Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle. But God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God.
2 Kings 14
2 Kings 14:
He started well, but …
Amaziah started out well. Verse 3 says, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” He even followed the Mosaic Law by not punishing the children of the men who had murdered his father. Then God gave him victory in battle over the Edomites. Instead of giving glory to God, he was lifted up in pride over that victory and challenged the king of Israel to war. It led to his defeat, the destruction of part of Jerusalem, the plundering of the temple, and the taking of hostages.
While pride was a huge factor, 2 Chronicles 25.14-16 gives us some additional insight:
14 Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. 15 Therefore the anger of the LORD was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, ‘Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?’ 16 So it was, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, ‘Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?’ Then the prophet ceased, and said, ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.'”
After starting out well, he embraced the false religion of those he had just defeated!
Perhaps he did it to win the favor of and maintain good relations with the people of that nation, but when God sent a prophet, a man of God, to warn him, he merely silenced the voice of God!
The same thing can happen to us if we don’t stay teachable. If we are reproved, corrected or criticized, we should receive it humbly and if we don’t believe it’s justified, take it to the Lord in prayer and ask if there is even a nugget of truth in it. Doing so will keep us from falling into pride and help keep us out of spiritual ditches.
God is not mocked
As this psalm continues from yesterday’s reading, the psalmist is focused on the challenges of serving God and the supposed ease of a life spent rejecting God. But then, in verse 17 he says, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”
If all we focus on is the here and now, it may seem that those living apart from God can do whatever they want, prosper through ungodly means, and live for ease and pleasure.
Instead, we must go to the sanctuary of God and remember:
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.
Galatians 6.7-9 says:
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
God is not mocked. There are laws of sowing and reaping and God, who is patient and merciful, is also just. One day He will judge those who have never surrendered their lives to Him.
And even when ungodly people appear to have it all, appearances can be deceiving. If money and fame brought the happiness, peace and joy the world thinks it does, you would think Hollywood would be the happiest place on earth. Instead, so many who have achieved their dreams, find it empty. They hop from one bed to another or turn to drugs, alcohol and other dangerous behaviors, trying to find what alludes them.
Verse 19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.” If you have ever witnessed or been a part of a family feud, you know they can last for years, partly because of the intensity of the emotional ties. So we must seek to avoid unnecessary conflict with our families.
But that must be balanced with other biblical truths. We cannot use obeying God in one area to excuse our sin in another. We can’t use peace with our parents, for instance, as an excuse for a lack of submission to our husbands. We can’t allow what our family will think or whether they will be offended, to excuse drunkenness, gossip or any other sin. Romans 12.2 tells us:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And 12.18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
“If it is possible …” At times, even though we refrain from arguing, being self-righteous or unnecessarily contentious, there are those who do not want to be at peace with us, even in our own families. We are to be salt and light. Salt sometimes stings and light always exposes darkness. And sometimes that brings anger and rejection from others.
But while family feuds can be challenging and emotions can run high, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to reconcile those relationships. Jesus said in Matthew 5.23-24:
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.
Jesus continued in Matthew 5:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Is doesn’t matter who is more in the right. “The one who knows goes!” James 4.17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Christianity is not for sissies!
That you may know
Thomas, often called “Doubting Thomas,” had a tough time believing Jesus had really come back from the dead, but then so did all the others, at first. Instead of rebuking him, the Lord confirmed the truth to Thomas.
The Apostle John later wrote:
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5.11-13).
God wants each of us “to know,” just as He did Thomas. So when you struggle with doubts, take them to the Lord, and ask Him to open your eyes so you can see more clearly, then trust the Holy Spirit who lives in you to confirm the truth, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8.16).
What about you? Questions to ponder or journal:
Have you been tempted to envy the wicked? What do you need to reconsider in light of Psalm 73?
Is there someone with whom you need to reconcile? If so, pray and read Matthew 7.1-5. Pray for wisdom, go humbly, and remember it’s about the glory of God!
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