Morning
August 17

2 Chronicles 26:4-5, 16 (NIV) 4He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success... 16But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.


If you read yesterday's devotion you will be wondering about verse 4. How could the author say that Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD? Perhaps the Old Testament authors knew more about grace than we give them credit. Many of the kings did terrible acts and yet were called right in the eyes of the LORD. The only way to really reconcile this is that the grace of God covered their sins because they had given their lives to God. This should encourage us that though we have backslidden at times, the grace of God covers ALL our sin. The stories of these kings are so much like the lives of Christians today. At a memorial service we hear the very same thing that the author writes here. Every person has failures and shortcomings but to what or Whom did they commit their soul?

There is a cycle of testing in the lives of most Christians that is similar to the one Uzziah experienced. When they commit themselves to obeying God and serving Him, they find their lives are blessed in many ways, including physical abundance. Here is where the testing becomes more difficult and the refinement more intense. We can go the way of Uzziah and become prideful, thinking our blessings are the result of our efforts and skills, or we can go the way of David, who humbled himself and realized that without God he was nothing. Both of these kings were credited as doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but one finished with a powerful testimony of repentance and restoration. The other, Uzziah, ended his life isolated and in shame. Much of the fruit of our actions is seen in this life, especially at the end of life. The prideful are then powerless, and those that flocked around them while they held power desert them. The humble, however, even though powerless, will be surrounded with the lives of those they have blessed.

Consider: Which will you be?


Evening
August 17

Romans 10:8-10 (NIV) 8But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.


In chapters 9 and 10 of Romans, the Apostle Paul is describing his intense desire to see Jews come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. He goes on to describe the problem they are having. In trying to obtain righteousness by keeping the Law, they are stuck in an impossible effort. To be righteous through the Law is only possible if you keep all the Law, and none but Christ has ever been able to do that. But there is another righteousness that is found within the pages of the Law. It is the righteousness that comes from trusting in God. Paul quotes the prophet Joel as saying, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (vs 13)

In the passage for today, he sums up what the stories in the Law teach us. They show us that when Messiah comes, we need to trust in Him for our righteousness. Then, you will confess that righteousness is not from you but from the One who is your redemption. To confess Jesus is Master over all and believe that God raised Him from the dead is to place your hope entirely in Him. This is the only way to be saved.

What you believe in your heart cannot help but come from your lips. When you believe enough to confess, you will know you are saved. He becomes Lord of your mouth and reputation today. He does not merely remain an intellectual idea that you ascend to that gives you entrance into heaven, but He is your Master. You recognize that He is Master over all. You declare it in your conversations. When He is your King, you have entered the Kingdom.

Consider: Have you believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth? If so, you have the righteousness of Christ credited to your account. You are saved. If not, why not? Choose to do so now?