August 10

2 Chronicles 19:9-10 (NIV) 9He gave them these orders: "You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. 10In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities–whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or ordinances–you are to warn them not to sin against the LORD; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not sin.

Jehoshaphat appointed judges according to the Law of God and ordered them to act in the fear of God, not taking bribes, and to always be impartial. He warned them that they were not judging for men but for God who placed them in their positions. We could say the same for any Christian in any activity. We should all do our work in the fear of God, knowing that we represent Him and not ourselves.

Then Jehoshaphat gave them the instructions in our text for today. Serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. Whatever work we are called to we, too, should serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. Is that how you would describe your work ethic? If it is, God is glorified in your work.

The fear of the LORD is rarely mentioned today. The judges were supposed to make judgments in the fear of the LORD and to warn people that the wrath of God would come upon those who sin against the LORD. The fear of the LORD and His judgments were motivating factors of that day. Because we have a greater revelation of the love of God, should the fear of the LORD motivate us any less? I believe they should go hand in hand. As we read of kings whose hearts turned away from God and faced defeat and disease, we should recognize that it is love that brings wrath for the purpose of turning us. We should do all things in the fear of the LORD. That is having a healthy respect for His holiness and His Fatherly love.

Meditation: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7a

August 10

Romans 5:15-17 (NIV) 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

It was because of Adam's sin that death entered the world. Death reigned over all men. All felt the conviction of God because of sin. They sensed that judgment was to follow. What a weight Adam brought upon mankind!

It only took one man to bring a gift of grace, God's grace, to liberate all that would come to Him for that gift. What contrasting elements these two brought into the world! The one brought death and the other life. But we are not just talking about man's last breath and life after death. Those are just a part of death and life. Death is the reign of sin over us. Its destructive ways demand that all that is done be lifeless and damaging to you and all involved with you. It is more than a lifestyle. It is a tyrant that chains you to self-destruction. It is a master at torture. It promises and never delivers. It is the craving for salt in a man dying of thirst.

In a similar but contrasting way, the gift of Jesus Christ is life reigning in you. If you have received the abundant provision of grace and the righteousness of Christ, then through Jesus Christ you live! That means that your daily life is a channel for His Spirit to bring life to you and to those your life touches. Instead of the destructiveness we once lived under, all that we do leads to lasting goodness and wholeness. Instead of sin reigning over your thoughts, actions and desires, Jesus reigns. His very life steers you toward all that is good as you grow into His likeness. Life is more than a heartbeat. It is the reign of the Giver of life.

Consider: Is He reigning in you today, or are you a slave of sin and death?