Devotional Week 48 Thursday
“How long will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I lay up cares within me and have sorrows in my heart day after day? How long shall my enemy exalt over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God, lighten the eyes of my faith to behold Your face in the pitchlike darkness, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over (her) and those that trouble me rejoice when I am shaken. “ But I have trusted and been confident in Your mercy and loving-kindness; my heart shall rejoice and be in high spirits in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
Psalm 13: 1-6
A Night Light Against the Darkness
I am tentative before You,
confused in my clutter of misplaced dreams,
shrivel by the cramp of busy-ness,
the leak of disappointment,
the grind of cynicism,
From this mock of shadows, this nightmare
of botch, I turn to You,
this prayer a night light
against the darkness,
There is a strand assurance in the turning,
as if at the approaching of a long-lost friend;
In my brokenness glimmers an awareness
that only what is broken, like bread,
and hearts, can be shared;
that love is hard, tougher than nails,
humbling as mystery, true to life…
Grace, then, to fear not the shadows,
but to heed the ripples of light
forever breaking in,
bidding me rise and follow toward brother, sisters,
the promised day and You.”
Wrestling the Light
Today’s Study Text:
“In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz King of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash King of Judah reigned. He was twenty-five years old when he began his 29-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Jehoadden of Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his forefather, He did all things as Joash his father did.”
II Kings 14: 1-3
“Unholy Alliances” – Part 2
“The Legacy We Leave Behind”
“Everybody is influenced by somebody or something.”
What person’s legacy has influenced my life most?
Who do I believe I have an influence upon?
What is the legacy my life will leave upon those around me?
“The true legacy of a servant will not be determined by what they have done but by what others do as a result of what they have done.”
“The impact God has planned for us does not occur when we’re pursuing impact. It occurs when we’re pursuing God.”
It was a troubling time in the history of Israel and Judah. I refer to this period as a roller-coaster filled with highs and lows. A king would come into power who chose to worship God and things in the nation would begin to improve.
However, when the fish began to rot from the head down, it didn’t take long for the entire nation to become totally obsessed by foolishness and folly.
I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the influence of each king, whether on the throne in Judah or Israel, in the end proved to be the leading factor which propelled the people under a particular monarch’s rulership to follow Jehovah or bow before the idols of foreign nations. It is this fact that got me to reflecting on the idea of the influence you and I have on those around us, for whether we choose to recognize the fact or not, each of us leaves a legacy, stamped or imprinted upon the lives of the people we meet.
In their book Making the Blue Plate Special, authors Florence Littauer and her daughters, Marita Littauer and Lauren Littauer Briggs offer this important perspective on the life lessons which we leave behind: “History is what comes before us, legacy is what comes after us. When you know your history – you know where you have come from – and you know your purpose, you are uniquely positioned to pass what you’ve learned on to others. You live your life with a sense of legacy – thinking about the differences you can make in the world.”
This becomes a critical factor as we consider how the parental unions, at the time of the “Kings” came about. Many of the marriages were not God-ordained. They were, in fact, political arrangements. In II Chronicles we read that, “Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, but was allied by marriage with Ahab” (II Chronicles 18: 1, Amplified Bible).
This is one of those times when we might refer back to an old saying, “All the money in the world couldn’t buy happiness.” Or in this case, “peace.” Hoping to keep things “cool” between Israel and Judah, a man called “Good King Jehoshaphat,” got his own children involved by marriage with the wicked King Ahab. For all the “good” Jehoshaphat did in his life, and believe me when I say that this man tried his best to lead a tremendous revival in his kingdom of Judah, the affect wasn’t consistent because it is next to impossible to promote spirituality to your “subjects” when your own family is interlocked with none other than Ahab and Jezebel.
And so, we uncover the sad picture that by the time Elijah and Elisha passed from the scene of action, the new rulers were drifting spiritually and having a dreadful time doing “that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” As Bible commentator Matthew Henry explains: “Amaziah (the son of Joash King of Judah), the successor, is the king whom we take account of. In the temple he acted, in some manner like (his father) Joash, but not like David. (Amaziah) began well, but did not persevere…He kept up his attendance on God’s altars and his attention to God’s Word, yet not like David. It is not enough to do that which our pious predecessors did, merely to keep up the usage, but we must do it as they did it, from the same principle of faith and devotion and with the same sincerity and resolution.”
What a tragedy that the legacy left by so many of the rulers in Israel and Judah, even when noted as “right in the eyes of God,” proved to be half-hearted service and thus the succeeding generations failed to have deep-rooted faith that weathered the storms of life. As the great reformer John Knox made clear: “When I think of those who have influenced my life the most, I think not of the great, but of the good.”
As you consider today the influence your life has on every person you touch, I know that I want my prayer to be that of Phillip Brooks: “May I be such a man (woman) and live such a life that if every person was such as I and every life a life like mine, this earth would be paradise.”
“The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“No one is a light unto himself, not even the sun.”
“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him: male and female He created them.”
Genesis 1: 27
“These hands are shaped like God’s,
And so let them be careful what they do,
Let them be quick to lift the weak,
Let them be kind as they are strong.
Let them defend the silent meek
Against the many-languaged wrong.
These hands are shaped like God’s.
Be sure they bear the marks of no man’s pain
Who asked for their help to make secure
His little roof…and asked in vain.
These hands are shaped like God’s.
Take care they catch the sparrow hurled from air.
Lest God look down from heaven and see
What things are wrought beneath the sun by us,
His images, and be ashamed of what His hands have done.”
Sara Henderson Hay
“We can influence others as much as God has influenced us.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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