Whenever there is something that needs to be done, I always try my best to be prepared. When planning for a trip, I make a list of all the needs for packing. For my finances, I have my budget organized in Excel, outlined meticulously after having some amazing training from Dave Ramsey. Even when I take my dog Max for a walk, I have things I do to prepare. I like being prepared.
In 2 Chronicles we read of groups of people who did not prepare themselves properly for the Passover meal. As a result they did not partake of the meal. Hezekiah prayed for forgiveness for these people who pretty much missed the boat.
Today, I challenge you with your preparedness with God. Do you prepare yourself in the morning by reading God’s Word and by praying? Do you prepare yourself for worship? Do you prepare yourself before Communion? Remember the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with the five women who had no oil for their lamps. Are you prepared for Jesus’ return? Are you prepared to share your faith? Remember what Peter said, to always be prepared to share the reason for your hope. Are you prepared?
“There were a lot of people, especially those from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, who did not eat the Passover meal because they had not prepared themselves adequately. Hezekiah prayed for these as follows: ‘May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors. Even—especially!—these who do not meet the literal conditions stated for access to The Temple.’”
-2 Chronicles 30:18-19 [MSG]
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in prison singing hymns. An earthquake opened the prison doors but the prisoners stayed. Free to stay. Why? Why didn’t they run? They were bringing Hope.
The jailer woke up from the earthquake and saw all the doors of the prison open. He immediately decided to kill himself because he would have been killed anyway for allowing the prisoners to escape. He felt hopeless. This reminds me of Elijah and the hopeless woman and her son. Do you remember she wanted to eat the food she had left and then die? In 1 Kings 17, you find this widow of Zarephath feeling hopeless, just as this jailer. Elijah was bringing Hope.
In both cases, this sense of hopelessness was met with the presence of God. Paul and the others stayed. The jailer asked what to do to be saved. He and his household were saved. The widow and her son never ran out of oil. What was once hopeless was no longer. The jailer was then “filled with joy” (v. 34). From hopeless to joy—you can have that too!
“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped… He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” – Acts 16:27, 30 [NIV]
After Samuel poured the oil over Saul’s head to anoint him as the Lord had instructed, something happened to Saul—he went missing. When they asked the Lord where he was, the Lord pointed out that he was “hiding among the baggage.” He was hiding. Other versions say he had “hidden himself among the supplies.” Either way you read it, this man who was head taller than everyone was found hiding.
We each have a calling upon our lives and there are moments when we want to hide. Perhaps you are hiding right now. Some people do not want to obey because it would require sacrifice. Some people do not feel qualified to do what God has called them to do in life. Some people are hiding because they believe they have a better plan. There are so many reasons people hide. Fear. Pride. The list is extensive.
Today is a great day to ask yourself if you are hiding, and if you are hiding, from what are you hiding? If God has called you to do something, He will give you everything you need to get it done. Today, get out of the baggage and rise to greater heights through Christ Jesus.
“So they asked the LORD, ‘Where is he?’ And the LORD replied, ‘He is hiding among the baggage.’ “– 1 Samuel 10:22 [NLT]
This lesson is a Bible Study Lesson on 2 Kings 3: Are You a Ditch Digger. This lesson is geared toward youth and adult Bible study groups.
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King Mesha made a promise to King Ahab regarding a tribute to pay. When King Ahab died, King Mesha decided he would not keep his promise. Was there a moment when you did not keep your promise? What happened because of this broken promise?
King Jehoshaphat was considered a good king, but what poor choice did he make that got him into trouble? Have you made a similar choice? Bad company corrupts good character. Could King Jehoshaphat have done things differently to still help King Joram out or was there no good way to move forward with helping him?
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Whenever I leave the house and do not take my dog Max with me, he will look out the kitchen window for me while I am gone. There is a bench my grandfather built long ago that he puts his paws upon to hold himself up to see out at the drive way. I have found that if I am only gone a short while, my dog Max is still waiting by the window awaiting my arrival. However, if I am gone for hours, he has long given up on watching out the window. Instead, he is resting on the sofa at his special spot.
This reminds me a lot of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25). There were ten virgins, five who were prepared and five who were unprepared. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (25:3-5 NIV). It ended up that when the bridegroom returned, he told the five who were unprepared that he did not know them. We are told to be watchful because we do not know the time of the return of Christ.
So the questions I have for you to ask yourselves today are:
*Are you like my dog Max?
*Are you waiting by the window, prepared to greet your Master?
*Have you gotten tired of waiting, and walked to the sofa to rest?
We don’t know the time or the hour, but we do know what awaits us if there is no oil in our lamps. I pray that today you are able to find renewed energy for your walk with Christ. We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised that He will be by our side through it all.