Month: April 2019

Can’t Put This Lamp Out

When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever. (2 Chronicles 21:4,6b-7)

Reading 2 Chronicles, we see that Jehoram was a wicked king who did not have a heart for God like his predecessor King David did. Our God is a God of justice. Shouldn’t  justice dictate that God simply snuff out David’s dynasty ? We might think so, but long before Jehoram’s reign, God made an eternally  binding promise to King David : I am giving you a Kingdom that will  never end.

As a result, since God’s promises are irrevocable, he voluntarily painted himself into a corner.  In order not to go back on his word he bound himself to temporarily overlook a lot of evil.

How does God’s  irreversible promise relate to us today? Scripture teaches that Jesus is the fulfillment of the everlasting Kingdom promise that was made to King David. Listen to what God says happens to us when we believe in Jesus :

 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.  (Galatians 4:7)

I have done some pretty stupid things. Indeed, God would have every right to say, “Ken  has blown it one time too many—-he is disinherited !” But, because of God’s promise,  I still belong to Jesus.

Yes, being an heir, I can’t be disowned.  Does that mean I do whatever I want whenever I feel like it ? Not at all. I am so deeply thankful that I have been declared an heir outside of anything I ever did, that I want to live for Jesus with an attitude of gratitude !

Me, A Righteous Man ? Are You Kidding ?

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.(Hebrews 11:7)

A number of years ago our church leadership said I was godly enough to be put on the list of those who were allowed to serve communion.  I was puzzled by it. Why did they think I was godly ? I was so aware of my many  shortcomings …. and figured that being godly was to be on a spiritual plane higher than I was on.

Well, over the following  years I have gotten a better idea about what it really means to be godly. Ironically, to understand what it means to be godly I needed a better understanding of what it means to be an idiot.

To explain how I can be both an idiot and godly, let me throw a Latin term at you : Simul justus et peccator. This means simultaneously righteous and a sinner.

Noah was called an heir of righteousness — even though he got drunk as a skunk.
And David was called a man after God’s own heart —- despite committing murder.

In today’s scripture verse, notice how Noah had faith first, and then righteousness was added. We go nuts if we try to do it backwards, and try to be righteous  without first moving in faith. No wonder I struggled to see myself as godly as long as I was thinking it depended on my own futile efforts !

Now let’s look at a command from Paul :
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians  4:1)

Paul welcomes us to one of those wonderful Christian impossibilities :
On my own, no way I  can obey the command to live worthily. But propelled  by faith, I can now  begin to live worthy of Christ. And then  it’s not that I am Mr. Righteousness, but rather it is the righteousness of Jesus living in me !

Do you realize you need to live by faith instead of  your own efforts ? Then — by the power of Jesus working in you — you are worthy of being called godly.