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.

Day 327- November 23

2 Chronicles 6:1-11

What does it say?

Solomon reminded the people of Israel that the building of the temple in Jerusalem was a matter that God discussed directly with David, and Solomon fulfilled it faithfully.

What does it mean?

Every life has its hills and valleys, its good times and bad times. Solomon and his generation were on one of those hills – a good time in Israel’s history. They recognized that they were the beneficiaries of the peace and prosperity that resulted from David’s good relationship with the Lord. For the first time in Israel’s long history, they were at peace with all their neighbors, and the nation had more wealth than ever before. From Solomon’s speech we see that he and his generation attributed these things to God’s blessings upon His people. They gave honor to Whom honor was due.

How should I respond?

God blesses us in times of prosperity and peace, but He also blesses us in times of difficulty. Some of our greatest lessons come through the difficult trials in our lives. No matter whether you’re currently on one of life’s hills or in one of life’s valleys, you can find things about which to thank God. Make a list of the ways God has blessed you this week – even if you’re having a tough week. Learn to recognize the blessings of life even in the midst of difficult times, and it will help you see things from God’s perspective. Keep this list in a prominent place to remind you to see the glass as half full.

Day 326- November 22

2 Chronicles 5

What does it say?

The ark was placed in the inner sanctuary of the newly-completed temple. Solomon and the other leaders sacrificed and worshiped until God’s presence filled the temple.

What does it mean?

Solomon, who had more wealth than any other king in the history of Israel, poured his resources into the building and dedicating of the temple. Solomon spared no expense in worshiping God. Never before and never again would so many sheep and cattle be sacrificed in one place to worship God. As the songs of the singers, the music of the musicians, and the sacrifices of the congregation of Israel ascended into Heaven, God’s presence descended in the form of a cloud so thick that those in the temple were overwhelmed with His presence.

How should I respond?

We don’t have the wealth of King Solomon, but he did set a great example for us to follow as we approach God in worship. God doesn’t need our money, but as our Lord (which means “master”), He should have our all. Is there a possession that seems too valuable to give up in service to the Lord? Is there an item, activity, or time about which you would say, “God can have anything but this”? If something comes to mind, talk to Him about it. Choosing to dedicate it to His service will release its hold on you and make it more valuable at the same time.

Day 325- November 21

2 Chronicles 4

What does it say?

Every item in the temple was designed for the act of cleansing, sacrifice, or worship of Almighty God.

What does it mean?

All of the temple’s furnishings and even the separation of the courtyard from the Holy Place and Most Holy Place had meaning and pointed to Christ and His work on earth. The altar was a thirty-foot square elevated structure. As people came into the temple courtyard, their attention was drawn upward to this bronze altar for the animal sacrifices. The blood of the temple sacrifices offered temporary cleansing of sin. But the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, took the punishment for the sins of all mankind – once and for all! God’s plan of redemption pointed to Jesus from the beginning.

How should I respond?

As a believer, you are urged to present your body as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). The animals on the altar were obviously dead sacrifices, so what does it mean to be a living sacrifice? Dying to sinful desires, living a holy life, and putting others before yourself are all sacrifices. As you meditate on what Jesus did for you, any sacrifice you make for Him should point to Christ rather than draw attention to yourself. What desire or selfish motive do you need to sacrifice today? How can we give less than our all when He gave His all for us?

Day 324- November 20

2 Chronicles 3

What does it say?

Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign. The precise details give a glimpse of the temple’s magnificence.

What does it mean?

The temple site was Mount Moriah. This is the very place where God provided a ram when He tested Abraham’s faith by telling him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. It was also the site of David’s sacrifice when God judged his disobedience. God knew the past and future significance of the location He chose for His dwelling place. It was also here, outside the walls of Jerusalem, that Jesus was crucified. Thousands participated in the building of Israel’s place of worship – not aware of God’s future plan to pour out His grace and mercy through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How should I respond?

Today, God’s temple is not located in Jerusalem – His dwelling place is the heart of every person who follows Christ. Because God is holy, we cannot approach Him in our natural, sinful state. God poured out His love, mercy, and grace when Jesus died on the cross as the final sacrifice for sin. After His resurrection, His Holy Spirit lives inside those who receive Him. Have you claimed His sacrifice as your own? Just as God intricately planned the location and details of the temple, He has brought you to this moment in time. How will you allow the Lord to mold you – His temple – today?

Day 323- November 19

2 Chronicles 2

What does it say?

Solomon prepared to build a temple and a palace. He calculated the number of men he would need for each task and asked the king of Tyre to supply the timber and cutters.

What does it mean?

With insight and wisdom granted by God, Solomon understood the enormity of the task given to him. In his letter to the pagan king Hiram, Solomon explained the difficulty of building a suitable house for the Lord. Unlike pagan gods, the God of Israel cannot be contained by even the highest heavens. This magnificent temple would be a place to worship the living God and obey His laws regarding sacrifices, atonement, and fellowship with Him. Solomon’s passion for God’s house and his desire to glorify Him caused Hiram to praise Israel’s God as Creator of Heaven and earth.

How should I respond?

We serve a living God, who cannot be contained or even adequately described. Yet, in an attempt to understand or explain Him, our thoughts about God often become small. Understanding every aspect of His character isn’t necessary to follow Him; we can only begin to scratch the surface in this lifetime. If you could grasp the greatness of God, He would not be big enough to handle the details of your life, let alone the entire world. How have your thoughts about the Lord made Him less than He really is? Start a list of God’s traits as revealed in Scripture; then verbally praise Him each day for at least one.

Day 322- November 18

2 Chronicles 1

What does it say?

King Solomon and all the people sought the Lord at the altar in the tabernacle. God told Solomon to ask for whatever He wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge.

What does it mean?

Solomon’s response when God said, “Ask for whatever you want,” was threefold. First, he humbly remembered God’s promises to his father David. Then, he asked that God would keep His promise and give him wisdom to lead and judge His people. Finally, He recognized the enormity of the task and his inability to do it on his own. God was pleased that Solomon’s desire was to be equipped for leadership. Solomon began his reign in humility with full reliance on the Lord. God answered beyond Solomon’s expectations by giving him wisdom, power, riches, and influence.

How should I respond?

We can become so overwhelmed that we pray only for what seems to offer immediate relief. However, Scripture tells us that the key to answered prayer is to ask according to His will (1 John 5:14). Praying, “If it’s Your will, Lord,” requires humility and reliance on God to fulfill His purposes for us. Understanding God’s will requires God’s wisdom that He promises to give us if we ask in faith, expecting to receive it (James 1:5-6). In what area of your life do you lack wisdom concerning God’s will? How will you pray for that today? Remember that specific answers require specific requests.

Day 321- November 17

1 Chronicles 29:21-30

What does it say?

David completed his reign. Solomon was acknowledged and crowned King.

What does it mean?

David had completed the preparations for the nation to receive Solomon as their king. The Lord exalted the new king by giving him allegiance from his family and all Israel as well as unprecedented royal splendor. It is the Lord who establishes leadership. The summary of David’s life is filled with tenderness. He had long life, wealth, honor, and a son to take the throne. David ruled as king of Israel for forty years, and his son Solomon succeeded him. David knew failure and trouble along with great success. He was quick to repent when he sinned and is remembered as one whose heart was loyal to God.

How should I respond?

What will your epitaph be? If people were recounting the most important information of your life, what would they remember concerning you? No human being is perfect; our attitudes and behavior need constant correction from the Lord. Even so, what is the overall message of your life? When your heart is loyal to God and love for Him is foremost, you recognize conviction of sin and quickly repent. What changes should you make in order to have a God-honoring summary statement of your life? A life of complete devotion to God honors Him and encourages those we leave behind.

Day 320- November 16

1 Chronicles 29:10-20

What does it say?

David adored and thanked the Lord as he prayed for Israel and Solomon, their new king. He challenged the people of God to worship and devotion.

What does it mean?

David led the assembly in praising God as the powerful, sovereign owner of everything in Heaven and earth. His relationship with God was evident as he acknowledged God’s attributes in worship. God was the source of all the abundant gifts presented for building the Temple. David petitioned God to keep hearts loyal to Him and to enable Solomon to devote himself to the Lord and to the God-given task of building. David and all those assembled bowed and fell prostrate, humbly submitting themselves in worship to God.

How should I respond?

The Bible, God’s revelation of Himself, makes it possible for you to know Him. What did you learn about God from today’s passage that is helpful to you personally? Two truths stand out: (1) All of your resources have come from Him; you can experience God as your source of strength in the circumstances you face day after day. (2) Life is not about you and me; it’s about the majesty and power of our great God. Take a moment to read the king’s words of praise aloud to the Lord. Think about who God is and what He’s done for you. Having a heart of worship comes from knowing the God we worship. As you get to know God, you will worship Him with humility and integrity of heart.

Day 319- November 15

1 Chronicles 29:1-9

What does it say?

David and the assembly rejoiced as they consecrated themselves and gave generously to build the Temple of the Lord under the leadership of King Solomon.

What does it mean?

King David addressed Israel, presenting Solomon as God’s chosen leader and explaining the monumental task before the new king. He called on each person to commit to the Lord. Motivated by his affection for the Lord, David set an example in generosity by providing state and personal treasure that he had set aside for building the temple. Based on his example, he urged the Israelites to give, and they responded willingly and wholeheartedly by giving to the Lord. Their commitment to the Lord resulted in unity of purpose, generosity, and great joy.

How should I respond?

Being truly dedicated to the Lord results in generosity and joy. What is your motivation for giving to the Lord’s work? Giving of our resources is easy when Christ has the priority in our affections. Everything God blesses you with should be held loosely and faithfully for God’s purpose. What can you do to set an example of love for the Lord and liberality toward His people and His work? When it comes to God and His purposes, are you all in? Wholehearted devotion to the Lord brings great joy.

Day 318- November 14

1 Chronicles 28

What does it say?

David gathered Israel’s leaders and charged Solomon to build the Temple of the Lord.

What does it mean?

Israel gathered before their beloved king in Jerusalem. David assured Solomon of God’s call and gave him plans, materials, and people to build a dwelling for the Presence of the Lord. David charged Solomon and Israel to know and follow the Lord and to serve Him wholeheartedly with pure motives. God had directed David by the Spirit concerning every detail for the building, which he wrote down and gave to his son. David assured Solomon of God’s presence and faithfulness as well as the help of the people to complete the task. God had provided everything needed.

How should I respond?

As we prepare to serve the Lord, our central challenge is the same one faced by Solomon – to truly know God. Do you know about God, or are you developing in your understanding of who God is and how His character impacts your thinking, motives, and actions? The Bible reveals God. As you read and take note of what is significant to you in each passage, you’ll find that specific truth about God impacting you throughout the day. Knowing God carries you through fear and discouragement toward strength and courage as you complete your work for Him. God is with you.

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 25-27

Day 317- November 13

1 Chronicles 22

What does it say?

David provided the location, materials, and craftsmen and encouraged Solomon to build the Lord’s sanctuary.

What does it mean?

David provided generously for Solomon to build God’s house. He shared God’s plans for building and imparted his vision and desire. He carefully explained that God had chosen Solomon to establish a systematic program for worship. David challenged his son and prayed for him. The key to success was rooted in his relationship with God. The Lord would be with him in the work, so he could be strong and not become discouraged. This project was a huge undertaking for a new king, but God had chosen and prepared him.

How should I respond?

God prepares you for what He prepares for you. For what ministry has God given you vision and desire? Maybe you feel incapable or lack the experience to accomplish that work for God. When you are overwhelmed with the next step, take time to look around for the people and the resources God has provided for the work. Be honest by pouring out the facts and your feelings to God, then look to Him for wisdom to devote yourself to the work. Any task God has given you the desire to accomplish is a great work. Will you seek God concerning that desire you have to honor Him? Where will you begin?

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 23-24

Day 316- November 12

1 Chronicles 21

What does it say?

King David was disobedient in numbering Israel’s people, but God’s merciful judgment restored and renewed his fellowship with the Lord.

What does it mean?

Prompted by Satan, David persisted against wise counsel in numbering the people of Israel. Assessing his military strength indicated David was relying on human resources rather than on the Lord. David confessed his sin, chose to receive God’s direct divine judgment, and experienced mercy. Leaders of the nation joined David in interceding for the people. The Lord was merciful in judgment, but the nation suffered grave consequences for David’s sin.

How should I respond?

As a follower of Christ, God asks you to look to Him and trust Him with every aspect of your life. Yet our tendency is to control and secure our own lives. It’s the “glad you’re in my life, Lord; I’ll let you know if I need you” mentality. Self-sufficiency replaces reliance on God, and we miss the wonder of seeing God work as well as the experience of the sufficiency of Christ. In what areas of life are you doing your own thing rather than seeking God’s direction? It’s time to take responsibility for the sin of independence from God. Will you confess and ask for God’s mercy today?

Day 315- November 11

1 Chronicles 19

What does it say?

King David and his military commanders won victories over enemies who came against Israel.

What does it mean?

David’s kindness in sending messengers to offer sympathy to the new Ammonite king was misunderstood and perceived as an enemy tactic. Perceived as spies, the Israeli men were seized and humiliated. Paranoia and bad advice quickly turned David’s kind intentions into an act of war. The situation continued to escalate until three nations were armed and marched into battle. The entire situation could have been avoided if either the Ammonites or Arameans had pursued talks before jumping to conclusions.

How should I respond?

Perception may not be reality. We often don’t have a clear understanding of another person’s actions or motives. Misunderstanding can escalate quickly unless you begin to communicate with the person involved. Think about the personal conflicts that could be avoided if you moved toward them with a desire to understand rather than confront. With whom do you need to discuss a matter in order to get a clearer understanding? It takes courage to deal with wounds that have made enemies of people. Will you ask God for wisdom to see your relationships clearly so your perception is consistent with reality?

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 20

Day 314- November 10

1 Chronicles 18

What does it say?

The Lord gave David victory over his enemies. David reigned over Israel, administering justice among the people.

What does it mean?

God’s divine care of Israel led to conquests over their enemies. As the Lord gave victory, He established Israel’s strength among the surrounding nations. Treasure brought by the subjected kingdoms was set apart for Solomon to use in construction of God’s temple, and military outposts were established to protect the nation outwardly. David’s appointment of officials and royal advisors kept the infrastructure strong. As a result of God’s care, King David was able to reign over Israel, doing what was just and right for all the people.

How should I respond?

God cares for you. As a follower of Christ, you are never alone. God is with you and has power to give you victory in your daily life. What challenging situation threatens to overpower you today? In what area of discipline or obedience do you need victory? Developing godly habits and attitudes will act as a garrison to protect you from being overrun by sin and can prevent failure in a weak moment. Remember, it is the Lord who establishes you and gives wisdom to do what is right and just. How have you recognized His care in your life this week?

Day 313- November 9

1 Chronicles 17:16-27

What does it say?

The prophet Nathan reported that David would not build a temple for God; instead, God would build a dynasty for David. King David sat and worshiped the Lord.

What does it mean?

David sat before God, humbled and overwhelmed. His words revealed his perspective on his relationship with the Lord Almighty. He poured out his heart, remembering God’s greatness and goodness. Emboldened by God’s revelation, David came before his incomparable Sovereign to ask Him to fulfill His promise to build a dynasty of kings through his lineage. David may have been disappointed that he could not build a house for God’s presence, yet he was full of prayer and praise, completely aware of the Lord’s blessings.

How should I respond?

A common thread in healthy relationships is spending time together. You get to know a person and gain insight about yourself in relation to that person. Likewise, your relationship with God will determine your perspective on all that happens to you. How do you see yourself in relation to God? He knows and loves you completely. Every blessing in your life is because God is great and good. When have you taken time to talk to God about His goodness toward you? What awesome deeds have made a difference in your life? As a follower of Christ, you have a relationship with God that will both enable and embolden you to ask for His continued blessing. Stop right now and focus for a few minutes on God’s greatness and what He’s done for you.

Day 312- November 8

1 Chronicles 17:1-15

What does it say?

In response to King David’s desire to build a permanent structure to house the Ark, God promised David a dynasty of kings and renewed His everlasting covenant of love.

What does it mean?

David desired to build a suitable house for God’s divine presence, but that was not God’s will. It was God’s will for one of David’s sons to build a permanent structure for the Ark. God had given Israel a home and promised to establish them in the land. Instead of allowing David to build a physical structure for the Lord, God promised to build a dynasty for David. From his offspring, God would bring the promised Deliverer who would be enthroned forever. God said “No” to David’s noble idea but gave assurance of His everlasting love.

How should I respond?

When has the Lord’s “No” changed the direction of your life? Like David, you may have noble ideas and set out to accomplish what your heart desires – only to see Him close the doors. But just as God had a future for David’s line, He has a place for you and those who come after you. How have you sought the Lord in your vocation and relationships? How has He directed you? God’s plan is always greater than ours. When you release your plan and grasp God’s will, you will have an awareness of His love and presence as you live to honor Him.

Day 311- November 7

1 Chronicles 16

What does it say?

David led the nation in a psalm of praise and established worship as the Ark of the Covenant of God was set inside the tent in Jerusalem.

What does it mean?

The song composed for bringing the Ark of God into Jerusalem reveals a heart of worship and thanksgiving. Recounting God’s deeds led to recognition of His attributes and was followed by a challenge to seek Him and depend on Him. God’s people remembered His faithfulness throughout their history. God was acknowledged as Creator and sovereign over everything created. There’s a glimpse of the future when nature rejoices as the Lord reigns on earth. David gave a brief petition for the people and closed with praise. Then he and the people went home as the priests took up their daily duties.

How should I respond?

When was the last time you truly connected with God? Worship brings a believer into God’s presence. Recounting God’s greatness and remembering His faithfulness will develop an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. When your thoughts are filled with what God has done for you, it’s easier to look to Him in trust and depend on Him for the challenges you’ll face today. How does this passage change your outlook on praying for yourself and others? Remember, David presented his requests between thanksgiving and praise. Joy in God’s presence characterizes one who worships.

Day 310- November 6

1 Chronicles 15

What does it say?

Under David’s leadership, all Israel brought the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem, just as God had commanded through Moses.

What does it mean?

David prepared a place for the Ark because he knew it was God’s will to bring it to Jerusalem. He had failed the first time he tried to bring the Ark into the city because he didn’t follow God’s instructions regarding how it was to be moved. This time David led the people as the Ark was carried on poles that rested on the priests’ shoulders, just as God had directed Moses. David, the Levites, and elders rejoiced with shouts, music, and dancing in the great procession as the Ark was transported into Jerusalem. David’s desire to bring the Ark of God’s presence into the city was finally successful.

How should I respond?

God’s ways may not always be easy, but they are always best. Neglecting God’s Word concerning how to accomplish His purpose may lead to failure. Thankfully, failure isn’t final. Serving God is not just about finishing a task. Our purpose is to glorify God as we accomplish the work He has given. But we have to know what the Bible says so we can do God’s will His way. In your office, school, or home, what has God called you to do? If you’ve failed, will you seek God and try again? You may not please everyone, but successfully doing as God asks will please Him and bring you great personal joy.

Day 309- November 5

1 Chronicles 14

What does it say?

The Lord established David as Israel’s king in Jerusalem. David sought God as he defended Israel, and God gave victories over the Philistines.

What does it mean?

David knew the Lord had made him king. He, with his wives and children, became established as Israel’s royal family. The main focus of David’s energy was God and the nation of Israel. When enemies threatened, David talked to the Lord, listened for His answer, and obeyed His guidance. God gave specific directions and decisive victories in battle, authenticating David’s reign before all the nations. David was the king of Israel, yet he knelt before the Lord as a servant in need of discernment to lead Israel. This prayerful king openly acknowledged the Lord as his authority, defender, and protector.

How should I respond?

Prayer is more than verbalizing your daily needs. It is an acknowledgment of who God is and a recognition of your need for wisdom and discernment to handle life’s situations His way. Prayer can be an act of worship when you, as a believer, commit to obey when the answer comes. What is your most pressing prayer need? Ask God how to pray specifically and according to His will for that need. He may give you a verse to pray or remind you of a character trait you need to develop as you trust Him. God answers the prayerful believer who seeks to know and act on God’s specific direction.

Day 308- November 4

1 Chronicles 13

What does it say?

King David set out to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem but abandoned the endeavor when God judged Uzzah.

What does it mean?

Having established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, David desired to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city. He conferred with officers and commanders, priests and Levites, and all agreed it seemed to be God’s will. David led the procession, and Israel celebrated as they brought the Ark toward the city on a new cart. But when Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark and died, David was filled with fear and anger. Moses’ writings gave clear instruction on how to move the Ark. David desired to do God’s will and sought consensus among his leaders, but he failed to move the Ark God’s way.

How should I respond?

God has given Scripture to teach us how to live according to His will. We are responsible to know and act upon the clear commands in His Word. What sincere and good desire has God placed in your heart? What does the Bible say concerning how to accomplish that desire? When there is no clear direction in Scripture, you may find examples of behavior or biblical principles as you study. What has God said about how to fulfill your role as a child, spouse, parent, or employee? We may think the end justifies the means, but God’s will must be done in His way.

Day 307- November 3

1 Chronicles 12

What does it say?

God affirmed David as men from across the land came to pledge their loyalty. David held a joyful feast as the tribes united to make David king over all Israel.

What does it mean?

While David was exiled and banished from Saul’s presence, God was working. At Ziklag, skilled warriors from many of Israel’s tribes came to show support for David. When he fled to a desert stronghold, able warriors joined forces with him. The Spirit came upon Amasai declaring, “Your God will help you.” God continued to draw warriors and commanders to serve with David until he had a great and mighty army. At Hebron a large delegation came to David. Together they reached unity of mind concerning God’s will for Israel. They affirmed it was time for David to become Israel’s king as the Lord had said and celebrated with joy for three days.

How should I respond?

Only a few are called to the highest levels of leadership within an organization. In churches, some are called to be pastors, teachers, and directors while many may be called as ministry leaders. However, we are all called to loyally serve in unity for the cause of Christ. The word “unity” has a wonderful meaning: the state of full agreement. The greater our challenge, the more we need people of like mind supporting us. To what place of service has God called you? Think about the people you serve alongside. How can you work in unity with them to honor God and accomplish His will this week?

Day 306- November 2

1 Chronicles 11:10-25

What does it say?

David and his Mighty Men extended the kingdom of Israel just as the Lord had promised.

What does it mean?

While David was waiting God’s time to be crowned king of Israel, God was drawing loyal men to serve with him. They accomplished God’s plan with courage and strength. They were skilled warriors – courageous and strong, valiant and honorable. Their loyalty to David was displayed when they risked their lives for him when he longed for water from the well near his childhood home. This gift represented their love and led David to an amazing act of worship before the Lord. Their love for King David and their God-given victories earned them the title of David’s Mighty Men.

How should I respond?

God needs mighty men and women to live for Him and accomplish His plan today, just as in David’s day. On what issue is God calling you to take a stand for Him? He still gives courage to those willing to engage the world on His behalf. Our battle begins on a spiritual level through prayer and works its way into public life. What could it cost you to be known as one who follows Christ? How can you purposely live to honor God at school, work, or with family? It is God who gives the victory. He can enable you to be mighty today, but the decision to live for God’s will or your own plan is yours.

Day 305- November 1

1 Chronicles 11:1-9

What does it say?

David was crowned king of Israel at Hebron and increased in power as he reigned from Jerusalem. The Lord’s presence was with him.

What does it mean?

The waiting was finally over. The Lord had called David to be Israel’s shepherd-king when Samuel anointed him many years before these events. After Saul’s death, David was publicly anointed king of Israel. David was a gifted leader who had helped develop others to lead during his long years on the run. So, he delegated tasks to proven leaders who had been loyal to him. The presence of the Lord was with David as king just as He was with him throughout the years of waiting. As a result, David experienced success and his power increased.

How should I respond?

Walking with the Lord gives the greatest opportunity for a fulfilled life, but there may be some waiting involved. What promise are you waiting for God to fulfill for you? The Lord will always be faithful to do what He has promised, but it may not be immediate. Often, there are things He desires to develop within us that require trusting Him over a period of time. What is your focus while you’re waiting? The skills and character you’ll need in the future are being crafted while you faithfully wait and obey. Will you commit to God today and live each moment in the awareness of His presence?

Day 304- October 31

1 Chronicles 10

What does it say?

The Lord used the Philistines to bring judgment on Saul. After he died in battle along with his three sons, David became king.

What does it mean?

Samuel’s prophetic words to Saul were coming true. Because of his sin, Saul and his sons died in battle and Israel was taken captive by the Philistines. King Saul was guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord in three areas. He rebelled and did not keep God’s Word. He consulted a medium for guidance, which was prohibited by God. Also, he failed to inquire of the Lord. The consequences of Saul’s sin had a devastating impact on the nation and his family. The Lord requires faithfulness from those who represent Him.

How should I respond?

What you do matters. What does your faithfulness to God look like in the areas where Saul failed? First, Scripture is a Christian’s final authority for life. Obey God, wait patiently, and trust His Word rather than your own ideas of how to handle a situation. Next, where do you go for guidance when you can’t find specific direction from the Bible? Consulting mediums or spiritists is against God’s will for a believer. Look to see if God has given you a spiritual mentor who loves the Bible and lives according to His Word. Finally, seek God and pray about every decision and situation. There is nothing too small or too big. Your faithfulness to God matters … to you and to those around you.

Further Reading:
1 Chronicles 8:1-9:21; 35-44

Day 303- October 30

1 Chronicles 6:31-32, 48-49; 9:22-34

What does it say?

The Tabernacle was sustained by chosen, instructed men from the tribe of Levi. God called skilled and gifted people to serve in every aspect of religious life in Jerusalem.

What does it mean?

Picture all the activity in and around Israel’s Tabernacle. Individuals with diversity of ability and responsibility mobilized to accomplish the work of God’s tabernacle service. Some people were highly visible while others worked tirelessly behind the scenes with unity of purpose: to maintain the earthly place where Holy God promised to meet with sinful mankind above the mercy seat, the solid-gold cover on the Ark of the Covenant. The sacrifices they offered pointed to the perfect Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How should I respond?

Today, God calls people to faith in Jesus and leads them to serve Him through the local church. What gift or ability has the Lord given you? Have you found the place He wants you to serve in your church? Just as there was amazing diversity of work in the tabernacle, your church has diverse opportunities for service. Even the task that seems the least significant is vital so that everyone can serve with unity of purpose: to worship God and point others to the Lord Jesus Christ. How can you make yourself available to do the thing that seems “the least” if that is the opportunity God is giving you?

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 6:50-81; 7

Day 302- October 29

1 Chronicles 5:18-26

What does it say?

Tribes of Israel were faithful to God in a time of war but unfaithful after their victory. God raised up an Assyrian who conquered Israel and took them into captivity.

What does it mean?

Realizing that their best resources were weak and insufficient, Israel cried out to God and trusted in Him as they faced danger. But when life was settled after the victory, they had no great need to press them toward God. Their leaders led them into spiritual apathy and then idolatry. Their relationship with God as the priority in daily life became secondary to other things. Because of their unfaithfulness, God raised up a new enemy who conquered them and took them into captivity.

How should I respond?

God is our helper at all times. He makes it possible to experience peace, even when the life you planned and worked hard to attain changes or crumbles. Loss of a job or an ongoing illness brings the realization of just how weak and insufficient our resources really are. Circumstances sometimes push us to develop a more dedicated life of prayer and trust in God. But good times can also test your relationship with God. When life is going well, how will you continue to be faithful to God? I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” Our faithfulness to God depends on it.

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 6:1-30

Day 301- October 28

1 Chronicles 5:1-3

What does it say?

The Chronicler tells us that Reuben’s firstborn rights were forfeited because he sinned and disgraced his father. Jacob-Israel gave those rights to Joseph.

What does it mean?

Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn, but his moral failure disqualified him from receiving firstborn status in Israel’s genealogical line. Reuben’s sin was kept secret for years, but Jacob knew of his behavior and knew he did not have the strength of character necessary to lead Israel. Because Reuben lacked discernment, courage, and commitment to do right before God, he forfeited enormous blessing and honor. God always maintains a standard of what is right. Choices have consequences, good or bad.

How should I respond?

Sin doesn’t seem to be a big deal in our society. We are encouraged to do anything we want to do if we can get away with it. But when you believe in Christ, He takes up residence within you in the person of the Holy Spirit and brings conviction concerning what is pleasing and displeasing to God. As you submit to the Holy Spirit, God develops your character so you can discern what is morally right and choose what pleases Him. Do you desire to please Him with all of your choices? In what area do you need to seek His guidance? The Spirit is always there to help you.

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 5:4-17

Day 300- October 27

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

What does it say?

Jabez was an honorable man of prayer. God’s blessing was his greatest desire.

What does it mean?

The historical genealogy from Adam through the sons of Jacob-Israel gives only bits of personal information until we come to the prayer of Jabez, who stood out as a respected man in his culture. He prayed to God expressing his greatest desire in life: God’s blessing and presence. Jabez wanted to be a man of God in order to have an expanded impact on people in his sphere of influence. He prayed for God’s protection from evil and the grief it brings. God gave to Jabez everything he asked.

How should I respond?

If you could ask God for anything, what would it be? Most of us could come up with a long list of things we want Him to do for us, as well as for our family and friends. An honest examination of our prayers might reveal self-promotion and personal agendas. Even prayers for God’s blessing and protection can be rooted in either selfish or pure motives. So what can we learn from the prayer of Jabez? Expressing a desire to live in God’s presence and influence the lives of others to know and love Him honors the Lord. When our requests line up with God’s purposes, He blesses and answers our prayer.

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 3:1-4:8

Day 299- October 26

2 Kings 25

What does it say?

The final siege culminated in the utter destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Zedekiah’s sons were killed, and his eyes were put out. Jehoiachin found mercy.

What does it mean?

This passage demonstrates how God’s justice works alongside His grace. Zedekiah’s wickedness was severely judged, while King Jehoiachin found mercy at Evil-Merodach’s table. God has every right to judge disobedience in His children, but He never compromises His purposes. By sparing Jehoiachin, an ancestor of Christ, the Lord fulfilled His promise of a Savior through the line of David. God’s mercy and grace continued despite a long line of evil kings and Israel’s complete disobedience.

How should I respond?

God remains the same – yesterday, today, and forever. That means that He continues to judge sin while offering grace to everyone who accepts it (Romans 5:8). The King of kings from the lineage of David is also the Savior of the world who took the penalty for your sin, satisfying God’s justice. Have you accepted His mercy and grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:4-8)? If not, accept His gift today. If you are already a follower of Christ, how are you responding to the Lord’s grace? What areas of disobedience do you need to confess and turn from? God’s discipline is also an expression of His loving mercy.

Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-2

Day 298- October 25

2 Kings 24

What does it say?

When Nebuchadnezzar attacked Judah, Jerusalem’s leaders were taken captive, and Solomon’s temple artifacts were dispersed across Babylon.

What does it mean?

Manasseh’s evil legacy continued through his sons. God judged the evil kings of Judah by raising up Nebuchadnezzar who took them into captivity and plundered Jerusalem. As tragic as it was to defile and lose the intricate temple treasures, the greatest tragedy was the loss of God’s glory in the temple, which was a sign of God’s presence and favor on His people. The Jewish nation’s history had now moved full circle: from Egyptian slavery, to wilderness wandering, to victorious possession of the Promised Land, and finally … captivity again in a place that was not their home.

How should I respond?

Since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His followers are the temple where God’s presence resides (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19). When we allow sin to take hold of some aspect of our lives, we obscure God’s glory and defile His temple. While He promises never to remove His presence from His children, sin hinders the fellowship within that relationship. Take time to reflect on where you are spiritually. Are you a slave to sin? Are you wandering, or are you victorious because of God’s presence?

Day 297- October 24

2 Kings 23:1-30

What does it say?

Josiah led the people in making a covenant with God, cleansing the land of idols, and keeping the Passover for the first time in generations.

What does it mean?

When Josiah read the Book of the Covenant to the people the power of God’s Word was significant. The ensuing covenant that Josiah and the people made allowed them to reconnect with God prior to captivity. The consequences of their evil choices were still coming; but God, in His steadfast commitment to His people, prepared them for their exile with the gift of His Word, its promises, and a revived relationship with Him.

How should I respond?

The results of sinful choices are ultimately costly and unpleasant. After seeking God’s forgiveness, it’s natural to ask Him to protect us from the consequences. Sometimes He will remove them; other times He will prepare us for them. Take a moment to think through a poor decision. How are you approaching God regarding the consequences? Are you asking Him to deal with them or with you? Despite what you are facing, God is committed to you and is with you continually. The power of God’s Word can revive your relationship with Him. What promise from Scripture gives you strength for today and prompts you to be more committed to Him?

Further Reading: 2 Kings 23:31-37

Day 296- October 23

2 Kings 22

What does it say?

During temple renovations a copy of the Book of the Law was found and given to Josiah. The reading of the law led him to repent and to seek counsel from God.

What does it mean?

The Word of God has a powerful impact on those who value it. God’s Word exposes sin, brings about repentance, gives hope and instruction, and allows the reader to know the one and only true God. In the case of Israel, the Word of God had been forgotten. As a teenager, Josiah “began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chron. 34:3). After hearing God’s Law, Josiah, shocked and grief-stricken, determined to reintroduce the Law to the nation. This reintroduction led to humility, repentance, and a decision to re-establish communication between the king of God’s people and God Himself.

How should I respond?

God uses His Word to establish and maintain His relationship with us. He is taking this opportunity to reintroduce you to His Word. Read it. Study it. Think about it. Ask God to put His words in your heart and mind so that you will be transformed by them. Without His Word, we can easily slip into a life of compromise and poor decision-making. Take a moment to read today’s passage again. Ask God to speak to you and give you guidance. Start writing down what He shows you each day, and act on what He reveals. How will today’s passage have a lasting impact on your relationship with the Lord?

Day 295- October 22

2 Kings 21

What does it say?

Manasseh filled Judah with idolatry and led the nation to depart from God, provoking God’s anger against His people.

What does it mean?

Manasseh led the people to engage in the worship of false gods. He even built altars to other gods in the temple, desecrating the place where God’s people were to worship Him. The people were distracted from worship of the one true God by the perversions of neighboring cultures, even though God had forbidden such practices. In fact, the evil in Judah was so extensive that it surpassed that of the Canaanites who had been driven out of the land. The pure worship of the true God in His chosen place, the temple of Jerusalem, was contaminated beyond recognition.

How should I respond?

Just as the temple was the center of worship for Judah, believers’ hearts are the temple of God and the center of our worship. It is still God’s prerogative to be the only One worshiped by His people. But it’s not uncommon to get distracted from giving God the honor He deserves by turning things like possessions and relationships into “false gods.” Take a moment for self-examination. Ask God to expose any areas in which you have been distracted by the negative influences of our culture. Determine to guard yourself by regularly reading His Word and gathering with other believers.

Day 294- October 21

2 Kings 20

What does it say?

King Hezekiah pleaded with God for healing, and his life was spared. Isaiah prophesied that Hezekiah’s descendants would be taken captive by the Babylonians.

What does it mean?

Without a doubt Hezekiah experienced God’s blessing when he was healed, and his life was extended by 15 years. Unfortunately, Hezekiah made a costly mistake in judgment when his pride led to a desire to impress people rather than honor God. He proudly revealed the glory of his kingdom, his wealth, and his military resources to ambassadors from Babylon. Isaiah confronted Hezekiah with his unwise actions and prophesied Judah’s captivity by the very nation that he so wanted to impress. Although Hezekiah was Judah’s king, he needed to be reminded that the Sovereign Lord is in command.

How should I respond?

As believers we must be on guard against spiritual pride. The desire to impress others can draw us away from God’s direction, causing us to make poor decisions based solely on our own knowledge and understanding. Although God has given us free will, His desire is that we make choices based on His wisdom and guidance. Those decisions ultimately offer us greater satisfaction as well as protection. Think over the past week. What choices did you make as a result of pride rather than prayer? Taking time to seek godly wisdom in Scripture and prayer will prepare you to make better decisions today.

Day 293- October 20

2 Kings 19

What does it say?

Hezekiah prayed to the Lord concerning the impending Assyrian invasion. God responded through the prophet Isaiah.

What does it mean?

In the face of almost certain attack by the mightiest military in the world, Hezekiah’s first instinct was to turn to God. He went to the temple and literally laid the message from the king’s men on the floor as he prayed. Hezekiah humbly placed all his troubles before the Lord. He praised God for all He had done and recounted the remarks of Assyria’s king. God already knew the situation, including what the Assyrians said about the Lord Himself. God’s response through the prophet Isaiah was simple: Hezekiah was not to worry about the Assyrians. God would take care of His people by removing this threat.

How should I respond?

When trouble comes, to whom do you turn? Is your first call to a friend, family member, or pastor? While all of these can be helpful, a believer’s first instinct should be to call on God. Since it is by His sovereignty that the details of our lives unfold, it makes sense to turn to Him first. But if God is always aware of what’s happening, why pray? Prayer demonstrates our reliance on the Lord and aligns our hearts to His. What issue do you need to humbly lay before God today? Stop now and ask for His guidance. Determine to turn your troubles over to God immediately and let Him work on your behalf.

Day 292- October 19

2 Kings 18

What does it say?

Hezekiah became king and maintained faith in the Lord even when the Assyrians attempted an invasion.

What does it mean?

Hezekiah is one of only three kings mentioned who “did right as David had done.” He destroyed idols and removed the altars at the high places. He was also a wise king with no desire to engage in battle with the Assyrians, who had successfully conquered other nations. The Assyrian messengers not only demanded that Hezekiah surrender, but they also tried to discredit the Lord by comparing Him to the gods of other nations that they had conquered. The messengers’ strategy was to cause Israel to doubt their God and their king, allowing the Assyrians to conquer a panicked city. But Hezekiah stood firm, commanding the people not to respond to anything the messengers said.

How should I respond?

Satan has always sought to cause doubt about who God is. Unfortunately, this strategy is still effective today, even among believers. He utilizes blasphemous and deceitful words in an attempt to weaken our faith. Staying connected to God’s Word is essential to discern truth from error. As tempting as it is to set a naysayer straight, the best approach might be to say nothing at all. Heated debates over religion are seldom productive. Ask God to show you when to speak up and when to show restraint. How will you prepare yourself to stand firm and not be swayed by deceitful words?

Day 291- October 18

2 Kings 17

What does it say?

Assyria took the people of Israel into captivity after Hoshea refused to pay the tribute to Shalmaneser and sought to engage in a treaty with Egypt against Syria.

What does it mean?

The Israelites continued to worship the gods of other nations, a sin that ultimately brought about captivity at the hands of the Assyrians. The people of Israel did not uphold their oath to serve God alone. He had clearly laid out His expectations for His people and the consequences for disobeying those commands. The Lord will not share worship of Him with anything or anyone else. Their history proved that when they obeyed and served the Lord, they were a mighty nation, reflecting the awesome power of their God. But because the idols they embraced were worthless – their worship became worthless.

How should I respond?

God takes sin seriously – not just because it pulls us away from serving and worshiping Him but because of the effect it has on our worth as His creation. Your life and character will reflect whatever you value the most. What other things have you set up as a “god” in your life? Perhaps you value and serve money, fame, or the admiration of peers. Excessive devotion to anything that is temporal will ultimately lead to some form of captivity. Greed, bitterness, frustration, and other negative attitudes rob us of the freedom we have in Christ. God alone is worthy of our devotion, service, and worship.

Day 290- October 17

2 Kings 16

What does it say?

King Ahaz drew the people of Judah farther away from God. He ultimately desecrated the temple of God in order to appease the king of Assyria.

What does it mean?

King Ahaz had an opportunity to engage in battle against the Assyrians. Instead he chose to subjugate himself and the people of Judah to the Assyrians in exchange for peace. Ahaz went so far as to replace the altar of the Lord with one similar to those used by the Assyrians for the worship of their gods. Rather than leading the people to be on their guard against pagan practices, Ahaz opened the temple doors to idol worship. Peace came at the cost of great compromise – altering their worship of the Lord in order to look more like the people around them.

How should I respond?

Have you tried to make peace with a sinful practice in your life? How might you have compromised God’s standards in order to fit in more with people at work, at school, or in your community? You may have justified your wrong behavior, feeling safe from its detrimental effects. However, sin is our enemy and must be fought through God’s Word in the power of His Spirit. Just as with Ahaz, the very sin you are nurturing will become the weight that pulls you away from God. God’s principles are not optional – success or failure is directly connected with how you follow them. Resolve today to yield to God’s Spirit and do battle with each sinful thought, attitude, and behavior.

Day 289- October 16

2 Kings 14:1-20

What does it say?

King Amaziah came to the throne of Judah. He obeyed the Lord in some things, while rejecting God’s commands in others. He also engaged in war with Edom and Israel.

What does it mean?

Although Amaziah obeyed God in certain areas, he did not fully commit himself or the nation to the pursuit of faithfulness to God. As king of Judah, Amaziah had an opportunity to call the people back to obedience. Instead, Amaziah let pride move him into an unwise war with Israel. His loss in battle led to the loss of his throne and robbed him of the opportunity to bring Judah back to a right relationship with God. Amaziah’s personal failure to whole-heartedly obey the Lord affected every aspect of his rule.

How should I respond?

Partial obedience is usually the result of pride – we think we have a better way than God. We may be tempted to let victories over smaller things puff us up with pride. In essence, our actions say to God, “I’ve got this; I don’t need help.” Are there areas of your life you have taken control of? How might that control be connected to pride or partial obedience? Humbly seeking God’s wisdom and allowing Him to reshape your thinking through His Word will open the door for His blessing. Will you fully commit yourself to the Lord and allow Him to guide your decisions?

Further Reading: 2 Kings 14:21-15:38

Day 288- October 15

2 Kings 13

What does it say?

As kings of Israel, both Jehoahaz and his son Jehoash disobeyed God. During the reign of Jehoash, the Lord was gracious and gave victory over the Syrians.

What does it mean?

King Jehoash was another king who failed to lead God’s people to trust and obey Him. He did not take God’s Word seriously, but embraced false gods and a false spirituality. Through Elisha, God revealed future victory over the Syrian oppression. The amazing “life-giving” miracle after Elisha’s death should have been a confirming sign of Israel’s all-powerful, living God who loved His people and wanted the best for them. God’s Word was fulfilled as promised – King Jehoash defeated Syria three times. Though Jehoash remained unfaithful to God, God remained faithful to His covenant and His people.

How should I respond?

Like Jehoash, many in our society have a pseudo-spirituality – a “cover-your-bases-just-in-case” or a “hope-so” faith. But genuine faith comes through hearing and believing God’s life-giving truth, trusting Jesus Christ, and receiving the gift of eternal life through Him. There is no other way. Have you trusted in His sacrifice for you and received Him as your Savior? If so, your priority should be getting to know Him better through the Scriptures and encouraging others to come to Him. How will you boldly share God’s life-giving words to friends or family members who are spiritually dead and have no hope?

Day 287- October 14

2 Kings 12

What does it say?

Joash followed God’s Law while Jehoiada was alive and instituted a plan for the repair of the temple. Fearful of attack, he sent sacred temple items to bribe the Syrian king.

What does it mean?

Joash was faithful to God and prospered during the years that he was influenced and guided by Jehoida the High Priest. He successfully accomplished the repair of the temple and the restoration of the worship of God. However, after Jehoiada’s death, ungodly leaders induced Joash to abandon God and worship idols (2 Chron. 24). Instead of turning to God for deliverance when threatened by the Syrian king, Joash panicked and sent sacred objects from the temple as a bribe. God’s Word and His purposes for Joash had never become a vital part of the fiber of his life.

How should I respond?

God’s Word needs to be deeply rooted in the believer’s heart and life in order to avoid corrupt influences. Like Joash, many young people walk the line set out for them by their parents or godly leaders while they are under their influence. But at some point in life, believers must take ownership of how they’re going to live their lives. How are you taking responsibility for your personal relationship with Christ? Do you follow God’s Word because your minister or parents say it’s right? Or have you come to the point that you can say with conviction: “I am doing this because God says it is right and good … His Word is my standard for living.”

Day 286- October 13

2 Kings 11

What does it say?

After King Ahaziah’s death, Athaliah, his mother, took over the throne of Judah, eliminating all the royal family except for Joash who was hidden for six years.

What does it mean?

All hope for God’s covenant promise to David seemed to be lost. Athaliah had seized control of Judah by attempting to execute all the heirs to the throne. However, God spared King Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, the legitimate heir. Through Jehosheba and her husband, the High Priest Jehoiada, God provided Joash protection and godly counsel. On the day that Joash was anointed and crowned king, Jehoiada gave him a copy of the Mosaic Covenant. Because of his faithfulness to God, Jehoiada was able to influence a king and inspire a revival in the nation. Hope was restored, the people rejoiced, and “the city was quiet” and at peace because the nation had returned to God.

How should I respond?

When a nation returns to God, He returns to them. How are you, like Jehoiada, influencing and training the next generation to honor and obey the Lord? God has given believers a New Covenant, based on trust in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. How well do you know His promises as well as your responsibilities as a follower of Christ? Busy lives often cause us to drift away from our “first love” (Rev. 2:4). The Lord promises that if you return to Him, He will return to you. What part of your day will you set aside to study His Word and renew your commitment to Him?

Day 285- October 12

2 Kings 10

What does it say?

Jehu fulfilled Elijah’s prophecy regarding the destruction of Ahab’s descendants. He then destroyed Baal worship in Israel but didn’t follow the Lord with all of his heart.

What does it mean?

God used Jehu to judge the prophets of Baal, but his actions viciously exceeded His orders. Rather than stop at what the prophet of the Lord had commanded him to do, Jehu slaughtered anyone from the house of Ahab or Ahaziah who could possibly threaten his reign (Hosea 1:4). His zeal for the Lord became personal ambition. He also failed to remove the final obstacles between Israel and proper worship of the Lord – the golden calves in Dan and Bethel. Jehu was rewarded for his obedience but failed to receive God’s full blessing because he offered only part of himself to the Lord.

How should I respond?

We sometimes get our own ideas regarding how to serve the Lord. Like Jehu, we may start out doing as God has told us to do, but somehow we get caught up in a desire for recognition. Seeking to gain status in ministry leads us off the path God intended. The key to staying on track is to commit your whole heart to obeying God’s commands. Start by eliminating known sin from your life. In what areas are you stopping short of complete obedience? How are you exceeding His directions, based on your own desires? Partial obedience is still disobedience and will not result in God’s full blessing.

Day 284- October 11

2 Kings 9

What does it say?

Jehu was anointed king of Israel and told by the prophet to destroy the house of Ahab, including Jezebel. Prophecies were fulfilled regarding justice for the murder of Naboth.

What does it mean?

God had mercifully delayed judgment on Ahab’s family when he humbled himself before the Lord regarding compliance to Naboth’s murder at the hands of Jezebel. Instead, the disaster Elijah prophesied would fall on Ahab’s son, Joram (1 Kings 21). This may seem unfair on the surface. However, woven into the account of their lives was the opportunity for Joram and Jezebel to make the same choice Ahab did – humble contrition. As king, Joram chose to follow his mother’s evil practices. God’s 20-year delay of justice was also an opportunity for repentance. God’s justice and mercy are perfectly balanced.

How should I respond?

As human beings, we are extremely shortsighted when it comes to the big picture. We are so close to the immediate events of our lives and culture that we can’t fathom what God is doing. We’re usually grateful for His mercy on our own lives but question why the Lord would delay justice on someone else’s sin. What we fail to comprehend is that God extends opportunities for repentance to even the worst of humanity. His justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin. How has God shown you mercy? For whom do you need to pray humble repentance rather than wish God’s swift judgment?

Day 283- October 10

2 Kings 8:1-15

What does it say?

The Shunammite woman’s land was returned to her after a seven-year famine. Hazael murdered Ben-hadad and became king.

What does it mean?

Interaction with Elisha affected the lives of two people. The Shunammite woman had displayed trust in God by showing kindness and hospitality to Elisha. Later, Elisha protected her household by sending them away during the famine. Ordinarily, she would have lost her land and livelihood. However, her appeal to the king resulted in the restoration of all she had lost. Hazael, on the other hand, chose murder after Elisha prophesied his evil rule over Israel. Even though Hazael swore he could not do the monstrous things prophesied, his immediate actions proved otherwise.

How should I respond?

The choices you make will determine your life’s path. Just as Elisha was like a high-intensity light shining on the paths of people he came across, the Word of God is a light that reveals whether your path is pleasing to God. Take an honest look at the decisions you’ve made this week. What do they reveal about your motives or your faith? Allow Scripture to illuminate the remote crevices of your heart. Then confess any sin God’s Word reveals. What choices will you make this week to stay on course by trusting and obeying His Word?

Further Reading: 2 Kings 8:16-29

Day 282- October 9

2 Kings 7:3-20

What does it say?

Samaria suffered a severe famine while under siege by the Aramean army. The army fled when the Lord caused them to hear the sound of horses and chariots.

What does it mean?

The lack of basic human needs caused the people in Samaria to react differently to feelings of despair. Abandoning all logical thinking, two mothers conspired in desperation. Four lepers gave up hope and chose the only course of action left for their survival. Blaming God, King Joram sought to take control rather than wait for God’s promised deliverance. The king’s officer refused to believe that God was able to turn economic famine into an economic feast as Elisha prophesied. God was more than able to do as He had promised.

How should I respond?

Trusting God is much easier when times are good than when we’re faced with overwhelming difficulty. Our lack of faith is often revealed when life is full of questions, and God is not giving immediate answers. What has been your response to God in moments of despair? Did you persevere in faith, or did you simply give up hope? Take a moment to reflect on God’s promises and character revealed in Scripture. As you grasp the reality of who He is, you will learn to persevere, trusting Him to provide exactly what you need … at just the right time.

Day 281- October 8

2 Kings 6:1-23

What does it say?

Elisha caused an ax head to float. To reassure his servant, Elisha prayed that God would reveal the protecting presence of His spiritual army.

What does it mean?

Aram’s army was powerful, but their king didn’t understand that from God’s point of view, they were already defeated. Elisha knew he was not alone; yet for the benefit of his servant, God openly displayed the armies of the Lord. God’s overwhelming presence on the scene didn’t increase; it was simply revealed for the servant’s peace of mind. Through the miraculous events of this passage, it became obvious to the king of Aram that he was no match for Israel’s God.

How should I respond?

Trusting Jesus by faith places you into a unique relationship. You are never alone. You are continually protected by the power and victorious providence of God. This does not mean that bad things will never happen to you. But it does mean that God is with you in every situation, supplying the grace you need. Take a moment to reflect on your current circumstances. How has God already revealed His presence by working on your behalf? How does knowing that you’re not alone give you peace of mind to face this challenge?

Further Reading: 2 Kings 6:24-7:2

Day 280- October 7

2 Kings 5

What does it say?

Naaman heard that Elisha could heal him from leprosy. When Naaman listened to his servants and followed Elisha’s instructions to wash in the Jordan River, he was healed.

What does it mean?

Naaman was a proud man. But none of his accomplishments as the commander of Syria’s army could heal leprosy. It was providential that a servant girl told Naaman about a prophet in Israel who could heal him. Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house to be healed – on his own terms. Again, it was servants who convinced him to follow Elisha’s godly counsel. Naaman came to Israel with his entourage expecting a great work of healing worthy of a triumphant return to Syria. Instead, the road to healing required servant-like humility.

How should I respond?

Like Naaman, pride in our position and accomplishments can cause us to think that we should get special treatment. That type of attitude starts when we begin to view ourselves based solely on our accomplishments rather than through God’s eyes. When pride takes root in your heart, questioning God’s instructions is usually not far behind. How often are you ready to attempt some great feat for God but react to a menial request as if it’s beneath you? God’s road to success seldom takes us through ticker tape parades. What simple action has He placed before you today?

Day 279- October 6

2 Kings 4:1-37

What does it say?

Two mothers appealed to Elisha for help. One mother received daily provision, and the other received her son back from the dead.

What does it mean?

God used Elisha to meet the needs of two women when despair threatened to overwhelm them. The widow, in fear of losing her sons to slavery, sought Elisha’s wisdom and faithfully followed his instructions. God provided for her needs as she acted in faith by gathering the jars that were miraculously filled. The Shunammite woman, on the other hand, was financially well-off. But like the widow, she was faithful to God. Even while grieving for her son, she believed God could help through Elisha. God chose to reward her faith by raising her son from the dead. God helped both mothers with their immediate needs, and their children saw the power and goodness of God.

How should I respond?

When crisis comes, where do you turn? God does not fulfill our every request, but we can always trust His heart. He sees clearer, further, and more purely than you ever can. As you trust Him, the Lord may miraculously heal and provide, or He may simply give perfect peace throughout the ordeal. Either way, you can trust Him to listen and help when darkness seems to envelop you. Through each circumstance – the small and the great – the Lord is working in you to make you more like His Son, the Lord Jesus.

Further Reading: 2 Kings 4:38-44

Day 278- October 5

2 Kings 3

What does it say?

Joram formed an alliance with two other kings to squelch the Moabite rebellion. When the armies ran out of water, Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of the Lord.

What does it mean?

Joram, king of Israel, neglected the wise practice of seeking counsel from a godly prophet before he entered into conflict. As a result, the coalition almost failed until the kings sought out the prophet Elisha. Only the presence of the godly Judean King Jehoshaphat allowed Elisha to reveal a miraculous plan to destroy the rebellious Moabites and save them from Joram’s failure as a spiritual leader. Outwardly, he had made a show of godliness by putting away the pillar of Baal. But Elisha was aware of Joram’s evil character and pagan religious practices.

How should I respond?

Every day some new decision is placed before you. Do you seek God’s guidance from the start, or do you act first and wait until there’s trouble before calling on the Lord? Understanding how to make choices in light of God’s will can be a struggle, but it’s less of a mystery than many believe. Start with prayer. Ask God to help you recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then, choose to be thankful in all things because a negative attitude will skew your thinking. The final thing – and the hardest for most – is to submit humbly to the authorities God has placed over you. God’s will isn’t a mystery to be solved, but the result of prayerful obedience.

Day 277- October 4

2 Kings 2

What does it say?

Elijah’s ministry as the Lord’s prophet was coming to an end. Elisha, his protégé, was preparing to take his place. Elijah was taken to Heaven, and Elisha began his ministry.

What does it mean?

The revelation that Elijah was leaving gave Elisha the determination to stay by his side. Elisha’s responses to being left behind show the relationship that he had with his spiritual mentor as well as his understanding of what God was calling him to do. By requesting a double portion, Elisha was asking to be treated as a first-born son, heir to Elijah’s ministry as the prophet of the Lord. He wanted to make sure that he was fully equipped to do all that God had called him to do.

How should I respond?

How passionate are you about the things of God? Do you strive to be prepared to serve? Being prepared means understanding what it is that God has called you to do. If you haven’t already done so, take a spiritual gift test to determine exactly how the Holy Spirit has equipped you to operate within your local church. Also, examine your talents, abilities, and present circumstances. How do they factor into your service for the Lord? Consider contacting your church office regarding ministry training that will better prepare you to serve. Allow your passion for the Lord to drive you to action.

Day 276- October 3

2 Kings 1

What does it say?

When King Ahaziah was severely injured, he sent his servants to ask the Philistine god if he would recover. Elijah pronounced God’s judgment: Ahaziah would die.

What does it mean?

The account of King Ahaziah demonstrates the foolishness of defying God. He insulted the true God of Israel by inquiring of a false god. When Elijah pronounced judgment on the king, it should have caused him to repent. Instead, Ahaziah sent soldiers to arrest Elijah. The first two captains and their men approached the man of God with arrogance and disrespect. Their choice to obey the king rather than the Lord ended in their deaths. However, the last captain humbly acknowledged the Lord’s power and was spared. Ahaziah’s arrogant defiance cost him his life.

How should I respond?

Defying God will never put us in a winning position. Our mindset and behavior should be corrected anytime we find ourselves in opposition to God’s commands. Pride is the root cause of defiance; it can creep in when we least expect it. What is your present attitude toward God’s will in your life? When was the last time you humbly approached God and simply praised Him for who He is? God shows favor to those who are humble, but He resists the proud. Check your heart: are you giving God the respect and obedience He deserves?

Day 275- October 2

1 Kings 22:1-40

What does it say?

Ahab and Jehoshaphat sent for the prophet Micaiah after 400 prophets claimed victory in an attack against Ramoth Gilead. Micaiah then prophesied Ahab’s death in battle.

What does it mean?

Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and Micaiah had different approaches to the situation before them.
Ahab’s previous humility was replaced with arrogant avoidance of God’s prophet and His Word. The environment he created was designed solely to please himself, regardless of reality. Jehoshaphat, Judah’s godly king, entered a political alliance that resulted in peace but at the cost of spiritual compromise (2 Chronicles 21:1-6). He was discerning enough to realize the 400 prophets weren’t speaking the truth, but he stopped short of going home when impending disaster was prophesied against his alliance. Micaiah, however, was determined to speak the truth and do the right thing, even though he was the only one.

How should I respond?

Crisis situations and major life decisions tend to unveil our character. They act as a mirror, reflecting the good while simultaneously showing us what needs correction. This passage reveals three different crisis responses: rejecting truth, spiritual compromise, and unwavering conviction. Which example best describes how you handled the last major event in your life? Hiding from reality and compromising our beliefs breed disaster eventually, if not immediately. Are you prepared to take a stand for truth, even if it means standing alone? What part of your character reflection needs correction?

Further Reading: 1 Kings 22:41-53

Day 274- October 1

1 Kings 21

What does it say?

Naboth was murdered for refusing to sell his vineyard to Ahab. But God spared Ahab’s life when he responded with mourning and fasting to Elijah’s prophecy of judgment.

What does it mean?

Although Ahab’s childish response to Naboth’s refusal wasn’t fitting for a king, Jezebel’s solution was inconceivable. She manipulated Israel’s law to commit murder and forcibly take what Ahab wanted. Both the king and queen were totally without conscience. Ahab made himself an enemy of God by continually following his wife’s wicked advice rather than listening to the prophet of the Lord. There had never been anyone as evil and vile as Ahab. But Elijah’s prophecy jolted Ahab to the core and triggered sincere repentance. God saw the change in Ahab’s heart and responded with mercy.

How should I respond?

Violence and deceit have escalated to unimaginable heights. People steal what they want and often kill without remorse. Are those people more deserving of hell than others? Two thoughts emerge from today’s passage: no one is beyond hope with the Lord, and God’s mercy and grace extend to even the most vile. How do you react when a violent criminal claims to have found God in prison? Do you marvel at God’s grace, or are you agitated by the seeming injustice? Remember – if Christ’s death couldn’t pay for the most reprehensible act, then neither could it cover our sins. The next time you see a notorious criminal on the news, stop and pray. Reality may jolt them into repentance.

Day 273- September 30

1 Kings 19

What does it say?

Afraid for his life, Elijah ran into the desert to die but was cared for by an angel of the Lord. God reassured Elijah that he was not alone and called Elisha as his successor.

What does it mean?

Elijah went from boldly victorious atop Mt. Carmel to fearful and discouraged on Mt. Horeb. Years of physical and spiritual battles had taken a toll on his energy and emotions. Fear overshadowed what he knew to be true about the Lord. Elijah was so discouraged that he couldn’t see the reality of what God had accomplished through his faithful service. After meeting his physical needs and allowing him to rest, God gently reminded Elijah that he was not alone. Every response to Elijah’s discouragement reminded him that the Lord was still the same Almighty God he had always served.

How should I respond?

Discouragement can be overwhelming, causing us to focus on the darker side of circumstances rather than appreciating what the Lord has already done. It’s not even unusual to face an emotional letdown after a significant spiritual victory or occupational success. So how can you guard against becoming discouraged? First, learn to recognize when you’re vulnerable, needing physical and mental rest. Then allow what you learn about God’s character through Scripture to squelch any fear you feel. Finally, ask God who might be able to help in your current situation. Remember, even though you may feel isolated, you are never alone as a follower of Christ.

Further Reading: 1 Kings 20

Day 272- September 29

1 Kings 18

What does it say?

When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, the Lord sent fire to consume the entire altar. All of Israel worshipped the Lord, and heavy rain ended the drought.

What does it mean?

The showdown atop Mount Carmel was intended to force the people of Israel to choose between following Baal and worshipping the Lord. His challenge was initially met with silence. As the lone prophet of the Lord, Elijah faced 450 prophets of Baal with unwavering confidence; false gods were just that – false. The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer with such finality that there was no doubt regarding His identity, “the Lord is God!” The people of Israel could be silent no longer. Appropriately, they fell to the ground and worshipped Him as Lord.

How should I respond?

By definition, a follower of Christ can’t sit on the fence regarding daily obedience to the Lord. But many Christians have become so accustomed to enjoying all the world has to offer that they are no longer following Jesus. As you think back on this week, what pulled your attention or affection away from the Lord? What activity or television show took you in a direction away from following Christ? We are guilty of sitting on the fence if we claim Jesus as our Savior, yet follow things that oppose His teachings and offer false hope. How will you respond to Elijah’s challenge? “If the Lord is God, follow Him!” Will you sit on the fence, or worship the Lord with your words and life?

Day 271- September 28

1 Kings 17

What does it say?

During a regional famine, God provided for Elijah by a brook in Eastern Israel and later through a widow in Northern Israel, for whom miracles were performed.

What does it mean?

When the kings and people of Israel rejected their God, He withheld rain and even dew from their land. Not only would their crops fail to grow, but their livestock would starve to death, and the predatory animals from the desert would seek food among the populated cities. Elijah made it clear that the famine was not because God was weak or unable to provide for His people. It was because God’s people rejected Him. To demonstrate His power, however, God performed miracles that enabled a widow who was providing for Elijah to have a constant source of food and even raised her son from the dead!

How should I respond?

When circumstances change for the worse, it’s normal to wonder why God is allowing it to happen. We ask questions such as, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why won’t God stop this?” The trials we face can be the result of our own actions, the actions of others, or just random circumstances. Whatever the cause, our all-powerful God is not weak or unaware of our suffering. Occasional seasons of suffering can be reminders of what is most important. Take a few minutes now to pray. Ask God to reveal and forgive you of personal sins. Then, talk to Him about the sins of your country. What opportunity will you have today to point those in your community to the Lord and what He is doing?

Day 270- September 27

1 Kings 15-16

What does it say?

The reigns of several kings of both Israel and Judah are summed up according to the good or bad they did in the Lord’s eyes.

What does it mean?

The passage we read today reports that God Himself chose each of these kings. When they honored God (as in the case of King Asa), God honored them and blessed them with long and fruitful reigns. God was displeased when they dishonored Him, especially when they fought with each other and promoted the worship of false gods. Accordingly, their historical record depicts them as useless and unsuccessful during those times. God intended Israel to be a peaceful nation, fully loving Him and one another. However, their actions often turned into sibling rivalry with God’s people turning away from their God.

How should I respond?

Everything rises or falls with leadership. Nations, communities, businesses, and families either thrive under a strong leader or suffer when an ineffectual leader is in charge. Followers of Christ in positions of leadership have a responsibility to honor the Lord with their decisions as well as the example they set. In what places do your actions influence others? How can you promote unity or encourage people around you to look to the Lord for strength and direction? The decisions you make this week may have a profound spiritual effect on your circle of influence. How do you want to be remembered?

Day 269- September 26

1 Kings 14

What does it say?

As Israel split into Northern and Southern Kingdoms, the kings and the people behaved wickedly, making idols and false gods in their own special places of worship.

What does it mean?

The religious climate had changed dramatically since the days of David! While David had devoted his heart and actions to worshiping God fully, King Jeroboam of the northern tribes and King Rehoboam of the southern tribes substituted idols and a false goddess for the one true, living God. This chapter reports that Israelites were making Asherah poles as objects of false worship. Asherah was said to be the mother goddess over Baal and a fertility goddess of the Canaanites. Some even said she was mother to Israel’s God! It was detestable to the one true, living God that His own people would worship idols and false goddesses.

How should I respond?

We live in a world in which polytheism (worshiping multiple gods) and pluralism (adopting multiple religions) is popular. However, the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God (Deut 6:4-5) and one true religion that is pleasing to God (Eph 4:4-6). As you work your way through 1 and 2 Kings, make a list of the good and bad kings of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. What did they do that caused God to see them as worthy or unworthy to be kings? Ask yourself: “Is there anything in my life that has a higher priority than my relationship with God?” What action will you take to put and keep God first in your life?

Day 268- September 25

1 Kings 13

What does it say?

God’s prophet warned Jeroboam of coming judgment. On his route home, the prophet heeded the words of a deceitful prophet and disobeyed God’s instructions.

What does it mean?

As the decline of Israel continued, flagrant disregard for God’s laws seemed to accelerate. As He so often did, God raised up a voice to communicate His Words to His people. The man of God prophesied future destruction and reminded the people of a timeless principle: God does not tolerate disobedience from anyone, even kings and prophets. The death of the unnamed man of God demonstrates the serious nature of God’s expectation for His children: complete obedience. Even though he was deceived by the old prophet who claimed to have heard from an angel, the younger prophet was without excuse because he had received a direct word from the Lord.

How should I respond?

God’s expectation of complete obedience from His children remains the same today. Like the younger prophet, we also are without excuse because we have the unchanging, written Word of God. The path to obedience begins with the responsibility to read and understand God’s Word. How much time do you dedicate to studying Scripture in order to know the Lord’s commands? Is it a focused, daily exercise or something you do only as time allows? God has graciously communicated His Word to you. Take time to discover what it says and obediently put His instructions into practice.

Day 267- September 24

1 Kings 12

What does it say?

Israel’s new rulers followed their own selfish motives. The kingdom was divided and fell further away from God.

What does it mean?

Its new leaders ravaged the nation of Israel soon after the death of Solomon. Rehoboam’s pride and arrogance lead to the dividing of the kingdom. Jeroboam’s fear and need for acceptance forced him to embrace and promote idolatry. The once great nation, a symbol of God’s blessing, was now being lead astray by rulers who had no thought of Him. And, as sin became more prevalent, the divided nation began to learn a very hard lesson: leadership motivated by selfishness leads only to destruction.

How should I respond?

Leadership at any level can be difficult. Even so, success is possible when we make God our focus rather than ourselves. Just like Rehoboam and Jeroboam, we often fail to realize that we’re incapable of leading the way God wants us to when we replace following Him with pursuing selfish desires and motives. How much time do you spend asking God for His wisdom and guidance in your leadership? Make a list of the places God has called you to lead. Then ask Him to help you see your true motivations. Leadership motivated by following God will always honor Him.

Day 266- September 23

1 Kings 11:13-43

What does it say?

With the heart of the king and the nation turned away from God, judgment on Israel began to fall.

What does it mean?

God’s pronouncement of judgment on Solomon meant not only the end of his reign, but also the end of Israel’s golden age of financial prosperity. The interesting aspect of Israel’s demise was God’s part in raising up the adversaries. Why did He do this? Because Solomon and the people had forsaken Him. God was not concerned with the wealth or prestige of the nation; He wanted the hearts of His people to be devoted to Him. Consequently, the destruction of the nation began, and even their “wise” king was powerless to stop it.

How should I respond?

Many of us have asked the question, “What does God want from me?” Though the details of the answer are specific for each person, much of its foundation is found in one simple principle: God wants the hearts of His people to be totally devoted to Him. That can be accomplished only through learning and obeying His commands. Are you following God based on the dedicated study of Scripture? Or, are you living according to what seems to make sense in your own eyes? Determine to start each day in God’s Word and develop the kind of heart your Lord desires – one that’s totally and completely devoted to Him.

Day 265- September 22

1 Kings 11:1-13

What does it say?

Solomon ignored God’s commands regarding marriage and idolatry. When God pronounced judgment, Solomon learned his kingdom would be taken away.

What does it mean?

Solomon was known throughout the ancient world for his unparalleled wisdom. Yet, with all of his wisdom, Solomon foolishly chose to ignore God’s simple, clear commands. Whether from self-indulgence or the belief that he was above the law, Solomon followed the lure of idolatry and gave his heart to something other than God. It started with one act of disobedience – marrying women who served other gods. As the Lord’s wrath was kindled and judgment rendered, it was clear that Solomon, God’s appointed leader, had drifted away and no longer had an obedient, fully committed heart to the one true God.

How should I respond?

A feeling of distance in our relationship with Christ usually starts with one act of disobedience. Something that seems to be only a small compromise can eventually lead to actions and behaviors that take your focus far from God. Take a moment to ask yourself, “What is trying to turn my heart away from the Lord? Where am I acting in direct disobedience to God’s clear instructions?” Ask God to reveal which habit, activity, or relationship is negatively affecting your walk with Christ. God desires the same thing from you that He did from Solomon: a heart that is fully and totally committed to Him.

Day 264- September 21

1 Kings 10

What does it say?

The Queen of Sheba visited and saw Solomon’s vast wealth.

What does it mean?

Rumors of Solomon’s vast riches brought many rulers to Israel to see his kingdom for themselves. There was no doubt God had fulfilled His promise to bless Solomon with wealth and wisdom. Even the Queen of Sheba gave credit to the God of Israel for all that Solomon had been given. But Solomon multiplied his fortune far greater than God intended. His accumulation of chariots and horses was actually prohibited by Mosaic Law, because it suggested a sense of security in military might rather than in the Lord. Solomon began building his assets without regard for obedience to God. His wealth began to turn his heart from the Lord, the Giver, to the things that had been given.

How should I respond?

We’re bombarded every day with commercials designed to make us run out and buy the latest gadget, car, or article of clothing. Obviously, certain things are necessities. God also gives some things for us to enjoy. It’s only when those things get in the way of your obedience to God that it becomes a problem. Building material wealth without regard for God causes your security and affection to be misplaced. Materialism will always have a negative effect on your relationship with God. Look around you. What occupies your mind and heart most: building stockpiles of stuff or building your relationship with God?

Day 263- September 20

1 Kings 9:1-9

What does it say?

God appeared a second time to Solomon and made a covenant with him.

What does it mean?

God, in His faithfulness, assured Solomon that He heard his prayer at the temple dedication. God would grant all that Solomon had asked. God’s heart and presence then consecrated the temple. Solomon and his descendants, however, had additional responsibility placed on them. Disobedience or unfaithfulness by Solomon and his family in any form would not be tolerated. Violation of God’s commands would result in Israel’s removal from their land and destruction of the temple. Forsaking the Lord would ultimately make Israel the object of ridicule.

How should I respond?

God holds leaders to a higher standard because they are in a position of guiding, teaching, and directing others. What position of leadership are you in today? Whether it’s parenting, serving at church, or supervising at work, it is imperative to be the best example possible for people to follow. In what ways do you need to improve as a leader? How can you be a godly influence this week? Your obedience or disobedience to the Lord will cause a ripple effect to those under your authority. The responsibilities of leadership may carry a burden, but the opportunity to impact others is unparalleled.

Further Reading: 1 Kings 9:10-28

Day 262- September 19

1 Kings 8:22-66

What does it say?

Solomon offered a prayer of dedication at the temple.

What does it mean?

As king, Solomon had the responsibility of leading the people of Israel. After completing the task of building a place of worship for the Lord, it was time to remind Israel of their covenant relationship with God. Solomon turned his attention away from the people, knelt before God, and prayed. His prayer of dedication set an example of humility, thanksgiving, praise, and petition for forgiveness of sin. The people needed not only to see Solomon’s example, but also to follow it.

How should I respond?

As a baby, how did you learn to feed yourself? Your parents showed you what to do, and you followed. We often learn to follow God in the same way. Whether you are at the beginning of your relationship with Jesus, or you have been walking with Him many years, there is always something you can share with others by example. This doesn’t mean that you have to be “perfect.” That isn’t possible or practical. Genuine faith lived out daily is powerful even when you make mistakes. Who is watching you? How can you set an example by showing humility and thankfulness or by admitting wrong that you’ve done? Determine now to be a person of genuine faith.

Day 261- September 18

1 Kings 8:1-21

What does it say?

God’s glory filled the temple after the Ark of the Covenant was brought in and put into place.

What does it mean?

The completion of the temple was a major milestone for the people of Israel. Having a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant and for their worship was confirmation that they were no longer wandering. After all of his hard work, Solomon desired more than anything for God’s presence to dwell in the temple. The peopled cheered in a fitting celebration as the cloud descended. Although the cloud was a visible reminder of God’s presence with His people, He is not limited by time and space.

How should I respond?

It’s easy to feel the presence of God on Sunday morning when we’re in church, but what about after you walk out the door? The Bible says God is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere all the time. We sometimes think of His presence in our life as limited to a specific location or act. But when Jesus says that He is with us always, He means it with a certainty that can be difficult for us to fathom. Think of it this way: when you leave church, picture God putting his arm around you and saying “Where are we going for lunch?” How would continuing that same mental image affect the rest of your week? You have access to Christ 24/7. How will you take advantage of that today?

Day 260- September 17

1 Kings 7:13-14; 40-51

What does it say?

Solomon finished the temple with the help of Huram.

What does it mean?

In his wisdom, Solomon knew that people of various skills and abilities were needed to build the temple. This passage specifically mentions Huram, who was very skilled in working with bronze. He was able to make pillars, basins, wheels, altars and much more – all on a very large scale. It was a monumental task, but thanks to Solomon’s wisdom and Huram’s willingness to use his talent, the Lord’s temple was completed beautifully.

How should I respond?

Each of us has been given unique skills and abilities that that can be used for God in some way. It takes all types of people and all types of abilities to keep a church functioning properly. Maybe, like Huram, you know exactly what you do well. Good! How are you using that ability for Christ? Talk to family and friends if you’re not sure about your strengths; they can probably point out the areas in which you excel. Ask God to help you see your gifting, and then connect with your church office. Your pastor or ministry director would love to brainstorm ways to honor God and further His kingdom through your skills.

Further Reading: 1 Kings 7:15-39

Day 259- September 16

1 Kings 6

What does it say?

As Solomon built the temple, God reminded him of the conditional promise that was based on obedience to His commands.

What does it mean?

Solomon worked diligently, building the temple for the Lord. The cherubim were carved from olive wood and overlaid with gold. He followed God’s specifications precisely, sparing no expense. It took seven years of continuous hard work. Yet in the midst of his obedience, God reminded Solomon to follow His commands. God was just as concerned about Solomon’s inner obedience as He was about the outward. It was important for Solomon to remember for Whom he was working and for what purpose. The word from the Lord must have encouraged Solomon to stay focused and finish well.

How should I respond?

We often get so caught up in doing things for God that we need to be reminded to follow Him. Are you serving the Lord by volunteering in your local church? God has something for each of us to do. Nonetheless, outer obedience becomes empty if not motivated by an obedient heart. Think about your current service for the Lord. Have you placed a higher priority on doing than following? Make a change by remembering the purpose behind what you are doing and for Whom you are doing it. The renewed focus will bring greater motivation to stay on track and finish your task with excellence.

Further Reading: 1 Kings 7:1-12

Day 258- September 15

1 Kings 5

What does it say?

Solomon prepared to build the temple.

What does it mean?

After his encounter with God, Solomon focused on the great task he had been given – building the temple. The Lord honored Solomon’s request for wisdom, guiding him as he prepared to move forward. He knew what needed to be done to complete the task properly and in a timely manner. Solomon also had the wisdom to ask for help. The peaceful and profitable deal with Hiram of Tyre ensured the building of the temple. The agreement not only provided the very best wood, but also freed Solomon to focus on his task by eliminating the possibility of war.

How should I respond?

What job has God given you to do? What needs to be put into place to complete your task successfully? Before supplies are gathered, schedules written, or workers employed, the first step is to allow God to guide and direct you as you go forward. He will show you what needs to be done and who to ask for help. We all have limits. Asking for help is not weakness but wisdom at work. Every day presents an opportunity to serve the Lord, and He deserves our best. But our best can only be given when we’re wisely prepared for the task. Today, stop and ask for God’s guidance before you act.

Day 257- September 14

1 Kings 3

What does it say?

Solomon prayed for wisdom to lead the people.

What does it mean?

Even though Solomon was a young, inexperienced king, God recognized that his heart was faithful. So when Solomon fell victim to the Canaanite influence, offering sacrifices to the Lord at pagan altars, there is no indication of a rebuke from God. Instead, God gave him an opportunity to make a request. Knowing he lacked maturity to lead, Solomon placed the people of Israel above himself and asked God to give him wisdom and a discerning heart. God was pleased and not only granted his request, but also promised him additional blessings of wealth and honor.

How should I respond?

If you could ask God for anything, what would it be? A better home, job, health, or financial security? It isn’t wrong to ask for what we need, but today’s passage shows what is more important than any “thing.” How often do you ask God for the ability to see people and circumstances as He does (discernment) and for an understanding of what to do (wisdom)? We cannot successfully manage our homes, families, and finances or make life-altering decisions without wisdom and discernment. What are you facing today? Rather than trying to figure it out alone, stop now and pray as Solomon did.

Further Reading: 1 Kings 4

Day 256- September 13

1 Kings 2

What does it say?

Before David’s death, he charged Solomon to keep the Lord’s commands and reminded him which men had been faithful or disloyal. Solomon then dealt with his enemies.

What does it mean?

David spent the last days of his life preparing Solomon to rule Israel. On his deathbed, David addressed two issues: Solomon’s relationship with God and his relationships with others. The priority was Solomon’s personal walk with the Lord. By obeying God’s commands, Solomon would secure the throne for his descendants and set an example of obedience for all of Israel. David reminded Solomon that being a strong man required taking a stand for God’s Word. Physical might was no substitute for God’s strength. Solomon established peace for his throne by dealing justly with enemies still lurking in Israel, including his brother, Adonijah, who was still scheming to become king.

How should I respond?

For decades, Hollywood has dictated the American view of manhood. Whether it’s a cowboy galloping into town with guns blazing or a renegade agent bent on justice at any cost, we can’t seem to get enough. But how do those images line up with David’s description of manhood in today’s passage? There’s never been a more challenging time to take a stand for God’s Word than in our present culture. However, “walking in the ways” of the Lord allows you to trade your weakness and insecurities for His strength. Will you take the challenge? It’s time to man up!