Bible reading for Dec 21.
2 Chronicles 25.
"And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart." (25:2)
A HALF-HEARTED LIFE. King Amaziah demonstrated a divided heart and life before God. The Lord blessed him and gave him a twenty-nine year reign. Earlier he did well, but then turned away from biblical counsel and worshiped a false god. The prophet Elijah said that a divided heart was like walking with one good leg and one bad (1 Kings 19:21). The Lord recognizes and rewards the good his people do in faith (2 Cor 5:10). "God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do" (Heb 6:10). But as we see, there's tragic loss and sadness in the end for Amaziah because of his divided heart.
REFLECT. The next time you have a flat tire or get one of those shopping carts that has a wheel with a mind of its own, think about the blessing of whole-heartedness. One flat tire affects your entire car, even if you have three good tires which are not flat. A half-hearted attempt at a diet or exercise does not usually succeed. A half-hearted marriage commitment will likely be a total failure. A divided heart affects all of life, and usually will result in complete regret in the end. We may be saved, but it will be as through the flames (1 Cor 3:11-15). The Lord would have us to love, trust, and serve him with a whole and undivided heart (Deut 6:5; Prov 3:5; Jer 24:7; Matt 22:37). Do you know where the fault lines of your heart lay? What I mean by that is, are you aware of -- and confessing -- those places where you are likely to step outside of the biblical counsel of God? Ask the Lord, and rely upon him, to give you what you need to whole-heartedly follow him.
"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." (12:11)
WAR IN HEAVEN. Behind the flow of history lies a cosmic battle. In this chapter and the next we see the great dragon (Satan; the devil) being cast down to the earth (ch 12) and the unveiling of the Antichrist and false prophet (ch 13), together a kind of infernal trinity. The woman is Israel, the twelve stars in her crown represent the twelve tribes, and the Messiah is born from her, pursued by Satan, and ultimately ascends to heaven. The woman will suffer yet for three and a half years in the great tribulation. The devil will accuse and persecute Jesus' followers, but they will overcome because they trust the blood of Christ for forgiveness, and they hold fast to their testimony that Jesus is Lord (cf 17:14; Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3). For more on the details read Constable's notes on this chapter in the NET Bible.
REFLECT. Once again we are reminded that we live in a supernatural universe, surrounded by unseen powers (Eph 6:12). This chapter tells us that we are living in an epic drama being played out in history. Will believers go through the tribulation period? Bible students disagree on this, but one thing is for sure -- those of us who follow the Lord Jesus must be prepared to suffer the rejection and hostility of the world (Matt 10:17-39). Not all believers will go through the great tribulation described in Revelation, but all of God's people will experience some degree of tribulation, as Paul says, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:12-13). Are you and I prepared for this? Are we confident in the sufficiency of Christ's death for us?
Image credit. Detail of chart by Clarence Larkin (1850-1924). We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.