Ever heard of the phrase “definition of done”? It is where criterion are defined and agreed to that define what done looks like. If any of them don’t get completed then the work isn’t considered completed. So what does done look like when it comes to us doing what we are being asked by God? If we follow only some of the commandments have we done our part? Don’t we have to follow all of them as they are the criterion right? If we say we love God but we don’t do what His Word tells us then we are missing the criterion for done right? If we say we love people but we don’t do what God’s Word tells us then we aer missing the criterion for done right? And when we learn about Jesus we realize that the bar gets raised, some may say the quality bar for who we are is to go up so that when people see our good works they will glorify our Father in heaven. When Jesus went to the cross to pay for our sins and to complete the law not to abolish it, He says the words “It is finished!” put another way it is done, He has met all the criterion, He has opened up a new way for us to be reconciled to God!
So what is God calling you to do today? What is your work to be accomplished? What does the criterion look like for you? Does today have something special that God needs you to do? Does God have a divine appointment in store for you to have and to speak life and hope into the life of that person or group? Does God have a task He needs for you to do for Him? Is there someone who needs to hear about Jesus? Do you need to invite Jesus into your life in order to complete your criterion? Is your destinity determined yet since you have already received Jesus into your heart and your life? Do you have a list for today? Do you know who God will bring across your path? Will you be prepared to share the reason for the hope that is within you? Will you be ready to share the love of Jesus with everyone who comes your way? Will you seek wisdom from God for each encounter and situation so that you will know more than what you should or could? Are you preparing yourself in advance for the process, the battle, or the journey that is ahead? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight!
Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 14:
‘Amaziah son of Joash began to rule over Judah in the second year of the reign of King Jehoash of Israel. Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, but not like his ancestor David. Instead, he followed the example of his father, Joash. Amaziah did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. When Amaziah was well established as king, he executed the officials who had assassinated his father. However, he did not kill the children of the assassins, for he obeyed the command of the Lord as written by Moses in the Book of the Law: “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.” Amaziah also killed 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He also conquered Sela and changed its name to Joktheel, as it is called to this day. One day Amaziah sent messengers with this challenge to Israel’s king Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu: “Come and meet me in battle!” But King Jehoash of Israel replied to King Amaziah of Judah with this story: “Out in the Lebanon mountains, a thistle sent a message to a mighty cedar tree: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ But just then a wild animal of Lebanon came by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it! “You have indeed defeated Edom, and you are proud of it. But be content with your victory and stay at home! Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?” But Amaziah refused to listen, so King Jehoash of Israel mobilized his army against King Amaziah of Judah. The two armies drew up their battle lines at Beth-shemesh in Judah. Judah was routed by the army of Israel, and its army scattered and fled for home. King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s king, Amaziah son of Joash and grandson of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. Then he marched to Jerusalem, where he demolished 600 feet of Jerusalem’s wall, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. He carried off all the gold and silver and all the articles from the Temple of the Lord . He also seized the treasures from the royal palace, along with hostages, and then returned to Samaria. The rest of the events in Jehoash’s reign and everything he did, including the extent of his power and his war with King Amaziah of Judah, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoash died, he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. And his son Jeroboam II became the next king. King Amaziah of Judah lived for fifteen years after the death of King Jehoash of Israel. The rest of the events in Amaziah’s reign are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. There was a conspiracy against Amaziah’s life in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But his enemies sent assassins after him, and they killed him there. They brought his body back to Jerusalem on a horse, and he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. All the people of Judah had crowned Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son, Uzziah, as king in place of his father, Amaziah. After his father’s death, Uzziah rebuilt the town of Elath and restored it to Judah. Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria forty-one years. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Jeroboam II recovered the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea, just as the Lord , the God of Israel, had promised through Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher. For the Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel, and that there was no one in Israel, slave or free, to help them. And because the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel completely, he used Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, to save them. The rest of the events in the reign of Jeroboam II and everything he did—including the extent of his power, his wars, and how he recovered for Israel both Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah —are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jeroboam II died, he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son Zechariah became the next king.’— 2 Kings 14:1-29
Today’s reading then continues into Ezekiel 20:
‘On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the Lord . They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will tell you nothing!’ “Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the Lord , would be their God. I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the Lord your God.’ “But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. But I didn’t do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord , who had set them apart to be holy. “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. They also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the wilderness. But again I held back in order to protect the honor of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would not bring them into the land I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful place on earth. For they had rejected my regulations, refused to follow my decrees, and violated my Sabbath days. Their hearts were given to their idols. Nevertheless, I took pity on them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness. “Then I warned their children not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols. ‘I am the Lord your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations, and keep my Sabbath days holy, for they are a sign to remind you that I am the Lord your God.’ “But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So again I threatened to pour out my fury on them in the wilderness. Nevertheless, I withdrew my judgment against them to protect the honor of my name before the nations that had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt. But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods—so I might devastate them and remind them that I alone am the Lord . “Therefore, son of man, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : Your ancestors continued to blaspheme and betray me, for when I brought them into the land I had promised them, they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green tree they saw! They roused my fury as they offered up sacrifices to their gods. They brought their perfumes and incense and poured out their liquid offerings to them. I said to them, ‘What is this high place where you are going?’ (This kind of pagan shrine has been called Bamah—‘high place’—ever since.) “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? For when you offer gifts to them and give your little children to be burned as sacrifices, you continue to pollute yourselves with idols to this day. Should I allow you to ask for a message from me, O people of Israel? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will tell you nothing. “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign Lord . I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord , the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord . You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. You will know that I am the Lord , O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face the south and speak out against it; prophesy against the brushlands of the Negev. Tell the southern wilderness, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Hear the word of the Lord ! I will set you on fire, and every tree, both green and dry, will be burned. The terrible flames will not be quenched and will scorch everything from south to north. And everyone in the world will see that I, the Lord , have set this fire. It will not be put out.’” Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord , they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”’— Ezekiel 20:1-49
Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Acts 15:
‘Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders —Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. This is the letter they took with them: “This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings! “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question. “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.” The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.’— Acts of the Apostles 15:22-33,35
Today’s reading then continues into Revelation 5:
‘Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.’— Revelation 5:11-14
Today’s reading then closes out in Psalms 119:
‘Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions. I meditate on your age-old regulations; O Lord , they comfort me. I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions. Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord ; therefore, I obey your instructions. This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments. Lord , you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands. Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions. I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations. I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments. O Lord , your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees. You have done many good things for me, Lord , just as you promised. I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge. I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word. You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart. Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions. My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.’— Psalms 119:49-72
So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.