Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28- Sin Is A Crooked Stick

July 28, 2011

Scripture Readings:
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21; Romans 11:13-36;
Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 20;7

A crooked stick will cast a crooked shadow.  

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21

If I said to you that I was holding a straight stick, you would be able to picture my situation.  The stick would be predictable.  But, if I told you that I was holding a crooked stick, you would not know exactly what that meant.  The stick could be twisting to the left.  It might be swerving to the right at several places.  The point is that crooked is complicated.  Well, today in our reading, we find out that sin is a crooked stick.  When sin is involved in peoples' lives things get complicated.

Good King Jehoshaphat dies and his evil son, Jehoram, comes to the throne.  He does evil in the site of the Lord by killing all of his siblings to secure his position.  The crookedness begins.  He also marries a daughter of the evil King Ahab, who rules in the Northern Kingdom.  This alliance is designed to bring peace, but it also reflects Jehoram's idolatry.  Elijah is dead at this point, but even though he was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, he apparently left a written prophecy about this evil king in the Southern Kingdom.  According to Elijah's prophecy, Jehoram would be judged by God for his sins and would die a horrible death from an intestinal disease that would cause his bowels to come out.  We should not be surprised when Elijah's prophecy comes to pass.

More crookedness befalls the Southern Kingdom as Ahaziah comes to power.  He, too, makes alliances with the evil kings in the North, which eventually causes his death, as God judges King Joram of the Northern Kingdom and in the process, King Ahaziah is killed, also.

Lesson:  Be careful who you align yourself with.  Crooked people walk down crooked paths, and God judges sin.

When Ahaziah dies, his evil mother, Athaliah, kills all of her male children and grandchildren, in order to secure her own position of power on the throne of Judah.  This should not surprise us, because she is the daughter of evil King Ahab and evil Queen Jezebel of the Northern Kingdom.  One grandchild manages to escape, thanks to his aunt, Jehosheba.  This child, Joash, is kept in God's Temple by a good priest named Jehoiada. At the right time, Joash is anointed as king by the Jehoiada. Athaliah is killed and the nation is delivered from another crooked stick.

Have you experienced the crooked stick of sin in your life?  Jesus is available to straighten out the crooked sticks.  He makes crooked things straight.  How?  By dying for our sins, resurrecting from the dead, and providing the Holy Spirit in our lives to sanctify us.  Through our sanctification, the crooked things are made straight.  We are new creatures in Chris,t who are no longer slaves to sin.  Walk God's straight and narrow path with confidence!

Romans 11:13-36

Thoughout our Bible readings, I have referred to the concept of the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  When speaking of this, I have often referenced Romans 11.  Today, we finally will analyze what Paul is teaching in Romans 11.

Last time we read, we learned that God planned for the Jews to reject Him, for the most part.  Today, Paul states that this was for the express purpose of offering salvation to the rest of the world. Abraham, as the father of all believers, is the root of the Jewish people.  If Abraham's roots were good, which they were, then the root of the Jewish people is good. 

Pic of a branch being grafted in
The Jews, who were unbelieving, have been pruned like bad branches on a tree.  The Gentiles have been grafted into this olive tree to participate with Abraham in belief in God.  Paul argues that the Gentiles need to be humble in their receiving of salvation.  It is a gift of God planned from the beginning of time.  Gentiles must remain faithful in their grafting.  God can prune anyone who falls from faith off of the tree.

Paul contends that God intends to graft the broken branches back into the tree, once the full measure of the Gentiles have been grafted to the tree.  It is a picture of the reconciliation and the final conclusion to God's story.  After grafting in the Gentiles, God will restore the Jews to a place of faith and fellowship.  His promises to these chosen people will be fulfilled.  They will fellowship with their Messiah and be ruled by Him.

Paul concludes with these words,
"Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods!"  Romans 11:33 (NLT)
Do you agree with Paul?  Do you sometimes find God's methods hard to understand?  Can you trust Him, anyway? 

Psalm 22:1-18

Here is a hard method to understand... God, Himself, dies on a cross for our sins.  That is a hard method.  This psalm is about that method. This psalm is the voice of Christ on the cross.

Proverbs 20:7

The godly walk with integrity. Children of people who have integrity are blessed by that.

What did you see today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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