Sunday, February 9, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 51: A Heart for God

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 51, February 9, 2014
Readings: Psalm 51, Genesis 46:1-34, Genesis 47:1-12, 2 Chronicles 24, Acts 18:1-22

Do you serve God, or do you follow man? Humanity is made to worship God - but in lieu of that, in our own wickedness, we can, and will, worship other things. We will make idols for ourselves, both physical and mental. We can even do good things, but for the wrong reasons. Can you think of any examples?

God desires for our hearts to follow and worship Him. As we discussed yesterday, He doesn't just want sacrifices, or our good deeds, for the sake of doing good, or adding weight to our "good" side. God wants our hearts to come to Him in humble thanksgiving, praising Him with word and deed for the good things He has done. It's not just the deed, it's the heart behind it. And if we're just doing it to check a box, it won't last.

And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died. He was 130 years old at his death. And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house. Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.

Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, "Thus says God, 'Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.'" But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, "May the LORD see and avenge!" (2 Chronicles 24:2, 15-22)

In his younger years, it seemed like Joash was doing all the right things. He rebuilt the house of God, and he led the people back to God. But it only lasted until Jehoiada died. How quickly Joash turned from the ways of God to the ways of man. Was God just a means to an end? Did he hope for the "health and wealth" that was promised if a king followed the Lord? Or did he just want to please Jehoiada?

We can never succeed if we do things for the sake of pleasing other people. Humanity, on a whole, is flawed. We are all sinful, and have our own agenda. When we live our lives to please others, we are worshiping someone who is not worthy of our worship, nor capable of being worshiped. God is the only good and perfect one. He is the only one who does what is right and good, 100% of the time.

A heart for God is not just a heart that does right, it's a heart that longs to worship and give thankfully to the only one capable of being worshiped. The only one who will guide us to grow in love and forgiveness. He wants us to live in the joy and peace of knowing that He is in control, and He will sustain and supply our every need. He will never fail us.

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