August 23

2 Chronicles 34:27-28 (NIV) 27Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. 28Now I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.'" So they took her answer back to the king.

The son of Manasseh was evil and soon assassinated. His son, Josiah, was put on the throne at the young age of 8. By the time he turned sixteen he began to seek the LORD. He purged the nation of idols and ordered the repair of the temple. In the process the Book of the Law was found. Apparently, things had been so bad for so long that the priests did not even know where a copy of the Law could be found.

When the Book of the Law was read to Josiah, he tore his robes and grieved over the sins of his fathers and the judgment promised in the book. Because the Spirit had not yet been poured out on all, he sent his staff to ask a prophetess living in Jerusalem if this justice was impending. She told them that God was going to keep his word and send the nation into captivity, but because Josiah humbled himself, tore his robes and wept before God, the judgment would not come in his lifetime. His eyes would not see the destruction of Jerusalem.

God is just and keeps His word, but He is also patient and generous. One man's heart that was tender toward His word postponed the judgment. O that all God's children would have such a tender heart toward the word of God. When you read Scripture, do you allow it to speak to you personally and take it to heart as Josiah did? He did not think it was for other people or justify the words because he was not involved. He saw the application was for him and his nation personally and humbled himself. If there is one attribute we need more than any other as we read the Word, it is humility.

Remember: Humility helps us to hear and take it to heart, not shrugging it off or appointing it to someone other than ourselves.

August 23

1 Corinthians 1:17-19 (NIV) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

The city of Corinth was one of great decadence. There were probably over 100,000 slaves that pulled boats across the peninsula. A great Greek temple there had 1000 prostitutes. To live in Corinth was a real challenge for Christians.

The Greek culture also brought with it intellectual heights that man had attained. The converts in Corinth brought with them some of there cultural problems. They were debating about who was a disciple of whom, just as the Greeks took pride in which philosopher they adhered to.

Paul began his letter to them by declaring that the gospel is not an intellectual competition. It is about the power of God to transform our lives. They needed to get their eyes off the ministers of the Gospel and fix them on Jesus. The same can be said today. Do you follow Luther, Calvin, Wesley or the pope? It is not about the minister, but the One who they are proclaiming. If the gospel were an intellectual attainment, the cross would have no meaning.

To the Greeks, the thought of the cross being the way of salvation was intellectually laughable. To the Jews, it was embarrassing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. Though many try to make Christianity an intellectual religion, it is simply about the determined will of God whose mind we cannot comprehend. Logic has its place. Christianity is very logical to the Christian, but to the intellect trained in this world's ways it is incomprehensible. Faith will always be required. Paul is telling the Corinthians to turn from worldly debates and arguments that only separate us, and look at Jesus.

Remember: The emphasis is always on the Savior, not the one that proclaims Him?