What’s up with cocky people?

2 Kings 14:10-12  10 You have indeed defeated Edom, and you have become overconfident. Enjoy your glory and stay at home. Why should you stir up such trouble that you fall — you and Judah with you? ” 11 But Amaziah would not listen, so King Jehoash of Israel advanced. He and King Amaziah of Judah faced off at Beth-shemesh that belongs to Judah. 12 Judah was routed before Israel, and everyone fled to his own tent. 

Amaziah was a little cocky.  So King  Jehoash called him out on it.  He thought he was pretty big stuff.  It’s like that guy who makes an amazing three-point shot on the basketball court.  He gets the ball, puts it up, and… nothing but net!  Now he thinks he is on fire.  So he stops passing the ball to his team mates.  Instead he starts taking every shot, missing most of them.  Someone just needs to tell him, “just because you made that one good shot doesn’t mean you are NBA material.”  Amaziah thought he was NBA material.  He had a victory and it went to his head.  He thought he could take on anyone and win.  But he was wrong and Jehoash taught him a lesson in humility.

What’s up with cocky people, huh?  Why do they insist that they are all that and a bag of chips?  It’s so annoying!  They walk with a strut, too.  Drives me crazy.  Because there’s a big difference between cocky and confident.  I like confident people.  They carry themselves with strength and determination, but they don’t go around talking about it.  Cocky people waste all their words on talking about how great they are.  I have a theory: when people constantly talk about how great they are, I think they are actually trying to convince themselves.   Just knock off all the boasting – it isn’t helping anyone.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18 says, “So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.  For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.”   Now this is the kind of boasting that I would like to hear.  I want to hear people talk about how great their God is.  Take Tebow for example: humble, confident, and boasting about the Lord.  That’s the kind of person that the Lord approves – not those who are cocky about themselves, but who are confident in their Lord.  Change your tone today.  Start talking about who God is IN you and watch what happens to your confidence, your words, and even your spiritual strut.

God in my bones

2 Kings 13:20-21  20 Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. 

I have God in my life.  I asked Jesus into my heart.  I invited the Holy Spirit to come dwell in me.  But I also have flesh.  Oh, that stinkin’ flesh!  Doesn’t it make you crazy when your carnality gets the best of you?  Don’t you wish you could just be FULLY anointed all the time?  Apparently, Elisha knew what that was like.

You see, Elisha had a serious dose of God in him.  God dwelt on his lips, on his hands, and in his spirit.  And God dwelt in his bones.  You know that expression: chilled to the bone?  Or maybe bad to the bone?  Essentially it means “all the way through,” or “to the core.”  Elisha was anointed to the core, down to his bones.  It’s crazy really, that – even after he was dead – his bones raised a man to life.

I want God to dwell in my bones, too.  I want to experience His love, His power, His grace, His joy… all the way in my innermost being.  I don’t want to have a surface walk with God, I want a deep one.  I don’t want a little of His presence in my life, I want it to my core.  It starts by saying, “God, fill and control me today.”  I want more of You in my life, more of You in my thoughts, and more of You in my bones.

Integrity

2 Kings 12:15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. 

Integrity, ever heard of it?  It seems like today we have the most elaborate systems in place to ensure integrity.  We need time clocks, security systems, elaborate locks, accounting audits, and the like.  There is a great need for businesses to have a way to make sure their people are honest.  Because people cheat the system.  They steal money, time, and reputations.  What ever happened to integrity?  What happened to character?

It says in 2 Kings 12 that there was no time clock installed at the temple for the repair workers; they acted with complete honesty.  They worked hard for their money and didn’t try to get away with doing less.  They did the job right even when no one was keeping track.  Their job site didn’t require L & I insurance or a safety inspector.  These guys just did it right.  Why is that?  I think they understood that they were working for the Lord.  Colossians 3:23 says, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

As God’s people, we ought to approach life with the same mentality.  You see, the world is watching to see if you are honest.  They want to know if you are different.  Will they see a guy who shows up late to work but writes down that he was on time?  Will they find someone who takes the office supplies home for personal use?  Or will they find someone with integrity?  We should be different, friends.  We should be set apart from the world; we should be setting the benchmark for integrity.  If we could just wrap our minds around the fact that in all we do, we are really working for the Lord, it would change us.  Let that kind of thinking build in you Godly character and integrity today.

The boy king

2 Kings 11:21  Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. 

Sometimes kids think they run the show. Shoot, in some houses they do run the show.  Do you know any kids like that?  They are convinced that they are the boss, the ruler of the world.  Ya, I have a 3-year-old like that.  But she’s learning that she isn’t the boss.  Joash had a different predicament.  He had to learn to run the show.  At age seven, he became king of all the land.  Can you imagine having a child for a king?  Would you have ever thought to use a seven year old?

Well, God did.  Making Joash king was God’s idea.  Apparently He doesn’t have a problem using children for His kingdom purposes.  But we adults don’t always see the same way.  We are like the disciples that tried to keep the little ones out of the way.  But Jesus said, let the little children come to me.  He wanted to touch them, to interact with them, to give them purpose for their lives.  So why is it that so many people view children as getting in the way of ministry?  Why do we view children as an obstacle to effectiveness?

Something tells me that God doesn’t share that view.  He doesn’t subscribe to a mindset that children should be seen and not heard (some people don’t want them to be seen or heard).  He wants the little children to come to Him.  He wants to speak into their lives and shape them.  Yet churches view too many kids as a problem.  They can’t find the volunteers to babysit.  In our church, I don’t want volunteers to babysit.  I want people to partner with God’s heart and invest in our children.  You see, at the church I am a part of, one-third of the population is children.  They cannot be ignored nor should they be.  They should be loved, taught, and brought to Jesus.  Because you never know when you’ll find a little king or queen in your midst.

Full of crap

2 Kings 10:26-27   26 They dragged out the sacred pillar used in the worship of Baal and burned it. 27 They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day. 

This is pure awesomeness!  You’ve got to give credit to Jehu.  He was one hardcore dude.  He annihilated the leadership of Israel that was leading them away from God.  Then he tricked all the followers of Baal into attending a massive fake worship service for their fake god.   Once they started to worship, he had them all killed. But he didn’t stop there.  He destroyed the temple.  Now he could have burned it all to the ground, turning it into ashes.  Instead he did something totally creative and unexpected – he turned it into a public restroom.  Now for years and years to come, it would be known that Baal was full of crap.

You know what I like about this?  It’s that he took something horrible, sinful, and wicked… and did something useful with it.  That takes some serious guts.  It takes recognizing that God can redeem just about anything.  Now I know that a public toilet isn’t really all that spiritual, but it is necessary and highly practical. It served the needs of the people.  He took something useless and with God, made it useful.

My whole point in this is that with God, there is nothing and no one unredeemable.  God can take the things of this world and turn them for His glory.  He will take the resources of the wicked and use them to build His kingdom.  He will take people like Saul (Paul) and radically transform his life, his calling, his mission.  And he can transform me, too.  He can take my garbage, my wickedness, my foolishness, and make me into a man who advances His kingdom.  I have this hope today, that neither you nor I are beyond God’s reach.  We are not too far gone to be redeemed.  Have hope today and turn your heart toward the One who redeems.

Crazy driver, smart guy

2 Kings 9:20-22 20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them but hasn’t started back. Also, the driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi — he drives like a madman.” 21 “Harness! ” Joram shouted, and they harnessed his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his own chariot, and met Jehu at the plot of land of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Do you come in peace, Jehu? ” He answered, “What peace can there be as long as there is so much prostitution and witchcraft from your mother Jezebel? ” 

Apparently Jehu was a crazy driver.  The watchman on the wall could tell who he was from far away because he was driving like a madman.  Do you know anyone like that?  They think they are in an action movie and must evade the bad guys or something.  They go weaving in and out of traffic and it gains them a total of 10 seconds on their commute.  This is the kind of stuff that causes car accidents.  Hmmm… I wonder if Jehu ever caused a chariot accident.  Or maybe he was the suspect in the 8-camel pile up.   I digress.

Even though Jehu was a crazy driver, he was actually a pretty smart guy.  He had some things figured out about the nature of God.   You see, people kept coming to meet him on the road asking if he was coming in peace.  His answer to the final guy was actually quite clever: “how can there be any peace with all this prostitution and witchcraft going on?”  That’s a really good question.  How can there be peace when sin is rampant?  How can there be serenity when evil is having it’s way?

How can we have peace if we are not at peace with God?  That’s the million dollar question.  And the answer is that we really can’t.  Sin keeps us ashamed, guilty, opposed to God, stuck, and burdened.  Those are certainly not descriptors of peace.   Peace happens when we get right.  It happens when we repent.  It happens when we take our whole burden and place it at the feet of Jesus.  Do you have peace today?  Are the conditions right in your life for it to even exist?

That’s some good timing

2 Kings 8:1-6 1 Elisha said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Get ready, you and your household, and go and live as a foreigner wherever you can. For the LORD has announced a seven-year famine, and it has already come to the land.” 2 So the woman got ready and did what the man of God said. She and her household lived as foreigners in the land of the Philistines for seven years.3 When the woman returned from the land of the Philistines at the end of seven years, she went to appeal to the king for her house and field.

4 The king had been speaking to Gehazi, the attendant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 While he was telling the king how Elisha restored the dead son to life, the woman whose son he had restored to life came to appeal to the king for her house and field. So Gehazi said, “My lord the king, this is the woman and this is the son Elisha restored to life.” 6 When the king asked the woman, she told him the story. So the king appointed a court official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, along with all the income from the field from the day she left the country until now.”

You know that awkward moment when you are talking about someone and they are standing behind you?  One of my favorite examples of this is from the movie, “Liar, Liar” starring Jim Carrey.  He is talking about his boss when she walks up behind him.  Or how about in “Kung Fu Panda” when Po is imitating Master Shifu?  Everyone else in the room gets that horrified look on their face while the person is making a fool of themselves.  That’s some bad timing!

On the other hand, sometimes we have really good timing.  Maybe it’s when we hit the checkout line just when there are no people waiting in line.  Or maybe we show up to  Costco on sample day.  Good timing feels like someone is watching out for us.  It can change your whole day.  This lady in 2 Kings 8 had some amazing timing!  Just as the king was hearing about how Elisha had raised her son from the dead, she entered the room.  The king was marveling at God’s greatness and moved by the story, so he restored all her land and her income back to her.  It was like winning the lottery.  She left the king with more than she was asking for.

What we cannot ignore is the fact that God orchestrated this event.  She lived in the land of the Philistines for 7 years and it was on this day that the king first heard her story.  It was on this occasion that she entered his presence and asked for his grace.  The world believes in chance or coincidence; I believe in divine appointments.  God cared for her so much that He arranged the timing of this meeting in such a way that she would be given much.  And I believe God had this in mind 7 years prior when she left.  He knows us, He loves us, and He has our life in His hands… down to the minute.  Little did she know that God had planned in advance.  In the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”