Philippians 2:12-18 – Pleasing God

Read Philippians 2:12-18

girl praying in a field of  yellow flowers with a look of contentment on her face

Why do you do what you do? If you’re thinking of your occupation, there has to be a “back story.” Why did you choose that career? If you’re thinking about the choices you make in your free time, chances are good you have a reason for those, too.

Then there are the parts of our lives that seem to be on autopilot. For instance, I don’t remember a lot about brushing my teeth this morning, but I know I did.

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2 Kings 23:1-3 – All the People

Read 2 Kings 23:1-3

crowd of people

They did “get it” — at least once! I’m referring to the Israelites hearing Josiah’s words that day. We see that “all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” In the New Living Translation, notice the word “all.” That made me really think.

I had to imagine that day. Josiah had summoned all the people. It wasn’t just the upper class. He needed everybody to hear about the words from God they had found. It wasn’t just “hearing” either. Josiah led the way by making a pledge to the covenant, and he wanted the people to do the same. They did. All of them!

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2 Kings 16:1-20 – Not a Stranger

Read 2 Kings 16:1-20

puzzle piece going into a heart

You may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard of Ahaz before. He was a bad dude!” Sometimes it’s easy to remember things about Bible characters and infuse them into other passages. Ahaz will also show up in Isaiah and 2 Chronicles, from a different vantage point. So, Ahaz should not be a “stranger.” And he was a very bad dude!

I was a bit appalled when I read that he sacrificed his son in the fire. You may recall this was a sin that God detests (see Deuteronomy 18:9-13 for more on that). I can’t even imagine doing such a thing. I heard a scary thing the other day about a bill waiting to be passed in the United States. In Maryland, this bill seeks to amend the state’s fetal murder-manslaughter statute. Apparently, infanticide is already allowed in the Netherlands if a child is born with birth defects. As if abortion wasn’t bad enough. While not a “sacrifice” per se, what could possess a parent to do such a thing? Evil is all around us still.

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1 Kings 14:1-20 – Hiding from God

Read 1 Kings 14:1-20

person peering out between the crack in some boards as if hiding from sight

Do you think anyone can hide from God’s watchful eye? For some, we are comforted by the thought that God cares for us that much to be mindful of us. Others may be terrified because of the guilt they feel for living a life that is not pleasing to God.

Do you think that’s what was happening to Jeroboam? He was king because God had spoken it so through the prophet. So, now that Jeroboam wants to make contact with God, he sends his wife in disguise. It reminded me of Adam and Eve trying to cover themselves up in the garden after they had sinned against God.

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 – Pleasing God

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

person bowing on their knees with prayer hands against a sunset

We’ve all heard how it important it is to love God and love each other. If we get those two things right, many of the other things we’ll face in life will simply fall into place. That’s not to say life will be “easy,” but it does mean we’ll enjoy life more fully when we can learn what it means to love with Christian love.

Again, Paul seems extremely impressed with the Thessalonians and how these young Christians are getting it right. “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.” Paul uses some examples that these Gentiles would understand when he speaks of sexual sin. Adultery and other sexual freedoms would have been common among the Gentiles (pagans or new believers) of that day. Certainly, this is behavior that doesn’t please God.

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