Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Magnificent +

    Few songs capture the entrancing, humbling, overwhelming awe I experience in the presence of God. Magnificent, a song by U2 Read More
  • I'll Go Crazy +

    I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight Every generation gets a chance to change the world - U2 Read More
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Don  Carsonhttp://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-kings/14.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-timothy/4.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/hosea/7.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/passage.aspx?q=psalm+120;psalm+121;psalm+122

2 Kings 14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalms 120–122

ONE OF THE ATTRACTIVE AND DISTURBING things about the Bible is its realism. Simplistic idealism would very much like the "good" people to be more or less consistently rewarded, and to be fruitful and blessed in their work; similarly, it would like the "bad" people to turn out to be failures.

Doubtless on the longest haul, before God's tribunal, justice will be done and will be seen to be done. Doubtless, too, there are enough temporal rewards and blessings to remind us that God is in control. But in the mystery of providence, there are also enough anomalies to remind us that ultimate justice is not found in this world. And this, of course, is true to life, the ultimate realism.

The point is well illustrated in the two kings of 2 Kings 14. Amaziah, son of Joash, reaches the throne of Judah at the age of twenty-five. "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father David had done" (2 Kings 14:3). Though he was not as consistent as David, he was on many fronts a good man. Even in the matter of capturing and executing the assassins of his father King Joash, Amaziah refrained from wiping out their families—a not uncommon practice at the time—for he was following the law of God (Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6). And then, after enjoying moderate military success (2 Kings 14:7), which apparently went to his head, he taunted the northern tribes for no good reason into a war he lost disastrously. The stupidity was gargantuan. Eventually Amaziah was himself assassinated after a twenty-nine-year reign.

By contrast, on gaining the throne of the northern kingdom Jeroboam II "did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit" (2 Kings 14:24). Nevertheless he proved to be an able administrator and military leader. Because the Lord was sensitive to the cries of his people as they faced the crushing power of Syria to the north, he used Jeroboam II to restore the boundaries of Israel against Syrian encroachment, eventually recovering for Israel both Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Israel in the days of the united monarchy. Jeroboam II reigned for forty-one years and died in peace.

Observe: (1) A good king may do bad and stupid things. (2) A bad king may do good and important things. (3) It follows that one should never evaluate the morality of a leader simply on the basis of select good things or bad things they do. Even Hitler restored German confidence and created jobs. Presidents have been known to win wars and keep the economy going while living, sexually speaking, in the gutter.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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