Devotional Week 48 Friday
“I cry to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord do I make supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I tell before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed and fainted (throwing all its weight) upon me, then You knew my path.”
Psalm 142: 1-3
“God knows, not I, the devious way
Wherein my faltering feet must tread,
Before, into the light of day,
My steps from out this gloom are led;
And since my Lord the path doth see,
What matter if it is hid from me?
God knows, not I, why, when I’d fain
Have walked in pastures green and fair,
The path He pointed me hath lain
Through rocky deserts, bleak and bare.
I blindly trust, since ‘tis His will;
This way lies safely, that way ill.
His perfect plan I cannot grasp;
Yet I can trust Love Infinite,
And with my feeble fingers clasp
The Hand that leads me to the light.
My soul upon His errand goes;
The end I know not, but God knows.”
“When evil seems to gain wider sway, we can be calm and strong if we have the idea, as a broad, rich light around us, that God is stronger than evil and is unspeakably more opposed to it than we are, and completely committed, now and forever, to the good.”
Thomas Starr King
Today’s Study Text:
1. “Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them.”
II Kings 10: 29
2. “Howbeit the high places were not taken away; as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.”
II Kings 14: 4
3. “Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.”
II Kings 17: 29
“Unholy Alliances” – Part 3
“Living In a ‘Howbeit’ World!”
“Howbeit” – Webster’s Dictionary – “Be that as it may.”
“Howbeit” – Hebrew – “Leanness,” “No further.”
“Howbeit” – Greek – “Contrary-wise,” “Not withstanding.”
“If thou wilt fly from God, the devil will lend thee both spurs and a horse.”
Has there ever been a time in my life when I was walking toward the good but I decided to go only so far – and no more?
What do I think it means to live “contrary” to God’s will?
“To forsake Christ for the world, is to leave a treasure for a trifle…eternity for a moment, reality for a shadow.”
“For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth...all the Truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.”
Hebrews 10: 26
Amplified Bible and The Message Bible
Hebrews 10: 36,
The Message Bible
There are so many special passages of Scripture which call out for our attention. However, today I want to look at a single word found in our Study Texts. It is the word “howbeit.” This particular word is found most frequently in the Bible in 1 and II Kings. It is how the word is used which caught my attention as I prepared for today’s study.
If you recall, the country of Israel became divided into two nations – Judah and Israel. With the twelve tribes split into unequal groups, we find that the books of 1 & II Kings leave the tragic record of a nation that once had so much promise, turned into a divided group of senseless wanderers, following the actions of one king after another into the most treacherous wars and ungodly behaviors.
What stands out is the fact that even when a specific king appeared to be following God’s leading, up pops the word “howbeit” and believe me it isn’t in a good way! Over and over, if we follow the usage of this “connector” word, we quickly recognize that the word happens to signify a woeful lack of consistent, persevering behavior on the part of God’s children. One of the most glaring examples which keeps being repeated time and again is found in II Kings 15: 3,4 where we read that King Amaziah actually did what was “right in the sight of the Lord.” When I read this, I thought to myself, “Good for you Amaziah. Finally there’s somebody who has decided to follow the God of heaven and earth!” But then, as I moved on to II Kings 14: 4, I ran smack-dab into the word, “Howbeit!” And here’s why the writer of II Kings chose to use this word: “Howbeit the high places were not taken away; as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.”
Let me be clear, this isn’t a one-time observation. In I Kings 15: 4, I Kings 22: 43 and II Kings 12: 3, there are identical statements: “But the high places were not removed.”
I want to share the powerful way author Dale Ralph Davis, in his enlightening commentary on II Kings, gets to the heart of this passage in Scripture:
“Amaziah only comes up to a Joash-standard, not a David standard. But it may be the next point where we especially tend to yawn: under Amaziah they didn’t take away the high places. We’ve heard this before – Asa, Jehoshaphat and Joash received generally favorable ratings, and yet ‘the high places were not taken away.’ We read this exception repeatedly and become deadened to it…as here in Amaziah’s case, we should note how Yahweh never fails to mark every negligence shy of full devotion to Himself.”
This is why a seemingly inconsequential word like “howbeit” actually becomes such a “big deal.”
Ruler after ruler could give verbal and even visual worship to Jehovah but somewhere high on a mountain, tucked away from general view, was a place of illicit worship. As C. E. DeVries notes in his commentary regarding high places: “The typical high places were located on a physical height, the selection of an elevated spot seems psychological, for this location put the worshiper above their immediate environment with its mundane associations for truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains and the land was polluted with harlotry, both physical and spiritual.”
No matter how high and elevated these secluded places of worship were, their presence was a witness to the divided hearts which permeated a divided nation. I find an example which Dale Ralph Davis shares gives me a clearer vision of what was going on: “A wife may say that her husband is an excellent provider but a non-existent companion. We usually would not understand her to imply that she is satisfied with that state of affairs – or that she felt the abundance he supplied on the one hand somehow covered the ache on the other. So with Amaziah. Why does righteousness have to be so restrained? Why must godliness be so tame? Doesn’t this text imply that mediocre orthodoxy is not covenantal obedience?...I suppose there is an analogous situation for some of us.” We might call ourselves Christ’s followers, we might say we want to be like Jesus and yet, as D. R. Davis points out, “there is little zeal after personal piety, little effort to teach our families, not much passion to bear personal or public witness...Maybe it’s the ‘Amaziah Complex’: we don’t see why righteousness must be rigorous or godliness aggressive.” As long as the kings were doing what was right most of the time, then they left the high places alone.
As I read these thought-provoking words, it was rather jarring for I think there isn’t a one of us who at some point in our own lives has not felt that if we claim to be followers of Jesus, we don’t have to worry about the “high places” that we know exist in our lives. A favorite spot which divides our devotion and could potentially break our connection with our heavenly Father. In the words of the poet and hymnist William Cowper, “The dearest idol I have known, whatever that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne, and worship only Thee.”
For every one of us, there comes a point in our lives where we must decide if our devotion to God will be 100%. It is the time when I ask myself, “Dorothy, are you willing to follow all God asks of you? Are you willing to give your heavenly Father an undivided heart? Or do you have some cluttered little corner where your Father isn’t welcome to enter?”
Today may each one of us give all of ourselves to our Father’s perfect plan for our lives – no “howbeit’s” allowed!
“He (she) who would valiant be
Against all disaster,
Let him in constancy
Follow the Master,
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.”
O For a Closer Walk With God
“O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching voice
The world can never fill.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus