?

Our country is in desperate need of spiritual revival. We’re quick to agree that those outside of Christ live in disobedience to God, but what about those of us who claim to follow Him? The word “revival” implies a renewed interest, giving God our full attention. So what does it take to experience spiritual revival? We have to be challenged by the truth of God’s Word and respond with genuine repentance in areas of unfaithfulness. Those who mock God’s invitation to live in obedience sadly miss the joy of genuine worship and unity with other believers. What area of your life is in need of renewed spiritual attention? Respond to God’s invitation and start a personal revival today.

Day 356- December 22

2 Chronicles 29

What does it say?

Hezekiah consecrated the temple and reestablished its service when he became king.

What does it mean?

Hezekiah chose to serve the Lord even though Ahaz his father had never offered a godly example. The young king recognized the correlation between Israel’s past unfaithfulness and its present captivity. Hezekiah’s first priority as king was to restore Israel’s house of worship and reestablish sacrifices and offerings in the temple. But no one could approach the Lord until the priests removed the impure items and consecrated the articles Ahaz had removed from the temple for use in the worship of false gods. Hezekiah led the people in the longest period of obedience in the Old Testament.

How should I respond?

Our families play a huge part in the people we become. However, the ultimate responsibility for choosing whether or not to follow Christ rests on each one of us. The Lord will never force you to be faithful or obedient to Him. What is hindering you from following and worshiping God? Have you accepted Christ’s sacrifice for you? If so, your body is the temple of the Lord. What areas of your temple have fallen into disrepair? What needs to be cleaned out and replaced with things that honor and please Christ? Not only will your personal choice to follow Christ be a benefit to you, it can also have a huge influence on others. What example will you set? The choice is yours.

Day 355- December 21

2 Chronicles 28

What does it say?

King Ahaz did what was wrong in the eyes of the Lord, so God handed Ahaz and his army over to his enemies. However, his enemies were also rebuked for their sin.

What does it mean?

Israel and Judah had become enemies, even though both nations were God’s people. While God used Israel to punish Judah for their sin, Israel was not much better. After their military victory, Israel went too far by enslaving the women and children of Judah. God never intended for His people to enslave one another. This kind of behavior shows up over and over in the Old Testament; God would raise up an enemy to punish His people, but then the enemy nation would grow prideful and take their vengeance too far.

How should I respond?

Do you gloat when your enemies are in trouble? Do you smile when someone who has been unkind to you is hurt in some way? God will ultimately bring justice, but for now, He calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:43-48). Instead of wishing them harm, pray that God would help them see the truth and do what is right. The greatest stories of people’s lives being turned around often begin with unexpected forgiveness and end with a complete spiritual transformation. Forgive others the way you would want to be forgiven (Matt. 18:21-35).

Day 354- December 20

2 Chronicles 27

What does it say?

Jotham did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, so God blessed Jotham as he began a rebuilding program and subdued the Ammonites.

What does it mean?

The biographers of the kings of Judah and Israel rated the kings according to the degree that they did what was right in the Lord’s eyes. Even the most successful kings tended to fall short when it came to tearing down the places of idol worship in the highest hills in the country. From the short account of Jotham’s reign in this chapter, we see that overall, Jotham did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, but the people continued to worship the idols of the foreign gods in the high places. Even while God blessed Jotham’s rebuilding and military efforts, God was displeased with His people’s idolatry.

How should I respond?

What would a short biography of your life include? Would the writer find you fully pursuing God? Would there be evidence that God blessed your pursuit of Him? Spend a few minutes taking a “spiritual inventory” of your life. What areas of compromise do you need to bring before the Lord in prayer? Talk to Him about it humbly and sincerely. Ask God to help you turn that part of your life around so you can follow Him without wavering. Choose to live today as if every motive and action were recorded for posterity.

Day 353- December 19

2 Chronicles 26

What does it say?

King Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. God blessed Uzziah, and he prospered. However, when Uzziah grew prideful, God humbled him with a skin disease.

What does it mean?

Uzziah (also called “Azariah” in 2 Kings 15:1-7) followed God’s ways, so God blessed him with a long, successful reign of fifty-two years. He subjugated four enemies, promoted farming in the hills and fertile plains of the land, and built up military defenses to strengthen the land. However, Uzziah’s success led to arrogance, and his arrogance led to his downfall. When he usurped the duties of the Levitical priests in the Temple, God caused Uzziah to develop a skin disease, which made him unclean to be in the Temple or even near his people.

How should I respond?

It feels great when we are following the Lord, and things seem to be going right for us. Today’s passage serves as a warning against arrogantly thinking that we are the cause of our own success. James reminds us that every blessing is from God (James 1:17). Therefore, we ought to be thankful to Him for every good thing that happens. Think about the blessings in your life. Each time God brings one to your mind, say, “Thank you, Lord, for ________.” Keeping a gratitude list will guard your heart from pride and arrogance. Start your list now with at least five things you are thankful for.

Day 352- Decemeber 18

2 Chronicles 25

What does it say?

Amaziah, the ninth king of Judah, ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years with half-hearted service to the Lord.

What does it mean?

The kings of Judah were praised when they followed the Lord, but God punished the kings who worshiped idols, as Amaziah did with the Edomite gods he brought to Jerusalem. God used prophets to instruct Amaziah in His ways, but in the end, Amaziah struggled with pride and lost focus on what God had planned for him. By the end of his reign, the walls protecting the capital city of Jerusalem had been torn down, and Amaziah was assassinated.

How should I respond?

God has put all of us in authority over something (a company, a family, or even our own property). He expects us to be responsible with what we have and show Him thankfulness as we discover how to take care of the resources and people He has entrusted to us. Think of three things, people, or groups God has given to your care. What resources has He supplied for you to use? Who can advise you about how to move forward? Today, thank God for what He has placed under your authority. Then ask Him how you can best take care of them. He will supply everything you need to do the job well.

Day 351- December 17

2 Chronicles 24:17-27

What does it say?

King Joash abandoned God, and his life ended at the hands of his own officials.

What does it mean?

King Joash’s devotion to God quickly vanished after the death of Jehoida, the High Priest. In the absence of his mentor, Joash was easily swayed by the influence of the wrong people. He “listened to them” and stopped listening to God. Rather than standing strong in his faith, he chose to disobey the Lord and worship other gods. As a result, the peace Joash had grown accustomed to ended. God mercifully reached out to Joash, warning him of the consequences of his sinful actions. But Joash ignored God’s words.

How should I respond?

Healthy relationships are marked by a desire to please one another. The same is true of your relationship with Christ. Beware of any influence that encourages thoughts and actions that displease the Lord. God will do whatever it takes to draw you back, but He will not force you to obey. To what wrong influences are you listening? What sin have you allowed to create a barrier between you and God? Remember, the depth of your faith is measured by your level of obedience.

Day 350 – December 16

2 Chronicles 24:1-16

What does it say?

Joash repaired the temple and served the Lord during Jehoiada’s lifetime.

What does it mean?

Joash trusted Jehoida and was heavily influenced by his guidance. However, their relationship was tested when Jehoiada was slow to act on Joash’s command to collect money for the temple renovation. As High Priest, Jehoiada’s response was crucial to the success of the project. In fact, it was Jehoiada’s influence that led to Joash’s desire to please the Lord in the first place. Joash’s willingness to confront his mentor led to overflowing generosity by the people and the fulfillment of God’s plan to repair His house.

How should I respond?

Who are the trusted influencers in your life? How do you respond when one of them doesn’t agree with where God is leading you? It takes courage and discipline to slow down and seek God’s direction. It is important to seek godly counsel, but ultimately you must listen for God’s voice. How is the Lord using Scripture to guide you? How much time do you spend in prayer, aligning your heart to His? Be thankful for the godly influences in your life but recognize that they are only human. God is the only One who sees the big picture and knows the path He has planned for you.

Day 349 – December 15

2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21

What does it say?

Athaliah attempted to kill all the royal heirs, but Joash survived and was anointed king. Athaliah was killed.

What does it mean?

Athaliah wasted no time grieving the loss of her son Ahaziah, even though it was her influence that led to his failure and death. She was even willing to take the lives of her own grandsons in order to seize the throne. By contrast, Jehoida courageously risked his life to anoint Joash king. Athaliah sought her own agenda, refusing to humble herself before the Lord; but she was powerless to stop God’s plan. Athaliah’s desire for power ultimately resulted in her death, whereas Jehoida’s trust in the Lord restored the line of David to the throne and led the people to renew their commitment to follow God.

How should I respond?

You decide each day whether to further your own agenda or follow God’s will. It’s tempting to take control of situations and manipulate circumstances to achieve your own goals. God’s Word reminds us in Proverbs 19:21 that only His purposes will prevail. Whatever you attempt apart from His plan will ultimately fail. How has God confirmed that your choices align with His will? Which desires fall outside the boundaries of His plan? Promoting your own agenda will eventually lead to compromise and harm. Instead, you can take part in accomplishing God’s purposes. What are you willing to risk?

Day 348 – December 14

2 Chronicles 22:1-9

What does it say?

Ahaziah became king after his father’s death. He was killed by Jehu after reigning in Jerusalem for one year.

What does it mean?

Today’s passage points out the power of ungodly influences. Ahaziah was aware of the painful death of his father, as prophesied by Elijah. He saw firsthand the results of rebellion against the Lord. Yet when he came to the throne, he chose to follow the wicked counsel of his mother and his father’s idol worshiping advisers. Although he was a young man, Ahaziah was old enough and had enough power to choose humble obedience to the Lord. Following ungodly advice was his undoing, making Ahaziah merely a footnote in Judah’s history.

How should I respond?

Following ungodly advice will always weaken your relationship with God, but wise, godly counsel will strengthen it. A Christian, by definition, is one who follows Christ. As such, we need to be careful from whom we seek guidance. To whose voice have you been listening? Is that person following Jesus or the whims of popular culture? Ask God to show you where to seek counsel regarding your family, job, or decisions on the horizon. Then, always check any advice you receive with Scripture. Any influence that opposes God’s Word will contribute to your undoing instead of God’s blessing.

Day 347 – December 13

2 Chronicles 21:4-20

What does it say?

Jehoram became Judah’s king, murdered his brothers, and did not obey the Lord. Elijah told Jehoram he would lose everything. He died a painful death, to no one’s regret.

What does it mean?

Jehoram desired to be king no matter the cost. His lust for power caused him to lose sight of what was most important … people. His willingness to murder his family shows just how dark and hard Jehoram’s heart had become. He seemed to get away with his sin, even after God warned him and gave him time to repent. Yet God never goes back on His word. Jehoram lost not only his family and the respect of his people but also the only things he seemed to care about: his throne and his power. In the end he died in disgrace. No one mourned for him. No one missed him.

How should I respond?

If you had only a minute to evacuate your home, school, or business, what would you take with you? Most of us would focus on getting our family and friends to safety. From time to time, however, we all take for granted the people God has placed in our lives. Tunnel vision regarding personal goals or material desires causes us to forget that only relationships can be taken to Heaven with us. This week, how have you treated those who matter most in your life? Have your words and actions demonstrated how valuable they are to you? Today would be a good time to remind them.

Day 346 – December 12

2 Chronicles 20:31-21:3

What does it say?

As Jehoshaphat’s reign came to an end, he made an alliance with Ahaziah, the wicked king of Israel. The Lord allowed the trading ships they built to be destroyed.

What does it mean?

Jehoshaphat was a faithful king regarding his commitment to God. But near the end of his reign, Jehoshaphat entered into a business partnership with Ahaziah, which displeased the Lord. Instead of joining God in the work He was doing, Jehoshaphat was distracted by an alluring venture to build a fleet of trading ships. Jehoshaphat’s unwise alliance with a wicked king brought God’s judgment: the ships were destroyed before they ever set sail. As a result of his failure to trust and obey God, valuable resources and time were wasted.

How should I respond?

Even the most committed followers of Jesus can get distracted with projects or busyness that God never intended them to take part in. He asks us to join Him in His work, but often we decide to start our own venture and just ask His blessing on it. Don’t be fooled – these are very different things. God-honoring work originates with God. Any project in which God is an after-thought is a cause for concern. What dreams or projects do you envision for the future? Which category do they fall into – joining God or asking God to join you? Ask God to reveal where in His work He wants you to join Him.

Day 345 – December 11

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

What does it say?

While Jehoshaphat and the people worshiped the Lord, He destroyed the enemies surrounding them.

What does it mean?

In a moment of crisis, Jehoshaphat immediately went to God. By humbly and openly admitting that he didn’t know what to do, he caused the entire nation to look to the Lord. After reminding everyone of God’s character, promises, and commitment to them, the Lord sent His answer, “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” The Lord could have won the victory with Jehoshaphat’s army safely inside the city, but He instructed them to “take [their] positions; stand firm” and “go out to face them.” There was no need to fear because the Lord was with them. They saw the answer to their prayers, firsthand.

How should I respond?

There are moments when we feel powerless and have no idea what to do. We can choose to look frantically for solutions or we can humbly turn to the Lord. How are you handling the current crisis in your life? Is your focus and trust centered on Christ, or is your energy diverted by fear, anger, and worry? Take a moment to reflect on the character of God. Praise Him for who He is. Thank Him for how He has helped you in the past and acknowledge His sovereignty over the crisis at hand. God can do more than we can ever hope or imagine. Stand firm and listen for His guidance. Give Him your fear, and He’ll help you face the problem. Your battle belongs to the Lord!

Day 344 – December 10

2 Chronicles 19:4-11
What does it say?

Jehoshaphat brought the people back to the Lord and established a team of judges.

What does it mean?

Jehoshaphat saw the need to establish a strong judicial system in the cities throughout the land. He didn’t focus on political strategies or crisis management. Instead, Jehoshaphat chose to focus on a policy that would result in true justice for God’s people. The judges he appointed must not be swayed by bribes, public opinion, or personal endeavor; their judgment must be fair and honoring to the Lord. The reason? With God, “there is no injustice, partiality, or bribery.” Jehoshaphat was freeing the judges from the need to please others and allowing them to focus their energy on making decisions that would please God.

How should I respond?

The desire to please important people in our life is a natural human response. The motivation can be as innocent as a child striving for the favor of a parent, or it can be the self-serving goals of an employee trying to earn the favor of a boss. God wants us to be free of the need to please and to embrace the opportunity to live completely for Him without distraction. Sooner or later, living solely to please others will dishonor the Lord. What decisions in your life are controlled by trying to please someone else? Talk candidly with the Lord about what will best please Him. He will listen. He will free you.

Day 343 – December 9

2 Chronicles 18:28-19:3

What does it say?

Jehoshaphat and Ahab ignored Micaiah’s prophecy and went to battle against the Arameans. Ahab died, but Jehoshaphat was spared.

What does it mean?

Jehoshaphat made an ungodly alliance with Ahab. Micaiah’s prophetic warning should have caused him to rethink his decision. Instead, Jehoshaphat went forward even when Ahab suggested he wear royal attire into battle, making him the target of the enemy’s attack. It was only by God’s mercy that Jehoshaphat survived. However, God didn’t allow his foolishness to go without rebuke. His encounter with the prophet Jehu was a reminder that his choice was wrong; he should have paid attention to God’s warning signs. The loving rebuke encouraged Jehoshaphat to continue seeking the Lord.

How should I respond?

Stop signs, yellow lights, and orange cones warn us of potentially dangerous road conditions. You wouldn’t ignore those signs, would you? Likewise, we should pay attention to God’s warning flags. They are meant for our protection. Scripture gives specific instructions on actions to avoid and qualities to develop. The Holy Spirit also works in your heart to guide you when issues are not as clear. Do you have an uneasy feeling about a decision? Does the path seem blocked? Has someone you trust spoken up? Pay attention! God may be trying to steer you away from a dangerous situation.

Day 342 – December 8

2 Chronicles 18:1-27

What does it say?

Ahab and Jehoshaphat inquired of Ahab’s prophets before going to battle.

What does it mean?

It wasn’t unusual for a king to seek the advice of prophets or other counsel before making important decisions. However, Ahab had surrounded himself with prophets who told him only what he wanted to hear. He rejected Micaiah’s previous prophesies because they didn’t align with his personal desires. It’s not clear why Micaiah initially agreed with the other prophets who favored the invasion. He finally delivered the harsh message from God after being pressed for the truth, knowing it would anger Ahab. Micaiah’s imprisonment was a heavy price, but God’s message had been spoken.

How should I respond?

Telling the truth can be difficult when people only want to hear positive remarks. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to speak the truth with a loving attitude (Eph. 4:15). Still, we often stay silent for fear of hurting the feelings of others or making them angry. When should you speak up? First, your heart should be guided by God; spend time in prayer, asking Him to check your motives. Are you motivated by a sincere desire to help the person make wise decisions or by a prideful intent to set him straight? Selfish and destructive words are often hidden behind the guise of “speaking the truth in love.” Ask God for the courage and wisdom to speak the truth, even if it is painful.

Day 341 – December 7

2 Chronicles 17

What does it say?

Jehoshaphat became king and instituted reforms to turn the people to godly practices. God blessed Jehoshaphat’s reign with peace and protection.

What does it mean?

As a king who followed the commands of the Lord, Jehoshaphat expected his people to do the same. He removed the “high places” and the practice of worshiping other gods alongside the Lord. Jehoshaphat knew it would take more than that to turn the people’s hearts back to the one true God. He couldn’t revive their faithfulness to the Lord by decree from his throne in the palace. So Jehoshaphat sent his officials, priests, and prophets into the community with the Book of the Law. Rather than simply tell them what to do, Judah’s leaders showed them firsthand.

How should I respond?

Helping people isn’t done from a distance. We must go where people are in order to give them what they need. Obviously, not everyone can leave home and go to the jungles of Guatemala or Africa, and that’s okay. But chances are you have a little time to spend with someone who has a need. Who around you has a physical or spiritual need? How could they benefit from your time? Remember, both Jesus and Paul influenced people by building relationships. Relationships take time, but the impact they make can last a lifetime … and often make a difference for eternity.

Day 340 – December 6

2 Chronicles 16

What does it say?

Asa responded angrily to the seer’s message that God would have strengthened and delivered Judah if Asa had relied on the Lord rather than on a human alliance.

What does it mean?

Asa forgot how the Lord had delivered Judah in the past and turned to an ungodly king for help. The Lord was ready to help as He had done before, but Asa did not ask Him to do so. Asa responded with another bad decision – evidence that his heart began to harden towards the Lord. Rather than humbly repent, he took his anger out on the seer and his people. By the time he faced a severe illness five years later, Asa had stopped asking God for help altogether. Asa faithfully served the Lord for 35 years. Yet one foolish decision led to another until he no longer desired to hear from the Lord at all.

How should I respond?

We often wonder why God doesn’t intervene when we’re in a challenging situation. Sometimes it’s because we turn everywhere else for relief instead of turning to Him. God often uses friends, family, counselors, or doctors to give us support. But turning to them first shows that our reliance has shifted from the Lord to people. Dependence on Christ is a daily choice. The Lord stands ready to help, whether it’s through complete deliverance or simply the strength to get through the next day. Before you pick up the phone to call a friend, talk to the Lord. Who will you rely on today?

Day 339 – December 5

2 Chronicles 15

What does it say?

The Lord’s message gave Asa courage to remove idols and repair the temple altar. Others were drawn to Judah because Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord.

What does it mean?

In the midst of national reform, God encouraged King Asa to remain true, stay strong, and not give up. The prophet’s message emboldened him to take action and increased his resolve to be fully committed to the Lord. God’s presence with Asa even drew some from the tribes of Israel to migrate to Judah to take part in the spiritual revival. Asa led Judah to renew the covenant their forefathers had made with the Lord. He didn’t serve the Lord perfectly, but the effect of God’s presence in Asa’s life and kingdom could not be hidden. His response caused the people to repent and worship the Lord.

How should I respond?

Although your relationship with Jesus is extremely personal, it’s not meant to be private. Genuine faith is magnetic. Evidence of God’s Spirit in your life will naturally attract others. God wants to use your transformed life for His purposes. What has the Lord impressed on your heart during prayer and Bible study? How have you responded? Those moments should strengthen your faith and give you courage to live each day fully committed to Him. As you do, your life will point others to the grace and mercy of Christ. Spiritual perfection is impossible, but humble obedience will be rewarded.

Day 338 – December 4

2 Chronicles 14

What does it say?

Asa commanded Judah to seek the Lord and obey His laws. God defended Judah against the Cushite army after Asa prayed, admitting complete reliance upon the Lord.

What does it mean?

The men of Judah had every reason to face the Cushite army with confidence in their own abilities. Even though Scripture says they were “brave fighting men,” Asa called his forces “powerless” without the Lord. What Asa believed to be true about God enabled them to have complete reliance on the Lord. Going into battle, they recognized that they were fighting for the Lord’s cause and glory and in His strength, not their own.

How should I respond?

Capable people have to learn reliance on the Lord. We often push forward in our own skills and abilities. Admitting dependence on God doesn’t mean checking your brain or talents at the door. However, it does mean recognizing who God is and that without His enabling, we are powerless to accomplish His will. Can you honestly say that your current battle is being fought in the name of the Lord? How will He receive honor and glory for the outcome? To change your perspective, think about what you know to be true about God from Scripture. What name or character trait of God helps increase your reliance on Him today? Then, rather than asking God to fight for your cause, make sure you are fighting for His.

Day 337 – December 3

2 Chronicles 13

What does it say?

Abijah reigned as king of Judah and followed God’s commands. God honored his obedience by helping Judah defeat Jeroboam and Israel in battle.

What does it mean?

In the midst of war and years of conflict between Israel and Judah, a ruler emerged unlike any the people were used to. Rather than fight for his own power or prestige, Abijah chose to take a stand based on obeying God and honoring His commands. He led Judah to turn their hearts back to the Lord their God. The army Judah was facing was twice as big. Defeat may have seemed inevitable, but Abijah spoke God’s truth with passion and conviction. The resulting conquest showed that victory belongs to the Lord and that He chooses to honor those who are obedient to Him.

How should I respond?

God is still looking for obedient men and women to honor for His glory and purpose. Obedience is the result of a healthy relationship with the Lord. He is always ready to renew His relationship with us when we turn our hearts to Him. In what area of your life do you need to return to the simple principles in His Word? Are you trying to handle the daily struggles of life in your own strength or through God’s power? Remember, obedience is your choice. Your current battle may not end immediately, but God never turns His back on those who choose to honor Him.

Day 336 – December 2

2 Chronicles 12

What does it say?

Judah turned its back on God and was quickly invaded by Egypt. The king’s palace and the temple were plundered, and the nation was forced into slavery.

What does it mean?

The invasion of Judah and the loss of the fortified cities shocked the people, especially since the attack came unexpectedly from the hands of the Egyptians. Far worse, however, was the plundering of the temple and the ensuing slavery. So why did God allow this to happen to His own people? Quite simply, the king and his people neglected what they knew was most important … their relationship with the Lord their God. Consequently, the nation learned firsthand the difference between serving God and serving ungodly rulers.

How should I respond?

We too can be guilty of neglecting our relationship with the Lord. The hectic pace of busy schedules along with everything that competes for our attention can eventually erode time meant to be spent with Him. When our priorities become skewed, God may allow circumstances and events we don’t understand to get our attention. While those situations may be difficult, they might also be necessary to help us focus on Christ and Him alone. Is your life an example of submission to God, or one that shows He is not the priority? Take time right now to reflect on your relationship with the Lord. Never forget that the closer you draw to Him, the closer He will draw to you.

Day 335- December 1

2 Chronicles 11

What does it say?

After God’s warning not to attack Israel, Rehoboam realized Judah was vulnerable and began to build its defenses.

What does it mean?

With the kingdom divided, Judah immediately became vulnerable to invasion. Rehoboam, prevented by God from attacking the much larger Israel, fortified his defenses in the hope of defending what remained. But in all of this, Rehoboam missed what was most important – he never submitted himself to God. Instead, he put his faith in his cities and his armies. This son of Solomon who had already lost so much repeated his father’s sin and set Judah on a course for destruction.

How should I respond?

Submission to God can be difficult, especially when you experience circumstances that are not what you expected or hoped for. In those moments, there is a tremendous temptation to do what seems right in your own opinion. Even so, God asks you to give up control and rely on Him. With what issue are you still striving to produce your own outcomes? Will you completely give that to the Lord today? Focus on submitting to Him in every part of your life. Then leave the results to the One who knows you better than you know yourself!

Day 334- November 30

2 Chronicles 10

What does it say?

Rehoboam listened to young advisors and vowed to oppress the people even more than his father had. They revolted, and the kingdom was divided.

What does it mean?

The wealth, power, and status achieved under Solomon came at a great price – the oppression of the people. As Rehoboam inherited the throne and all that his father had built, he was given the opportunity to win the hearts of his people by ruling with kindness and mercy. Instead, pride and arrogance drove him to inflict even greater oppression on the people under his rule. This selfish act tore the nation apart, and the kingdom was forever divided. Rehoboam rejected the wise counsel of his aged advisors and listened to younger men who were more interested in appeasing the king than in looking out for the best interest of the nation.

How should I respond?

Having an exalted view of yourself is extremely dangerous. Decisions made under the clouded vision that accompanies pride can carry devastating results for you and the people who surround you. Many of us struggle with the temptation to think too much of our own opinions. The key to resisting pride, however, is to focus on Christ and His will rather than on what would seem personally advantageous. Is your life characterized by a focus on selfish pursuits or by a heart motivated to honor God? When you’re faced with an area of pride today, ask God to show you how to honor Him instead.

Day 333- November 29

2 Chronicles 9:13-31

What does it say?

As Solomon accumulated great riches and possessions, other kings sought an audience with him. He reigned 40 years over Israel and was buried in the city of David.

What does it mean?

Unlike his father David, Solomon’s reign was one of ease and enjoyment. He never asked God for wealth or fame, yet Solomon was blessed with exceeding riches and extraordinary wisdom. Everyone wanted an audience with the one who possessed the answers. Even kings and governors offered priceless gifts in exchange for an audience with the king of Israel. Solomon’s influence was as great as his wealth. His 40-year reign over Israel was marked by great accumulation and extravagant living.

How should I respond?

Your lifetime on this earth is a short journey. Days slip into months and months slip into years. All of your possessions and money will eventually fade away, but the influence you have on others can create an impact for eternity. None of us possess the wealth or wisdom of Solomon, but each of us can use what we do have as a means to share Christ. How can your talents and material blessings be leveraged to make an impact in your community? Giving your abilities to the Lord allows you to invest in the lives of others. Today, make every moment count.

Day 332- November 28

2 Chronicles 9:1-12

What does it say?

The queen of Sheba visited Solomon. Impressed with Solomon’s wisdom, she presented him with gold, spices, and precious stones.

What does it mean?

The news of King Solomon’s wealth and wisdom had spread beyond Israel to the queen of Sheba. Intrigued by the rumors of his vast wealth and wisdom, the queen traveled to Jerusalem to meet Solomon in person. She observed his accomplishments as well as how he treated his servants and worshiped God. Solomon’s leadership abilities and interaction with the people impressed the queen. He was even greater than she had been told. As a result, she acknowledged the God of Israel as the source of Solomon’s wisdom and power.

How should I respond?

True character is defined not only by what you say but also by what you do. What words would you use to describe yourself? What is your reputation among your friends and family? The character of Christ is reflected in your choices as you follow God’s Word. As a result, people will want to know more about the God you serve and the difference He is making in your life. We each have a reputation. Our lives will make the people around us either curious or disinterested regarding Jesus. What lifestyle changes do you need to make in order to draw others closer to God?

Day 331- November 27

2 Chronicles 8

What does it say?

Solomon rebuilt and fortified the cities. He kept the ordinances of worship and followed God.

What does it mean?

After years of battling their enemies, the Israelites experienced a time of peace; however, it was not a time to sit still and relax. Solomon seized the opportunity to strategically rebuild and strengthen the cities. Even in the midst of preparations and great accomplishments, Solomon did not forget the source of his success. He worshiped the Lord, observed the daily offerings in the temple, and followed God’s commands.

How should I respond?

During difficult periods of life, you have the potential to deepen your trust and faith in God. So what happens when the struggles lessen and life gets easier? How do you strategically use those moments to recharge and prepare for future uncertainties? Fortified faith is built by strengthening your relationship with God in daily prayer, Bible study, and worship. Satan enjoys targeting the unsuspecting person. Surrounding yourself with truth protects your heart and mind from his lies when you’re most vulnerable. What priorities do you need to change in order to prepare for the unknown?

Day 330- November 26

2 Chronicles 7:11-22

What does it say?

After Solomon finished building the temple and the palace, the Lord conveyed to him the promise of blessings for obedience and the severe consequences of disobedience.

What does it mean?

Building an elaborate temple was a great accomplishment and greatly pleased the Lord, but God was more interested in the condition of the Israelites’ hearts than the work of their hands. Disobedience would affect not only their crops, health, and families but also the quality of their relationship with Him. But God always has a plan for restoration. The temple would be the dwelling place for God’s Name and heart. It was here that God’s people could be restored. If they humbly sought Him, prayed, and turned away from their sin, He promised to hear them, heal their lives, restore their land, and forgive their sin.

How should I respond?

Your outward obedience or disobedience to God’s commands is a reflection of what is going on in your heart. Obedience conveys the depth of your love for God and your desire to please Him. Disobedience, however, damages the quality of your relationship with the Lord and may block His blessing from your life. How would you describe your response to God’s Word? What sin has the Holy Spirit convicted you to turn away from? God promises to restore those who humbly seek forgiveness. Stop now and pray. God is inviting you to enjoy a depth of relationship that comes only by complete surrender.

Day 329- November 25

2 Chronicles 7:1-10

What does it say?

God accepted the massive number of sacrifices offered by the people of Israel at the dedication of the temple. They went back to their homes rejoicing at God’s goodness.

What does it mean?

There are five different types of offerings described in the Old Testament: the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. The offering described in these chapters at the dedication of the temple is the burnt offering. The bulls were the costliest sacrifices offered, and the sheep were the more commonly offered sacrifices. Thus, there were over five times as many sheep offered that day – signifying that even the middle-income Israelites were giving an offering according to their ability. God consumed all sacrifices that day to show His approval.

How should I respond?

Although we don’t bring our cattle and sheep to a temple today, we do bring gifts to the Lord by giving to and through our local churches. When we think about giving, we often give only what we don’t need. However, these Israelites were giving from their best and first earnings out of a heart of thankfulness. Do you give to God first or just offer Him the leftovers? Jesus was more impressed by a widow who gave her last few pennies than the rich who were giving out of their surplus (Mark 12:41-44). God sees the hearts of those who give. You don’t have to give the most; just offer Him your best.

Day 328- November 24

2 Chronicles 6:12-42

What does it say?

Solomon knelt down before the altar, lifted his hands toward Heaven, and prayed a prayer on behalf of the people of Israel regarding the effectiveness of their worship.

What does it mean?

According to The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, there are 222 explicit prayers in the Old and New Testaments, not counting references to prayer in general. Solomon’s prayer is truly one of the most beautiful, deep, awe-inspiring prayers in all of God’s Word. This is the apex of Solomon’s relationship with God. Imagine what it was like to see the nation’s highest leader bowing before the Lord, lifting his hands toward Heaven, and asking God to bless all who came to the temple for comfort, forgiveness, justice, fertile crops, health, and victory in battle.

How should I respond?

What physical posture do you take when you pray? Some pray with their hands raised toward Heaven, and others pray with their hands folded. Some pray looking up toward Heaven, and others bow their heads and close their eyes. Some stand, some sit, some kneel, and some even lie face down on the ground to humble themselves before the Lord. There’s no one right way, so why not try a posture you haven’t taken yet? Don’t be afraid to try something new. It might give you a new perspective on your attitude while you pray.