2 Kings 17:15 Don’t Do As They Do

Geese following

They rejected His decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 2 Kings 17:15 

People do not really like to be completely different from others. They like to blend in. Sometimes they like to blend in with a smaller group, while most of the time they like to blend in with the majority.

The blending in that they do, is doing what others are doing. People will often do what others do, so that they can be friends or not looked at as rebels or strange. The amount a person will do, is often determined by the pressure of others. With enough pressure, most people will do things that are wrong and the world knows how to put pressure on a person to do something.

God had told the nation of Israel to not do what the nations around them are doing. Yet they did those things anyways. Various kings would be put into position and they would follow false idols and lead the nation as the world does. After a punishment and short restoration, they would do those things again. God, after much warning and patience, destroyed the nation of Israel because of their lack of obedience.

Even today God is still warning people to not live as the world lives. He tells His people to be separate, set apart from the world. Yet, many believers try to live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They do the things that the world does and try to say that it is ok and God still accepts them.

Even though Jesus died on the cross and forgives sins, God still says that believers are to be holy and set apart from the world. Many believers think that the things of this world are acceptable and support them–divorce, abortion, hatred, killing, porn, violence, abuse, vulgar talk, and much more.

As a believer you are to turn away from all sin and the ways of the world. Jesus was set apart as different and you are to be the same way.

There will come a day when Jesus will come back to judge the world. He sees the heart of every person. If your heart is following the world, it will not be following Him. If you are not following Jesus, you will not be allowed into heaven.

Whose ways are you following today?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know the ways of God; that you will follow Jesus with your whole life; and that you will not do the ways of this world. 

 

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Ezekiel 31:10-11 Being Cast Aside

” ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, I gave it into the hands of the rulers of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside,’ ” Ezekiel 31:10-11

God had been claiming judgment upon the nation of Egypt. He had raised Egypt up to be a great nation, one of the most powerful nations upon the earth. The Pharaoh had chosen to claim all the power for himself, as though it was his own doing. He claimed he was a god. Therefore God was going to break Egypt down.

God points the people to look at Assyria, whom God had raised up to be a really great nation. Yet, when pride got in the way of the king, God also tore the nation back down. They were destroyed because of their wickedness.

Nations and people are raised up by God to do great things for Him. The more nations and people do for God, the greater God will allow them to become. However, when either the nation or a person starts to do things for themselves or reject God’s ways, God will cast them aside.

There is no place for sin in God’s kingdom. It was because of sin in the lives of people, that Jesus came to the earth to die upon a cross. He came to remove all the sin from every person.

Sin can show up in the lives of a person in many different ways. All of the ways come down to personal pride and greed. People want things their own way, rather than following the ways of God. Many people want to be the one who is in control, rather than accepting that God is the one who is in control and allowing Him to have that control.

As you look at your life, you may not be living in some massive sinful lifestyle, but are you allowing sin in your life on purpose?

Pride and greed can show up in many different ways in your life, if you allow them to do so. Reject pride and greed and allow God to have all the credit and power. Do not give Him a reason to have to cast you aside and tear you down.

I pray today that God will use you in great ways to build His kingdom; that you will give God all the credit and power for everything in your life; and that you will not allow sin to get in the way of your relationship with God.

Romans 11:21 Not Spared

“For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” Romans 11:21

The Israelites were the first people who God had chosen. He chose to reveal Himself and His Law through them. Later God also provided salvation for them and the rest of the world through Jesus, who was an Israelite. Yet, as much as God had chosen the Israelites, He also rejected them and allowed them to be destroyed as a nation and go into captivity for a time.

In Paul’s illustration he shows the Israelites as the natural branch of the vine. Jesus is the root of the vine. All believers in God and Jesus are the branches of the vine. God had cut off the Israelite branches because they had rejected Him and later rejected Jesus. With this in mind he gives a stern warning to all believers today. If God was willing to cut off the natural branches, how much more likely will He cut off a non-natural branch that has been grafted in?

It is not that God is an angry, vengeful God who is out to kill and destroy you. He is a God of love, grace, and mercy. He wants to save everyone. If He did not want to do that, He would not have sent Jesus to die on the cross for all people.

Jesus wants to save you and everyone else. Yet, if a person chooses to reject Him, or refuses to live according to His ways, He will reject that person.

In Paul’s time, some Gentiles were seeing themselves as better than the Jews since the Jews had rejected Jesus. Even today this still happens at times. Part of the reason Adolf Hitler chose to kill the Jews was because they had killed Jesus. He saw himself as better than them. Be careful, God can reject you also.

Do not stand in proud and arrogance about being saved. You are saved only by the grace of God. You are grafted into the vine and are not a natural part of God’s vine.

Just as easily as God grafted you in, He can cut you out.

Are you living for God? Or are you living for yourself?

Who are you serving? Yourself? Or God?

Be a part of God’s vine and be what He wants you to be–just like Jesus.

I pray today that you will know the grace Jesus has for you; that you will not see yourself as better than a sinner; that you will live according to God’s plan for your life; that you will be a branch in God’s vine; and that God will use you to draw others to Jesus.

Romans 11:5-6 Chosen By Grace

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:5-6

As Paul talked about how God was sending His message of salvation to the Gentiles, some may have been wondering if God rejected Israel. He points out that God did not reject them by showing how God had a remnant of people serving Him during the time of Elijah when he thought he was the only one. God still had a remnant of people chosen who were following Him as Paul write’s this letter. These people were chosen by grace, not works.

As a person looks at the world, it can look pretty grim and full of evil. At times it may seem like that person is the only believer left. Yet, there is still a remnant of believers out there. God has already chosen them. These are people who have heard the Gospel message and chosen to follow Jesus. They accepted the calling of God’s Holy Spirit on their lives.

They did not become a part of the remnant by working hard and doing things. They became a part of the remnant by God’s grace on their lives. They did not deserve that position, yet was given it by God.

All religions have people working to earn their life in heaven. Christianity is different in that life in heaven is a gift that has to be accepted. Not just anyone can be a part of the remnant. Only those who have accepted the death and resurrection of Jesus can be a part of it.

No matter how much you work at it, you will never be one of the remnant, unless you accept the work of Jesus. It is by His grace that you are saved. You do not deserve to do God’s work on this earth.

With that in mind, do all that you can do for God if you are a part of the chosen remnant. If you are a believer in Jesus and follow Him, then you are a part of the remnant.

Do not bow down to the ways of this world. Do the work God has for you. Don’t do the work to earn your salvation, but do it because Jesus has saved you.

I pray today that you will know the work Jesus has done for you; that you will know the grace Jesus has for you; that you will not work for your salvation; that you will be a part of the remnant of God who will love and serve Him; and that you will know the work God has for you to do on this earth.