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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Vacation From God (2 Kings 17:13-15)

"The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all of his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.But they would not listen and were stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them."

Summer time means longer days and fun-filled vacations. With vacations come loss of routine, and like a domino effect, loss of devotional life--vacation from God. Spiritual declension, to varying degrees, occurs when people take a vacation from God.

Just as preventive medicine or preventive care are taken to prevent illness so measures must be taken to prevent spiritual declension. 

King David took a vacation from God and it cost him dearly. While kings gathered for war he lingers on his rooftop and checks out the wife of one of his mighty men. 

Israel didn't take preventive measures to protect their relationship with God. Led by Jeroboam and followed by every one of their kings the nation of Israel takes a vacation from God and it costs her dearly. In fact, they are on the brink of being taken into captivity.

The above verses describe the preventative measures that can be taken to prevent spiritual declension.
  • Turn from evil ways - resist the temptation to do things on your vacation that you wouldn't ordinarily do (watch certain movies, go to places that subject you to questionably activities/influences, etc.)
  • Heed the warnings of others - learn from David and Israel's example
  • Observe His commands and decrees - find a place to worship on the Sunday you are away or have family devotions. Don't neglect your own daily devotions. 
Spiritual life is one of those areas that, without maintenance, withers. Spiritual declension occurs when the heart takes delight in anything more than Jesus Christ. On this matter Jesus says, "Seek first the kingdom of God." Keep first things first during the summer. Take a vacation! But, in your vacationing, don't take a vacation from God.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Kings 17:3-41; 18:9-12
  • What reason is given for the capture of Samaria and the deportation of Israel?
  • Read John 4:1-26. Who is the woman at the well? How does she describe the religion of the Samaritans?
  • According to 2 Kings 17:24-41 what is the origin of the Samaritan people?
  • Why is right worship not enough?
Isaiah 5:1-30
  • What analogy does Isaiah use to describe God's relationship with Israel?
  • How does prosperity and affluence affect Israel?
  • List the five "woes" recorded in this song.
  • What is the primary reason for God's anger against Israel?
2 Kings 16:19-20; 2 Chronicles 28:26-27; 2 Kings 18:1-2; 2 Chronicles 29:1; 1 Chronicles 4:34-43
  • How are Simeon's descendants described?
  • Who is Hezekiah and how long does he reign in Judah?
  • Look at the timeline in the front of your Bible in order to see what takes place during the time Hezekiah begins his reign.
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to help you guard your heart during the summer time so that you don't spiritually drift during vacation season.