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Daily Encouragement - January 30

2 Chronicles 12:5-6 (from The Message)

Then the prophet Shemaiah, accompanied by the leaders of Judah, who had retreated from Jerusalem before Shishak (King of Egypt), came to Rehoboam and said, “God’s word: you abandoned me, now I abandon you to Shishak.” The leaders of Israel and the king were repentant and said, “God is right.”

Well, you’ve had two days in a row of doting grandparents. Bless their hearts. That’s all I’m going to say. Any more and I’m in trouble because I sleep with one of them and play golf with the other!

Rehoboam, son of Solomon, was actually King David’s grandson and he was a spoiled brat. (How’s that for a segue?) He made some really bad decisions and (even worse - as far as the Bible is concerned) had no regard for the faith. Oh he might have used the priests for his own ends and maybe flashed the Torah a few times but he was basically faithless. So, as far as the Bible is concerned, the king of Egypt was “allowed” to come and drive the leaders out of Jerusalem, sack the city, take away its treasures and return to Egypt. Shishak was God’s punishment for Rehoboam’s faithlessness.

That’s the way it is with theocracies, you know. The priests and prophets wield far more power than they should. And they tie every misfortune to the faithlessness of the political leaders. This is the most common theme of Kings and Chronicles. A good (and faithful) king lives a long time and prospers. A bad (and faithless) king lives a short time and does NOT prosper. Of course....there IS Manasseh but that’s for another Saturday!

We who read the Bible also tend to tie misfortune to faithlessness. If only we’d had our hearts right with God, bad things wouldn’t have happened. But life is just not that simple. Oh that it were that simple! But to faithfully maneuver through a pandemic has been a challenge. To faithfully maneuver through any misfortune or tragedy is a challenge. God doesn’t magically clean things up. The priest or pastor does not wave a magic wand and make it all good. The prophet doesn’t utter a word of warning and it all turns around.

But no matter what it takes, it has to begin in our hearts. Rachel and I were fortunate enough to get our vaccinations. It will not free us to do what we want. Our whole society’s way of doing things is changing. I think, in some ways, we will be more isolated for the rest of my life. We will have to find other ways to offer our love (which we have done) and let people know we care. That’s a good thing. We will have to find ways to be together that are more safe. That’s a good thing, too. Cases of the flu have been almost non-existent because we have been careful with COVID. We’ve seen the bad results of being reckless and selfish. That’s not a bad lesson to learn, either.

But we have a long way to go. It begins with repentance. It continues with love. It finds fruition in peace. If repentance, love, and peace rule our lives, good things will happen. Good things always happen. It won’t be long until we can see each other again...on a regular basis.

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.

When the hosts of hell assail and my strength begins to fail,

Thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.

Pastor Rick Moser

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