August 8

2 Chronicles 18:19-21 (NIV) 19And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' "One suggested this, and another that. 20Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' "'By what means?' the LORD asked. 21"'I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. "'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.'

This passage is troublesome to many. God is not a man that He should lie. What is happening here? Ahab was one of the wickedest kings of Israel. His wife, Jezebel, was the wickedest queen. Jehoshaphat had become the king of Judah and was his ally. Though Jehoshaphat was a godly king, he must not have had much discernment. Many prophets declared that Ahab would win the battle, but Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a prophet of Jehovah. When he was called, he first told him to go and win the battle. When Ahab pressed him for the truth, he told what he saw in the halls of heaven, today's passage.

God was asking the angels how to get Ahab to go to his doom in a battle against Ramoth-Gilead. The text suggests the angels made suggestions, but all were declined. Finally one angel said, "I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets." I believe this was a fallen angel. They are always seeking to harm mankind. God's hand of protection holds them back unless it serves His ultimate purpose in which he allows them freedom to act. We see the same kind of scenario in the beginning of Job.

Ahab had Jehoshaphat wear royal robes while he dressed in normal soldier attire. When the Aramean army went after Jehoshaphat's chariot, he fled. A stray arrow found the joint in Ahab's armor and mortally wounded him. You can't get away from the decrees of God. A fallen angel and a heathen army were used to bring judgment on the murderer, Ahab. Tomorrow we'll see how God dealt with Jehoshaphat for befriending Ahab.

Consider: Be sure your sin will find you out.

August 8

Romans 4:19-21 (NIV) 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah's womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

The Apostle Paul makes the case that Abraham is the father of all believers, both Jew and Gentile. Since he trusted in the promise of God and was counted as righteous before he received the covenant of circumcision, he is father of those who have not entered into Jewish ritual but still trust in God. His example clearly shows us that it is not by works that we are made right with God, but by believing and trusting in God.

His faith is an example to us all. Even when his body and that of his wife's were incapable of producing a child, he believed God's promise that they would have a boy. If God told you that a 100-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman would have a child, would you believe it? Faith believes what cannot be seen or reasoned with the natural mind. Faith pleases God.

What has God promised to you? He has promised all believers that He will transform them into the likeness of His Son. You may look at your thoughts and actions today and think it is impossible, but God has promised. Won't you be like Abraham who looked beyond the natural and was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised? Once you are fully persuaded, begin to act by faith on the promise.

Consider: Live in the confidence that what He has begun, He will bring to completion. It will keep you from wallowing in your failures.