Encouragement for Today - July 19, 2011
July 19, 2011
Following God's Blueprints
"The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord's presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul." 2 Kings 23:3a (NLT)
Dozens of long sheets draped across the desk, falling over the side like a cascading waterfall of paper and ink. My general contractor husband was working diligently on another project bid, combing over every detail on each page.
I am always amazed by the size of a roll of blueprints. There are so many layers of papers, and countless instructions on every facet of constructing a building, from the underground foundation to the last shingle on the roof. If even one aspect of the blueprint is overlooked, tweaked, or ignored, the entire structure of the building is compromised.
Today I was thinking about the blueprints we've been given in God's Word. Every word of wisdom is meant to build us up to avoid sin and be rooted firmly in Christ.
The story of King Josiah in 2 Kings 21-23 shows the importance of this. King Josiah loved the Lord and desired to follow His plans; however, he strayed from God's blueprints and allowed sin in his kingdom.
One day, Josiah sent his secretary, Shaphan, to speak to the high priest about the restoration of the Temple. There, Shaphan learned the Book of Law, thought to be the original writings of Moses, now known as Deuteronomy, had been discovered in the Temple (22:8). This may have been hidden for its protection during the prior reigns of evil kings.
This book contained dire warnings of what would happen if God's people did not obey His law. Since the last documented reading of God's Word was 250 years earlier, it is possible that neither King Josiah, nor his people, had ever seen the Book of Law. But now Josiah had paper-and-ink proof that his people were doing things God instructed them not to do.
As Shaphan read God's "blueprints" outloud, Josiah became acutely aware the foundation of his nation was sinful. The king set out to rebuild a healthy spiritual foundation for himself and his kingdom by relying on God's blueprints found in His Word. He immediately removed and burned items and shrines from the Temple used to worship idols. He did away with idolatrous priests. He destroyed the living quarters of the prostitutes. And much more!
Like Josiah, I sometimes find myself following my own blueprints not based on God's instructions. Sin weakens my spiritual foundation and my ability to stand strong against things I know are not pleasing to God.
Perhaps sin has caused you to stray from God's blueprints for your life. Maybe a harmless flirtation turns into dinner that turns into an extramarital affair and the foundation of your marriage crumbles. Or maybe a word of gossip turns into slandering a friend's character and years of a solid friendship crumble. Or maybe...
It can be easy to conform to this world and ignore or forget God's instructions for daily living. I am thankful God shows through His Word how to build ourselves up to guard against sin. Reading my Bible each day helps me follow His blueprints and build a godly life.
God calls us to have tender and humble hearts toward His instructions, just like Josiah. When we do, our spiritual foundations are stronger, built on the Rock and His paper-and-ink truth.
Dear Lord, forgive me for trying to live by my own agenda, and forgetting to follow Your guidelines set forth for me in Your Word. Help me to hunger for Your instruction and to have the desire to live a life that glorifies You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Have I inadvertently, or purposefully, been ignoring God's blueprints for living?
Do my daily actions portray a life built on a strong foundation of faith?
Do I need to do any "house" cleaning?
2 Kings 23:25, "Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since." (NLT)
© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105