Devotionals

  • June 18: Blood

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 10-11, Psalm 119:137-144, Luke 5:27-32, Philippians 2:12-18 2 Kings 10-11: Jehu now slaughters Ahab’s descendants (10:1-17). This does not make for pretty reading—and again, as so often in the Old Testament, we must remind ourselves that Jehu is functioning in the Old Testament theocracy as a vehicle for God’s temporal wrath. In the New Testament the wrath of God is revealed more generally, and finally at judgment day, and the New Testament church does not bear the power of the sword. His zeal, then, for God becomes a model of being valiant for truth, of not taking half-way measures with regarding to sin in our own lives, or the lives of city and church and culture. Jehu threatens those who are protecting Ahab’s seventy sons with war (10:1-3). They do not wish to fight against him and so instead they deliver to Jehu the heads…

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    June 17: The Seriousness of Sin

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 8-9, Psalm 119:129-136, Luke 5:17-26, Philippians 2:1-11 2 Kings 8-9: The chapters begin with beneficent greatness continuing to spread from the ministry of Elisha. The Shunammite, whose son he had restored to life, is warned to leave where she is because there will be a famine for seven years (8:1). When she returns, she goes to the king to appeal for the return of her land (8:3)—perhaps taken by others in her absence—to find that the servant of Elisha is recounting her very story as an example of the great things that Elisha has done (8:4-5). The king restores her property and any lost income and more (8:6). Another side of Elisha’s ministry now comes into focus: a servant of God’s wrath, as well as of his mercy. God’s word speaks peace where there is peace, but no faithful steward of the Scriptures will declare…

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    June 16: The Chariots and Horsemen of Israel

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 6-7, Psalm 119:121-128, Luke 5:12-16, Philippians 21-30 2 Kings 6-7: The stories surrounding Elisha, this great man of God, are truly remarkable, and yet the whole is intended to teach a lesson: God and God’s Word are greater than man or man’s command. Once this lesson is learned, all other spiritual lessons quickly, or at least steadily, follow. If this lesson is not learned, spiritual pygmyism or stunted growth is the normal result. We, God’s people, need to learn again and again that the chariots and horsemen of Israel are greater than the chariots and horsemen of our spiritual, even physical, enemies. The sequence of stories begins with a simple axe head that was borrowed and falls into the water (6:5) as the sons of the prophets (the ministry gathered around Elisha) build a new dwelling for their swelling ministry (6:1-4). Never fear, Elisha miraculously…

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    June 15: Naaman

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 4-5, Psalm 119:113-120, Luke 5:1-11, Philippians 1:12-20 2 Kings 4-5: Elisha’s extraordinary ministry continues. A widow of one of the prophets is destitute, and by Elisha’s word she is able to provide and pay off her debts through a miraculous provision of oil (4:1-7). Elisha is especially looked after by a wealthy woman, a Shunammite, and in gratitude Elisha miraculously grants her a son (4:8-17). When the son suddenly falls ill and dies, Elisha miraculously raises the boy to life (4:18-37). A stew that is poisoned is miraculously purified, and a hundred men are miraculously fed (4:38-44). These are remarkable days, and it must have been a remarkable experience to watch Elisha at work. But none is as amazing as the well-known story of Naaman the leper (5:1-14). He is commander of the army of the king of Syria (5:1), and therefore an enemy of…

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    June 14: Bad Times, but Great Prophets

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 1-3, Psalm 119:105-112, Luke 4:38-44, Philippians 1:1-11 2 Kings 1-3: The Second Book of Kings continues with the downgrade of Israel, at a fast pace, and also of Judah, albeit with temporary revivals and reformations. Meanwhile, God’s word of warning is being faithfully delivered by God’s prophets. Elijah prophesies against Ahaziah, the king of Israel (1:3-4). When the king attempted to get Elijah by sending a captain and fifty soldiers, Elijah called down fire from heaven twice before he went with the final cohort of soldiers and reported the same prophecy in person to the king (1:9-16). We see the courage of a man of God in action, and the power that resides on him too. He who fears God need have no other fear. Elijah is now taken up into heaven (2:1-14). His servant, Elisha, knows that his master Elijah’s day has come and…

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    June 13: Justice

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 21-22, Psalm 119:97-104, Luke 4:31-37, Ephesians 6:10-24 1 Kings 21-22: The story of Naboth’s vineyard is notorious for its evil and despicable callousness—and for good reasons. Ahab wants a vineyard that lies next to his palace (21:1). He has building plans and expansion ideas. So he goes and offers Naboth a deal (21:2). But Naboth refuses (21:3). This is his father’s land, and he is not selling it for any price. The practice of “eminent domain” had not yet been enshrined, and in any case this was a personal pet project of Ahab, not a public work opportunity for the country. So Naboth’s refusal is fair and just. But Ahab complains to his wife, Jezebel, who decides to act in any case for the the advantage of her husband (21:5-7), and the death of Naboth. She arranges a fast, has Naboth honored at the fast,…

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    June 12: The Mountain of God

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 19-20, Psalm 119:89-96, Luke 4:13-30, Ephesians 6:1-9 1 Kings 19-20: Elijah, having won such a great victory, is now vexed and terrified by a threat from the wife of the king (19:2-4). Why the sudden shift from a fearless man of valor to this shrinking violet? Jezebel was clearly not a woman to be taken lightly, and her vow was a serious one that indicated that a true death sentence had been put on Elijah’s head. No doubt Elijah knew she pulled the strings around the royal palace in actuality. Still, fearless Elijah of chapter 18 is now replaced with fearful Elijah of chapter 19, and the fact remains that this change from elation to depression is all too human. When you have been on the mountain, winning great victories with God, it is easy to slip into the slough of despondency. The answer…

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    June 11: Victory!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17-18, Psalm 119:81-88, Luke 4:1-12, Ephesians 5:22-33 1 Kings 17-18: Elijah! What a great man of God! He intervenes now and confronts Ahab with the power and reality of God and God’s word. There have been other figures like Elijah in church history: John Knox, about whom it was said the Queen trembled more regarding his prayers than any army. Elijah was such a figure—at his best—and more, many times more. He is told to go east of the Jordan—symbolizing Israel’s return to the ways of her captivity in Egypt, or at least her wandering before entering the Promised Land—and hide by the brook Cherith (17:2-3). When the water at the brook dries up, Elijah is sent to a widow who herself is in despair (17:7-9). So in the economy of God, Elijah his servant is protected, and through that protection a widow is cared for…

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    June 10: Darkness and Light

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 15-16, Psalm 119:73-80, Luke 3:21-38, Ephesians 5:1-21 1 Kings 15-16: These are a depressing couple of chapters. Not only do they show why the books we are studying are called collectively “kings” (with their extensive list of the various kings here included), they also show what happens when a ruler of God’s people abandons God. Pain, suffering, division, difficulty, economic decline, and more. You would have thought that at some point the people would put two and two together and realize that not only was following God the right thing to do for the sake of God and his glory, but that when they did follow God, it was the life that was truly blessed. Yet here, with very few exceptions, there is continued and indeed increasing rebellion, right up until (as we shall see tomorrow) the great prophet Elijah comes and confronts God’s people…

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    June 9: The Power of God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 13-14, Psalm 119:65-72, Luke 3:1-20, Ephesians 4:25-32 1 Kings 13-14: Now the Word of God comes (13:1). Jeroboam, king of Israel, is leading Israel to sin by encouraging and officially sponsoring pagan deities and their worship. At one altar for such worship, God sends a man of God with the Word of God (13:2-3). Aslan, as C.S. Lewis would say, is on the move—though whether he is attacking the witch’s castle, or rescuing the Narnians, or both at the same time is as yet unclear. The Word of God is clear and is clearly demonstrated by first the freezing of Jeroboam’s hand when he attempts to counter-order the prophet’s words (13:4), and then by his healing at the word of the prophet (13:6). This prophet has been commanded by God not to eat or drink, and to return by a different path (13:8-9). He tells…

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