Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“And He will make your uprightness…with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as the shining sun of the noonday. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him.”
“Build a little fence of trust around today;
Fill the space with loving work and therein stay.
Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow;
God will help thee bear what comes of joy or sorrow.”
Today’s Study Text:
1. “The Lord said of Jezebel, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’”
1 Kings 21:23
2. “Now when Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and beautified her head and looked out of an upper window…and he (Jehu) said, ‘Throw her down!’ So they threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and he drove over her. When he (Jehu) came in, he ate and drank, and said, ‘See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.’ They went to bury her, but they found nothing left of her except the skull, feet, and palms of her hands.”
2 Kings 9:30-35
“Food For The Dogs”
“Having no spiritual senses, no inlets of spiritual knowledge, the natural man (or woman) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; nay, he (or she) is so far from receiving them, that whatsoever is spiritually discerned, is mere foolishness unto him (or her). He (or she) is not content with being utterly ignorant of spiritual things, but he (or she) denies the very existence of them.”
How does the existence of evil impact my life?
What lessons about the consequences of evil thoughts and behavior can I take away from the life of Jezebel?
How did the end of Elijah’s life and the end of Jezebel’s life differ?
“Wherever we direct our view, we discover the melancholy proofs of our depravity; whether we look to ancient or modern times, to barbarous or civilized nations, to the conduct of the world around us, or to the monitor within the breast; whether we read, or hear, or act, or think, or feel, the same humiliating lesson is forced upon us.”
“Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk into the marrow of our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace.”
About a year ago, one of God’s wonderful daughters, who is a regular reader of the daily devotionals, emailed me with a suggestion that went something like this:
“Dorothy, I know we are studying through the Bible and this is why you have a study text each day. However, sometimes the study text isn’t very uplifting and I hope you understand, life is very tough. Each day it would help to have a text from Scripture which encourages us. Could you consider this idea?”
At first I thought of some of the negatives.
It would make the devotional longer and I’ve received notes telling me that some devotionals take a fair amount of time to read. Then I thought about the extra time it would take for me to find a “Text and Thought of Encouragement” each day. But thankfully, before I let the negative thoughts filter into my actions, I decided to pray over the idea during the coming weekend.
By Monday, I responded to the suggestion with a strong “affirmative” answer. And I’m so glad I did for week after week, ever since I’ve added this feature to the beginning of each day’s devotional, someone has written and said, “You must have known how I was feeling today. This is just what I needed. God knew what to impress you to share.”
Well, if ever I’m glad the daily devotional begins with a “Text and Thought of Encouragement,” it is today for our study text is downrightly gruesome. One thing I think even naysayers, who don’t believe that God’s word is inspired, have to agree about, is that God doesn’t sugar-coat the stories in the Bible. When the good fail, God tells us, just as we so graphically learned in the study of David and the women in his life. But by the same token, God shows evil for what it is -- toxic, corrosive, and destructive.
In God’s word, while evil at times appears to prevail and trample unchallenged on the good, there are more than enough examples of the fact that as the last book in God’s holy word assures us, evil will not win and will be destroyed -- forever! Praise God!
But even as evil appears, at times, to gain an advantage, God gives us examples that while His long-suffering kindness extends to the worst of us, there are times when God acts. When Sodom and Gomorrah were so filled with wickedness that not even ten righteous individuals could be found within Sodom, God acted. Mercifully, God even went to the great length of sending heavenly messengers to bring out the four members of Lot’s family who while they “lingered, the men (angels) seized him (Lot) and his wife and his two daughters by the hand…and they brought him forth and set him outside the city” (Genesis 19: 16, Amplified Bible).
The example of God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah reflects His response to unbridled evil which if left to run amok would have annihilated anything good. But so too, God has also brought judgment upon individuals whose behavior is blasphemous toward our Creator. Pastor and author Charles Swindoll gives an example of unchecked evil that had gone far enough. In describing Herod
Agrippa I in Acts 12: 21-23, Amplified Bible, this is what we are told about this arrogant man:
“On an appointed day Herod arrayed himself in his royal robes, took his seat upon his throne, and addressed an oration to them. And the assembled people shouted, ‘It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!’ And at once an angel of the Lord smote him and cut him down, because he did not give God the glory (the preeminence and kingly majesty that belong to Him as the supreme Ruler); and he was eaten by worms and died.”
As Pastor Swindoll shares, “The Jewish historian Josephus describes this event in his record. He says that at the time this occurred Herod was dressed in silver-lined garments and the early-morning sun was reflecting brightly off his garments. As he stood there in all his earthly splendor, the people began calling him a god. And Herod accepted their praise and their worship. That was enough.”
This brings us to the Baal-worshipping Jezebel who tried to destroy any recognition or reflection of the God of heaven and earth and instead wanted to replace God with an idol from earth named Baal. What’s more, the arrogant Jezebel even went so far as to dare her phony gods to take her life if she didn’t succeed in murdering Elijah. One could argue that the demise of Jezebel was at the hands of evil because she ended up, after dolling herself up with eye-makeup and dazzling up her hair, being tossed out her palace window by two of her servants. And then, in the prophetic words of God’s prophet Elijah, the dogs licked up her blood and ate her flesh. A gross way to come to an end. She ended up being dog food.
However, and this is absolutely critical to how we gain an understanding of the evil perpetuated by Jezebel, since each of us has been given the gift of choice, God could not and would not force His presence onto Jezebel. While He sent her repeated calls to turn from her evil ways, with a rebellious heart and malicious behavior, she continued down a path to complete and total destruction until she passed a point where she did not want to return. The same can happen to us. The longing for purity and holiness had been so defiled in Jezebel until there was not even a tiny patch of soil in her heart where good could grow. This wasn’t, please remember, something God did to Jezebel. It was something she did to herself. By her decisions and choices, by her action and behavior, she set a course contrary to the path of God. A course which led to her destruction.
King Solomon, who by many of his own poor choices found out how dangerous it is to be led off God’s path, penned this wise warning in Proverbs 16:17,18 , Amplified Bible – “The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; (she) who guards (her) way preserves (her) life. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In the words of Bruce Wilkinson, “Your choices on earth have direct consequences on your life in eternity.” Who wants to be held in bondage to evil? Or as in Jezebel’s case, who wants to end up being food for the dogs.
“Redemption is God’s mighty act delivering us from anyone or anything that holds us in bondage.”
“Lord, make me according to Thy heart.”
“O Lord, rescue me from myself and give me unto You. Take away from me all those things that draw me from You and give me those things that lead me to You.”
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