Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 February 2014 2 Chronicles 15:1.

2 Chronicles 15:1.     And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded.
 
And then it was Friday… Carnival Friday to boot! So you can imagine the huge amount of joyful and raucous shouts of ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday!’ that are going up to heaven. It’s getting so deafening that the Lord has to put in earplugs to safeguard His hearing. (smile)
 
And if most of those shouts were truly godly grateful, it wouldn’t be so bad, but the fact of the matter is that most of them are simply mouthed platitudes for us to go and enjoy the earthly and sinful pleasures involved in the carnival bacchanal. You can imagine the highly ‘partyfied’ state of Rio, New Orleans and T&T!
 
But Friends, at no other time is Granny’s warning more important than at Carnival time, because we know it’s so easy to fall into the pleasurable traps of the enemy. So please, I beg of you all, this weekend especially, to remember that drunk or sober, you are expected to mind your business.
 
And be exceedingly careful of that brown girl in the bottle… or whatever colour girl she might be, for all of them are very capable and very likely to lead us down dark and dangerous paths, if we imbibe too much. We tend to get very loose and irresponsible then, and can suffer serious, life changing effects and situations through that irresponsibility.
 
And to help us guard against our natural irresponsible tendencies, let’s chant our Friday Chant in all seriousness. As one loud voice now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.
 
Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’
 
Yes mih people, this weekend, more than ever, we need to take our Friday Chant very seriously because it can prevent us from making some silly but very serious mistakes. And the ole fella’s talking from personal experience here, not hear say! (smile)
 
Now let’s turn to our Bit: ‘And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded’
 
Yeh Friends, in olden times the Lord’s Spirit wasn’t dwelling in every believer as it is now, after the coming of Jesus and Pentecost. Back then the Lord empowered certain individuals for a particular purpose when He needed them.
 
And yesterday we saw a time when Israel was real idolatrous and ungodly and the Lord, in exasperation, left them to their own devices. (Judg. 2:16-23) Just as He’s currently leaving us to our own ungodly and disobedient devices, and we’re suffering the pangs of rebellion in a very catastrophic world. 
 
So the Lord left the pagan nations around Israel to test their determination and sincerity to walk in obedience to His commandments. (Judg. 3:1-4)
 
The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
 
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim (Baals, name or symbol of Canaanite gods) and the groves (Asherahs, names and symbols of Canaanite goddesses.’ (Judg.3:5-7)
 
The scholars tell us that ‘the groves were the detestable sacred trees or poles used in Canaanite worship centres as symbols of life and fertility. These were sacred to the worship of the Canaanite fertility goddess Asherah. Moses had warned against their use and given instructions to Israel to destroy them when they entered the land of Canaan (cf. Ex.34:13; Deut.7:5; 12:3; 16:21-22).
 
Unfortunately the use of such poles would prove to be a continuing fascination for Israel and a source of deepening apostasy. (cf. 2 Kin.17:9-11).’
 
Oh mih breddren, that’s exactly what we are doing today; intermarrying and associating with the heathen in a big way. But even worse, instead of bringing them to belief in the ONE, TRUE GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we’re embracing their paganism.
 
Don’t you think that will anger our God now, just as it angered Him back in the disobedient days of Israel? It surely will! And here’s how he dealt with Israel.
 
‘Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.’ (Judg.3:8)
 
What else did they expect eh? And that warning goes for us today too Friends! But fortunately for the Israelites and us, our God is very merciful and forgiving.
 
‘And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
 
And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.’ (Judg.3:9-11)
 
Oh my fellow believes, how I hope and pray that the Lord would raise up someone like Othniel today in out dire time of need, so that he or she could defeat the pagan powers that are controlling us, albeit through our disobedience, and give our land some godly peace and rest from the continuous struggles and strife that’s been plaguing it for oh too long. Please pray for God to positively address the situation very soon.
 
Remember though, that godly assistance WILL NOT COME WITHOUT SINCERE CONVICTION AND REPENTANCE! So if we want to see godly improvement in our world any time soon, then we need to start working RIGHT NOW, to seriously bring conviction and repentance to it.
 
With those two things permeating our society, we CAN NEVER GO WRONG! Why? Because that’s the wisdom of heaven! Much LOVE!
 
…in sinful and ungodly times…the proven formula for redress…is sincerely turning back to serving and worshipping Jehovah God…