August 16

2 Chronicles 25:7-9 (NIV) 7But a man of God came to him and said, "O king, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the LORD is not with Israel–not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow." 9Amaziah asked the man of God, "But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?" The man of God replied, "The LORD can give you much more than that."

Amaziah, son of Joash, began to reign at the age of 25. At first he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not with all his heart. He mustered the troops to battle against Edom. The forces were only a third of what they once were when godly kings reigned. He hired another 100,000 soldiers from Israel as mercenaries. Then a prophet of God came with the warning that is the text for today. "If you use these soldiers, God will cause you to be defeated, because it is God who decides the outcome of wars."

Amaziah asked a question that is so much like what we would ask, "But what about all the money I paid already?" The prophet told him the obvious answer, "God can give you much more than that."

He sent the troops back, knowing that he was throwing away the money and infuriating them. The mercenaries did retaliate and raided some of the cities of Judah. It cost Amaziah to be obedient to God. God gave Amaziah the victory without them. The plunder would have been much more than the price he paid for the mercenaries. Don't be tempted to use people and ways that God has not blessed. This is another illustration of the danger of yoking up with unbelievers.

Then he did one of the stupidest things recorded in Scripture. He took the idols of the people he defeated and began to worship them. They certainly hadn't worked for their former owners. He forsook the God who gave victory for ones that couldn't help. From that time on it was downhill for Amaziah. In our day, the enemy's gods are subtler than idols. They come in the form of man's wisdom and pleasures of this life.

Warning: Be careful to follow the LORD with all your heart so that when He gives you success, you do not turn to the powerless and vain things of this world, but stay wholeheartedly after the LORD.

August 16

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are not told that we will escape hardship, famine, danger and sword, but that in those difficulties we will be more than conquerors through Jesus. The spiritual battle that is manifested in the physical is Satan's tool to cause us to turn from Christ, but God uses it to cause us to be more dependent on Him. Through the One that loves us, we don't just end up victorious, but even more than that, we are increasingly transformed into the image of the Son.

Can anything separate you from His love? Paul was convinced that nothing could, and he should know. He went through shipwreck, beatings, scourgings, lack of food, abandonment, and much more. Look what he lists here: death, life, angels, demons, present, future, any powers, height, depth, or anything else in all creation. That about covers it. If God is the Creator and is determined to love you, why would anything He made be able to separate you from His love?

What a sense of security the believer should have! If God didn't spare His own Son to express His love to you, what could you possibly fear? We should be as convinced as the Apostle Paul. In that conviction, we should rest secure, free from condemnation and worry about tomorrow and eternity. When you are convinced of so great a love, you find personal worth in it, peace, comfort, and joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is nothing that love will not see you through!

Consider: Are you convinced? If not, look again at the cross. Then, ask yourself if there is anything He will not see you through.