Do you know the difference between right and wrong? What if we ask do you know the difference between good and bad? How about if we ask do you know the difference between moral and immoral or just and unjust or honest and dishonest or pleasing vs evil? Do you have a standard that you can turn to in order to understand and know for sure? Do you have a standard that is unchanging? Do you have some measuring stick that helps you know the difference?
Did you answer yes? Then how are you living it out? How are you doing it? What is your standard that you are able to trust it and stand firm on it? How do you respond? Do you rejoice when you see the right thing taking place? Do you take a stand when you see the wrong thing taking place? What is your role? What is your plan? How will you know what to do when you see something right or wrong taking place? How about if you see something good or bad taking place? How about if you see something moral vs immoral taking place? How about if you see something just vs injust taking place? How about if you see something honest vs dishonest taking place?
Did you answer no? Do you think it depends? Do you base it on your feelings or how you feel about it in the moment? Might you respond differently today than you did yesterday? Might you respond differently today than you will tomorrow? How do you know if what you are doing is right or wrong if you don’t have a standard to base it upon? How do you know if your response is just or injust if you don’t have a measuring stick to compare against? How you know if what you do is moral or immoral if you don’t have something to compare it to that doesn’t change? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t right be right if it is right? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t wrong be wrong if it is wrong? So how can you be honest and not know what truth is? How can you be just and not know what is morally right and fair? How can you be moral and not know what is right and wrong? Where can you find a source of truth that never changes to be your standard and foundation?
Why not start with God’s Word found in the Bible? Why not start in the New Testament and learn what Jesus teaches in relations to the 10 Commandments and His new deal? Why not wrap up all the examples of Jesus so that you can know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the higher calling and higher standard Jesus calls us to in order to know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the 2 Commandments that cover all the others by Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and by Loving your neighbour as yourself? God has a plan and it is good and not for evil, it is not to harm you but rather to give you a hope and a future! Why not lead with unconditional love, like the love of God, who loves you so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever will believe on Him will have everlasting life? God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but instead so that the world could be saved! The key is that we have to choose to receive it! What if today ends up being your last day? Are you saved from judgement? Are you going to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Are you going to spend eternity in heaven or in hell? Let’s read from God’s Word as we consider all the questions.
Today’s reading gets us start in 2 Kings 15:
‘Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land. The rest of the events in Uzziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Jotham became the next king. Zechariah son of Jeroboam II began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria six months. Zechariah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, as his ancestors had done. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah, assassinated him in public, and became the next king. The rest of the events in Zechariah’s reign are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. So the Lord ’s message to Jehu came true: “Your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king. The rest of the events in Shallum’s reign, including his conspiracy, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women. Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria invaded the land. But Menahem paid him thirty-seven tons of silver to gain his support in tightening his grip on royal power. Menahem extorted the money from the rich of Israel, demanding that each of them pay fifty pieces of silver to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned from attacking Israel and did not stay in the land. The rest of the events in Menahem’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Menahem died, his son Pekahiah became the next king. Pekahiah son of Menahem began to rule over Israel in the fiftieth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. But Pekahiah 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. Then Pekah son of Remaliah, the commander of Pekahiah’s army, conspired against him. With fifty men from Gilead, Pekah assassinated the king, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the palace at Samaria. And Pekah reigned in his place. The rest of the events in Pekahiah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in the fifty-second year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty years. But Pekah 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. During Pekah’s reign, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria attacked Israel again, and he captured the towns of Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor. He also conquered the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and all of Naphtali, and he took the people to Assyria as captives. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah and assassinated him. He began to rule over Israel in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. The rest of the events in Pekah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Jotham son of Uzziah began to rule over Judah in the second year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. He rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Jotham’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. In those days the Lord began to send King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. When Jotham died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.’— 2 Kings 15:1-38
Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 21:
‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. Tell her, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign Lord . “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the Lord , have spoken!”’— Ezekiel 21:1-32
Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 15:
‘After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.’— Acts of the Apostles 15:36-41
Today’s reading continues into Acts 16:
‘Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.’— Acts of the Apostles 16:1-5
Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 6:
‘As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory. When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere. When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.” When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.’— Revelation 6:1-8
Today’s reading then concludes in Psalms 119:
‘You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord , that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight. Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments. Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws. May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed. I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees. How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me? These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me. All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments. In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws. Your eternal word, O Lord , stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws. Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.’— Psalms 119:73-96
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? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? 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.