2 Kings 13 – Is God Too Nice?

Have you ever watched someone be taken advantage of over and over again, and thought, “Why do they put up with that? They’re too nice.”

These thoughts come to mind when reading 2 Kings chapter 13. There you find the king of Israel (Jehoahaz) committing adultery and doing what is evil in Gond’s sight. But, when the king and the people suffer the consequences of being harassed and defeated by Aram, King Jehoahaz prays to God and God rescues him and his people. (2 Kings 13:5) Then, in the very next verse, they go back to sinning and committing adultery!

Then, when king Jehoahaz dies, his son (Jehoash) takes over and he too does what is evil in God’s sight; refusing to give up adultery. Over and over again, the Israelites are overrun by the Arameans. So, Jehoash goes to the ailing prophet (Elisha) and cries out in distress. And once again, God grants Israel success over the Arameans.

Why does God keep responding positively to people who keep disobeying Him and ignoring Him? In 2 Peter chapter 3, Peter says the reason God has not brought judgement already is that He’s being loving and patient. He’s giving everyone every opportunity to repent. His lack of exacting judgement is not a lack of justice. It’s a postponing of justice in hopes that people will respond to His love, grace, and mercy…rather than experiencing His judgement.

Where in our lives has God been patient and gracious with us when our actions and attitudes warranted more harsh treatment? Where have we gone our own way, then called out to God…and He rescued us, rather than punished us? Where in our lives has God been “too nice to us?”

Rather than be upset with God for giving the undeserving a second, third, or fourth chance, we need to be grateful for all the second, third, and fourth chances He has given us. (Nehemiah 9:17) – Bret Legg.

2 Samuel 19 – Become a Kinder and Gentler You

There are some things in life that can change a person.

  • Going through a war.
  • Having a stroke.
  • Being victimized.
  • Going through a divorce.

Things like these can impact a person to the point of changing how they see and react to people and life.

In 2 Samuel chapter 19, you see a changed David. There, rather than exercising military might, David offers kindness and mercy to those who had rebelled against him.

What was it that prompted this kinder, gentler David? Perhaps he felt he had brought on their rebellion because of his actions with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 12:11-12)

But perhaps David was keenly aware of the undeserved mercy he had received from God, and it prompted him to be more merciful to those who had wronged him and were undeserving of mercy.

We’re told that of those who are given much, much is required. (Luke 12:48) We’re also told that those who have been forgiven much should love much. (Luke 7:36-47) David knew how much God had forgiven him. He also knew how much mercy God had shown him. This awareness led him to be more merciful and forgiving to those who had rebelled against him.

When’s the last time you stopped to think about how much God has forgiven you, or how much mercy He has shown you?

If you make a habit of remembering God’s mercy and forgiveness toward you, it will change how you respond to others; especially those who have wronged you.

1 Samuel 26-27 – Balancing Kindness and Courage

Many people view followers of God as weak, passive, and vulnerable. They have trouble associating a Christian with the aggressive and calculating demeanor of a war-time general or a corporate CEO.

But in 1 Samuel chapters 26 and 27 we see David as someone who was able to balance kindness with courage.

In 1 Samuel chapter 26, David is bold and courageous when he enters into Saul’s camp and puts himself in the position of holding Saul’s life in his hands. But He is also merciful and kind when he chooses to spare Saul’s life.

In 1 Samuel chapter 27, David is so sensitive and caring he actually lives with the enemy in order to keep his men and their families safe. But David is also shrewd and calculating. He systematically does away with his enemy, while his enemy thinks David is on their side. David creates a plan to destroy his enemy, while not only gaining their confidence but also their protection. And while he is doing this, he’s earning more and more loyalty from his fellow Israelites.

To follow God does not mean you have to be weak. Like David, we are to be both kind and courageous. Like a train, we need both the rails of kindness and courage to keep us on track. Kindness without courage is impotent, while courage without kindness is dictatorial. As Jesus put it, we need to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. (Matt. 10:16)

How are you doing balancing kindness and courage? If you find yourself out of balance, ask God to strengthen your area of weakness, and to bring you into balance.

Marital Drift and How to Stop It.

Have you ever had the experience of looking at your spouse in thinking, “We use to be so close. How did we drift apart? What happened?” If you have, you are not alone. I think that thought crosses the mind of nearly every spouse at one time or another.

Marriage can be like a boat without an anchor. It has a tendency to drift. In the beginning, when you’re close to shore, it doesn’t seem like a problem. But the further you get from shore the more prominent and problematic the drift can be. You start to experience things like:

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Can I Help?

Fall leaves with rakeIt was a simple question: “Can I help?” But one young man breathed new life into my soul with that simple question. I was out raking my yard…

But first, I should let you know that I hate doing yard work. I put it off as long as I can and hope the neighbors don’t storm my house with torches and pitch forks. I should also let you know that I’m much older than I used to be and more out of shape than I’ve ever been. Anyway, back to the story…

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It Isn’t My Anniversary, Is It?

Shock at the calendarIt’s the thing sitcoms are made of. Out of the blue, your spouse approaches you with a gift, a big hug, and an “I love you!” Hesitantly you say, Thank you,” all the while wondering, “It isn’t my anniversary, is it?”

Even if this has never happened to you, I bet you can imagine it. That feeling of being caught off guard. That feeling that maybe you missed something. Where does this kind of panic come from?

I started thinking about this after making a recent post to Facebook.

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