Manna for Today

 

Thank God for His Loyal Love (Psalm 136:1-9)

 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.  His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:  His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights— His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

Learn it:

            Psalm 136 is a list of wonderful things God has done because he loves his people.  The first three verses tell us what we should do.  We should be giving thanks to God!  He tells us three times to do it, so he is putting a lot of emphasis on it!  We need to be thanking God all the time for the things he has done in our lives and the things he currently is doing. 

            The other thing that you will notice in the Psalm is that every verse ends with “His love endures forever”.  The Hebrew word used for ‘love’ in this passage is hesed which means something greater than just ‘love’.  Here is how other translations of the Bible interpret it.  The ESV reads, “His steadfast love endures forever”; the NET, “His loyal love endures forever”; and the NLT, “His faithful love endures forever.”  This love God has for his people is steadfast, loyal and faithful.

Live it: 

            Just like the Psalmist made a list of the wonderful things God has done, from creation to destroying Israel’s enemies, we should make lists too.  I encourage you today to take some time and write down some of the ways God has displayed his love to you.  Maybe you also are thankful for God creating us and the creation we are able to live in.  Or it could be thanking him for your family, your job or the gifts God has given you.  It can be anything you can think of! 

 

            Find a quiet place or put on some headphones but reflect on how good God is and what he has done for your life.  If you are a follower of Christ, then we can all start our lists by thanking him for sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins and giving us eternal life.  


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The Word of God is Always Right (1 Kings 22)

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”  8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”  “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.  9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”  (1 Kings 22:7-9)

When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?”  “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”  16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”  17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”  18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”  (1 Kings 22:15-18)

Learn it:

                We have on last battle that Israel is about to enter in to.  Israel is not going to fight alone.  The King of Judah has come up to fight against Aram together.  King Jehoshaphat want King Ahab to inquire of the LORD if they should go into this fight.  King Ahab gathers together 400 prophets to seek the wisdom of the LORD.  We should assume that these prophets are not genuine prophets who truly fear the LORD.  We should assume that because after they prophesy a victory Jehoshaphat asks in verse 7 if there is a “prophet of the LORD” they can ask.  Ahab is annoyed at this because the true prophet never gives the king good news. 

                Ahab summons Micaiah, the true prophet to come and seek the counsel of the LORD.  What’s funny is that Micaiah first answers the king sarcastically saying that they will be victorious.  Then the king commands that he wants him to tell the truth!  That’s when Micaiah tells the truth and through a story implies that they will lose, they will be scattered, and that King Ahab will be killed.  Naturally, the king does not like this answer. 

                The kings disregard the warnings and go to fight against Aram.  As you would imagine, the prophet was right, Israel and Judah lost the battle.  Also, King Ahab died in battle even though he did his best to disguise himself.  It is a stern warning that we cannot hide from the will of God.  God’s will, will always happen.  This is how the author ends the book of 1 Kings.  We learn that the son of Ahab is Ahaziah and he is just as wicked as his father.  We are left wondering what will the fate of Israel and Judah be? 

Live it: 

                This last story is a reminder to us that God’s words will always come true.  King Ahab did not like Micaiah’s prophies of doom and gloom.  He wanted to be encouraged and told he was always going to win.  When God tells us to do something it is not always going to be easy.  King Ahab had every right to attack Aram and reclaim land that rightly belonged to them.  Yet, the timing was not right.  They needed to wait and go to war when the LORD told them to do so. 

 

                Just like the warning of the prophet came true if they were disobedient, God would have provided another way had they been obedient.  We should be just as confident in the hope of God just as we are in his discipline.  We have many promises made by God that we can cling to because we know his words are true and faithful.  What do you need to hope in today as a child of God?


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The Importance of Repentance (1 Kings 21)

20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’  24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”  (1 King 21:20-24)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.  28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”  (1 Kings 21:27-29)

Learn it:

                King Ahab is looking for some land where he can grow a vegetable garden.  He approaches Naboth who has a vineyard and was wondering if he could buy it from him.  Naboth refuses and the King goes home and throws himself a pity party.  His wife Jezebel decides that she is going to get this land for the king.  She puts together a scheme to kill Naboth and then is able to get the land.

                Even though Ahab has seen the powers of God time and time again he still fails to obey the commands of the LORD.  Even though Jezebel was the one that carried out the plan of killing Naboth, Ahab is the one that the fault falls on.  Elijah is called up to go and confront Ahab and share the news of God’s discipline.  At the hearing of this news, Ahab tears his clothes and humbles himself and repents.  At seeing this the LORD holds off the discipline and will put it on his children.

Live it:    

                Reading through this story we see that King Ahab was the worst king of Israel.  The author of 1 Kings makes this very clear in 1 Kings 21:25-26.  Yet, when Ahab repents God shows mercy.  Wow!  This story clearly displays how much emphasis God puts on our motives and what is going on in our hearts.  Even when we fail to obey God’s commands, if we come before him with a sorrowful heart, he will hear us.  It must be genuine.  We can’t give in to temptation knowing that God will forgive us.  We must have pure motives and sincerely mean that we want to turn from our sin.  What do you need to surrender to God?  What sin do you need to weep over and receive God’s mercy for?


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God is Faithful to His People (1 Kings 20)

 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.  (1 Kings 20:26-30)

Learn it:

                In chapter 20 Israel is under attack from the Arameans.  Their king, Ben-Hadad, wants Israel to give his nation all their money and treasures.  Ahab submits to him once but when asked a second time he refuses and then fights back.  King Ahab gets a word from a prophet of the LORD that if he sends out certain people that they will win this fight.  The King obeys the words of the LORD and they have a commanding victory over the Arameans.  We again see that when Israel obeys the LORD good things happen!

                Even though they have an overwhelming victory King Ahab does not follow through fully on what the LORD has commanded.  The LORD wants there to be no survivors of Israel’s armies.  Yet when King Ben-Hadad comes before King Ahab looking for mercy Ahab grants it to him.  This will cause Ahab to be disciplined by the LORD.    

Live it: 

                What’s important to remember in this passage is King Ahab is the same person that lead Israel to worship other gods.  He changed the national god of Israel from the LORD to Baal.  Even though Ahab sinned greatly the LORD still gave him opportunities to repent and still showed him, and the nation, mercy.

                This should give us great comfort in our lives!  Even when we feel like our sin is to great for God to forgive, he is still there.  When we wonder if God will ever help us again, he will!  God is faithful to his people.  If you have put your trust in God, then God will never leave your side.  We must take the steps of repenting of our ways and turn back to him.  He wants to have a relationship with us and loves us unconditionally.  Even if we are wicked as King Ahab, God has already forgiven our sins.  The penalty was paid on the cross.  All we have to do is accept the grace and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. 


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Pastor’s Corner