Things That Are Right Where You Left Them

“Things That Are Right Where You Left Them”
--from January 14th  --

Day 1

Read 2 Kings 21

Can you imagine 55 years of what really seems like an awful leader?  We get 4 years, and at the most 8 years, of a bad leader that is held back by checks and balances of, at the least, some sort.  This chapter reads like a manual of really bad leadership and ends with a depth of depravity that leaves you wondering how can you get that bad? Part of the reaction to reading this chapter makes us thankful for the situation we get in this country, despite what your political feelings may be about what we experience.  
But for Manasseh, as the song says, it was a slow fade.  He didn’t fall into this overnight.  In fact, we know by reading this text that he had some good influences in his background with Hezekiah.  So stop for a while and spend some time thinking about this guy and how it all happened.
What were the leadership mistakes that the text makes in this account?
Notice that the text tells us that Manasseh was warned by “prophets.”  He had more than one chance.  What does this teach us that we should learn in this story?

How can this be part of your prayer today?

Day 2

Read 2 Kings 22
If you will remember yesterday’s reading, Manasseh was the worst of kings and had a 55 year reign before he was ended and his son took over for two years of a similar leadership style.  Josiah starts at 8 years old and notice that the actions in his reform for the better of the nation do not start until his 18th year. That means it took 18 years to get traction for change after the terrible leadership they suffered from.  
I would like to point out that the change didn’t happen, necessarily from the throne down, but rather it seems that the repair of the temple was the first step.  It had been neglected and needed some work.  So the work was done, and then they found the Book.  Then there was the revival that started to flow through the kingdom, and then it made its way to the throne.  
When you think about a wave of change going through our land, do you see it happening in this order?  
What are the implications for how you should be praying for your country and the leaders?
After reading verse 19, what do you think “your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord,” actually looked like and how can we be like that?
How does this inform your prayers for today?

Day 3

Read 2 Kings 23:1-20

Now we get to the part where the king gets after it.  The previous parts to this story was about Hilkiah and the people working.  Now the wave of revival has reached the throne and, much to the relief of the people of the nation, Josiah catches the fever and starts the reforms that need to happen.  We live in a time and a place where we seem to believe that all leadership in the government has a vein of evil running through it.  And maybe that is true.  But also, maybe there are some Josiah’s left out there waiting to bring the reform that needs to happen.  
What a sight this must have been to see all of these leaders going up to the temple and then hearing the word of God read outloud to them.  That was the start of the change…the reading of God’s word.  Then it was time to take apart all of the things that didn’t belong in the high places and dethrone the false gods.  
How do we bring about change with God’s word in our culture?
What are some of the things that need to be taken down in your opinion and where do you find that in the Bible?
How do you think this type of reform could look in our culture?
Share some ideas of your thoughts on the messaging app with the others reading along in these devotions.

Day 4

Read 2 Kings 23:21-37

We have used this story to talk about our government and the changes that need to happen in our land.  That’s a good application, but there is another application we could think about.  What if the kingdom we looked at was our homes and the leader that needed to reform was ourselves?  What if we looked at this text and learned how to bring about change in a place that is a little more likely for us to see?  You may not be a Manasseh that needs to get it together before you lose it all, you may be in the slow fade long before that extreme.  Nonetheless, the change needs to happen.  Remember that we started with the temple, or the place of God.  From there we discovered the word of God and needed to pay attention to it.  That was when the wave of change started and then the leader caught the fever and brought about the change.  We can always find a place that we need to change in.  So let’s finish this story out by looking at this idea.

What do you learn from Josiah’s time as king as you apply it to your life as discussed above?

What are the changes that you need to make?

What are the reforms you should consider in your home?

How does this become your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Psalm 119:129-144

All week we talked about this story where they just happened to find the Book of God in the House of God.  It wasn’t even really lost, it was right where they had left it.  They were the ones that were lost.  The people needed to get back to the main thing and that was found when they finally opened the Book and read it.  God’s word should always inform change in our hearts.  With all of the other things telling us so many other ideas and philosophies, God’s word is the tether that we have back to the heart of reality.  

Psalm 119 is a great reminder of this idea.  It reflects heavily on the idea of God’s word and its importance in life.  This is a small section of that Psalm.  

In verse 123, what are the promises of God that you long to see?

When you read verse 130, what does it make you think about?

How do you feel the same things expressed in verse 136?

Why is it important to understand, like verse 144 says, that God’s testimonies are righteous forever?

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