TODAYS BIBLE READING:
1 Kings 8:54-66; 2 Chronicles 7:1-10; 1 Kings 9:1-9; 2 Chronicles 7:11-22; 1 Kings 9:10-14
Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes
BREAD CRUMBS COMMENTARY FOR TODAYS READING
with Pastor Sylvia Laughlin (10-minutes)
MAY 24, 2023
DAY 144 IN THE APP
THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
A FEW THOUGHTS...
Repentance and confession are not the same thing. Confession occurs when an individual acknowledges his wrongdoings. There is not necessarily any emotion involved in confession or change of heart, simply an acknowledgment of the wrongful actions. Repentance is much deeper. It involves a feeling of remorse as one changes his/her mind about the wrong action. It means that we acknowledge that our ways and thoughts are wrong, and God's are right. Though confession is a good thing, it is repentance that is the initial step in coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ. When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He first taught in Matthew 4:17, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." When we repent, there is a breaking of our former selves. We read in James 4:8-10, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." Jesus came to save individuals, as He is called our Savior. But His kingdom is not of this world, but in heaven. He did not come to give us prosperous living on this earth, but to guarantee all who come to Him in repentance a home in heaven that cannot be lost. As we look around at a world that is deep in sin. As we see our world immersed in a sea of godless behavior, may we remember what our primary purpose is as citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). It is to lead others into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ so that salvation can take place in the individual. There is nothing wrong with praying for our nation, but Jesus came for the individual.
We get a beautiful picture of how God responds to repentance in today's reading. It was a specific prayer and response to prayer to the covenant nation of Israel, not in response to a remnant repenting, but in response to national repentance. We read in 2 Chronicles 6:26-31 the specific request made by King Solomon concerning the nation, Israel, who were in a covenant relationship with God which was conditional (Deuteronomy 28). Notice, Solomon does not say, "If", but "When", "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance..." God responds to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:13-15, "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place." Solomon asks God if the people repent, will He listen and respond. God's answer is yes.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the main religion which goes under many banners is the religion of "good works". Most believe their standing with God and for that matter, their ticket into heaven is based on their good deeds and they’re being a good person. This is pride, pure and simple. This pride must be realized, as people are led to trust in Jesus, and Him alone for their salvation. Once in a true relationship with Jesus Christ, His offer will not be rescinded. We read in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." As believers, it is a good thing to keep short accounts with God, as we read in Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,". We will continue to sin, but forgiveness is one prayer away, as we read in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." As individual believers, we should pray for revival. Nations have seen widespread change occur within it's borders in response to widespread revival. Though 2 Chronicles 7:14 taken in context applies to the nation of Israel, specifically, there is nothing wrong, in fact we are commanded to pray for our nation and our leaders. But may we never lose our focus. Our focus must be on the individual. As individuals repent and turn to Jesus Christ, the seeds of revival are born.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
When we preach Christ crucified, we have no reason to stammer, or stutter, or hesitate, or apologize; there is nothing in the gospel of which we have any cause to be ashamed.
— C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)