June 10 – 14, 2024

June 10 – 14, 2024

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Read 1 Kings 16:1-7; Exodus 34:5-9; 2 Peter 3:9

Have you ever heard of an atheistic college professor or militant unbeliever challenging, “If God is real, then why doesn’t He strike me (His enemy) dead right now?” Such people are fortunate that none of us is God, as we might answer such a rebellious taunt. God’s patience, lovingkindness and holy restraint are incomprehensible. Think about it: God—eternal and perfect in His relational triunity—needed nothing. Yet He created humankind, the earth’s environment and universe to accommodate human life.

All-Knowing God—unbounded by time—foreknew that many whom He created “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27) would reject Him, some even claiming that He is dead or fictional. The Creator knew that each of us would sin, undoubtedly paining Him immensely. The notion of an emotionless God—His laments throughout the Old Testament discounted as anthropomorphisms—invaded Christendom through Greek dualism influences. Such opinion has greater kinship with Eastern religions and Islam than biblical Christianity.

Many people mistake God’s patient forbearance (“longsuffering”) and lovingkindess as evidencing His nonexistence, weakness, unholiness or indifference to sinfulness. The irony is that God withholds ultimate judgment so that many more would come to Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Were God impatient, judging sin fully as it occurred, no one would survive and there would be no Bride for the returning Savior to claim as His own.

As today’s featured Scripture shares and Jehu’s story (this week’s centerpiece) reinforce, God does not bless continual rebellion. He will tolerate sin’s devastation and stench for only so long, thus His warning: “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever” (Genesis 6:3). Paul admonished accordingly, “because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day … when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5).

John Lennon wistfully sang, “Imagine there’s no Heaven. … No Hell below us. Above us only sky.” Many embrace this Utopian, hyper-humanistic, God-dismissing view. Hopefully, Lennon came to know the God he apparently had marginalized. Art, entertainment, fame, philosophy, human “goodness”—none of these can satisfy our deepest longings. Only the Savior can. Share His Gospel with those not knowing Him.


Why do you believe God is so patient with us, including even those who are hostile and openly defiant toward Him? Why do many apparently feel that God is indifferent to continual rebellion?


Pars Theological Centre

Praise God for the success of the inaugural graduate ceremony held in November 2023. Glenkirk’s partnership with Pars played a significant role in making these events a reality for the students. For that, Pars is truly thankful.



Read 1 Kings 16:1-7; 2 Chronicles 16:7-10, 19:1-3

If you’ve spent much time reading Scripture, you grasp representing God prophetically as a tough assignment. Serving alongside the Northern Kingdom’s (“Israel’s”) kings was challenging—all nineteen were evil. Judah has a better royal history, but still only eight of its twenty kings generally were considered “good.” The kings were tone-setters for their kingdoms—the Bible says of King Baasha and successor Elah: “[T]hey sinned and … made Israel to sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idols” (1 Kings 16:13).

The prophet Jehu is featured this week, though there’s little information regarding him biblically or otherwise. “JEHU, son of Hanai [was] a prophet during the time of Baasha, [third] king of Israel (circa 906-883 BC), and Jehosaphat, king of Judah (c. 867-846 BC). … Jehu foretold the destruction of the house of Baasha and censured Jehosaphat for joining King Ahab of Israel in the attack on Ramoth Gilead.” (Jewish Virtual Library) “[Jehu’s] words were fulfilled in the reign of Elah, Baasha’s son, when the traitor Zimri assassinated Elah and murdered all of Baasha’s family and associates (1 Kings 16:11-13).” (Wikipedia)

Jehu’s father, the prophet Hanani, served as Israel’s wicked King Jeroboam’s reign wound down, followed by Nadab who also “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD” (1 Kings 15:26). In Judah, contemporary kings Rehoboam and Abijam were similarly evil. Their successor, Asa—though he “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (1 Kings 15:11)—and Hanani clashed. “Hanani … rebuked King Asa of Judah for [allying] with Ben-Hadad I, king of Syria, against … Israel (2 Chronicles 16:7–10).” (Wikipedia) “[So] Asa, … angry with [Hanani], … put him in the stocks in prison” (2 Chronicles 16:10).

Filling an open prophet position in ancient Israel or Judah would not be an HR professional’s dream. Sin, intrigue, rebellion and danger enveloped the land and the kings’ palaces.

Though it’s unlikely any of us are prophets per biblical standards, we likewise represent God in a fallen, ever-declining world. Share the Gospel regularly but, if you do, be sure you are living it actively and faithfully.


Why do you think God allowed so many wicked kings to reign in ancient Israel and Judah? Given the challenges of being God’s prophet there, why do you think any would accept such a calling? What are some things we, as 21st century American Christians, have in common with ancient prophets?


Pars Theological Centre

Please pray for Dana, who was arrested in front of her children while she was taking an online Pars exam. She and her husband were placed in solitary confinement, then released on bail. They await sentencing. Pray for wisdom as they navigate the circumstances of their arrest. Pray that the government will show them mercy.



Read Habakkuk 1:5-11; Jeremiah 25:8-14: Acts 5:1-11

When ancient Israel and/or Judah strayed from God’s ways—a repeating pattern—God utilized wicked Assyria, Edom, Philistia and others to discipline them. Yet—balancing human free will with His sovereign holiness—Yahweh held these punishing nations accountable for their behavior and intentions. Today’s Habakkuk and Jeremiah passages indicate how God used and later judged Babylon accordingly.

Don’t ever presume that God is limited in whom He uses or how, nor that He issues “free passes.” Pharaoh was hard-hearted, which God employed to liberate the Hebrews from ancient Egypt. Upon departing, the Jews plundered the Egyptians (Exodus 23:36), taking materials later used in constructing the Tabernacle. Ancient Egypt never fully recovered. Jesus’ betrayer, Judas, was an essential player in the Gospel narrative—yet he hung himself, devastated after his plan backfired.

The Acts 5 Ananias and Saphira episode alarmingly shares God strongly judging their trying to impress others with misrepresented generosity. When they deceptively withheld some of their publicly-committed offering, husband and wife were struck down. Such “extreme” response brings to mind Moses’ disqualification from entering the Promised Land. In Numbers 20, God told Moses to bring forth water from a rock to quench the Israelite’s thirsts—Moses was to speak to the rock. (Earlier, in Exodus 17, God instructed Moses to strike the rock to produce water.) In this second water-producing incident, Moses went off script, striking the rock twice after scolding the parched, grumbling Israelites, and he was never allowed to enter the Promised Land. As with Ananias and Saphira, God’s response may feel excessive.

God takes His imagery very seriously—the water-producing rock pictured Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10), who needed to be struck (crucified) only once to save us. Had God ignored Ananias’ and Saphira’s hypocritical ruse, a dangerous precedent would have been set in the newborn Church.

Do not conclude that because God uses you—or anyone—that this equals license to do as you please; e.g., committing ungodly sins. Yahweh will judge our actions, even wrong-hearted ones that He uses. If you doubt this, consider the stories of Israel’s first king, Saul, and even King David. Never forget: the Lord is loving while also holy, loathing sin’s destruction of His beloved.


Why did God use wicked, neighboring countries in judging and disciplining ancient Israel and Judah? Why did God judge them and others He used to achieve His purposes? Why did God react so strongly to Moses’ misrepresenting Him and in dealing with Ananias’ and Saphira’s hypocrisy?


Pars Theological Centre

Please pray for Pars’ students who are fearful of continued oppression and antagonism in their communities and families because of their faith. Pray for their perseverance and for the joy of their salvation to be their strength.



Read 1 Kings 16:1-2; Psalm 8

If you are a parent, you likely know the frustration of being taken for granted by your child or, worse, criticized for your tender care. Perhaps God enables many to be parents partly so we can relate to His challenges as the Father. Imagine, then, how God feels when someone He lovingly created is hostile toward Him, subordinates Him to idols, and/or denies His existence.

In 1 Kings 16:2 God reminds Israel’s King Baasha, “I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over My people.” How did Baasha thank God not only for life itself but also for his ascent to Israel’s throne? “[Baasha] did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the [idolatrous] way of Jeroboam (whose house, ironically, was destroyed by Baasha as he seized Israel’s throne) and in his sin which he made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 15:34).

We might confidently condemn Baasha for his ingratitude and evil toward Yahweh, and rightly so. However, aren’t we like him when sinning? Many Christians characterize sin via archery’s definition, “missing the mark,” but I find this too passive and understated. When I sin, I essentially tell God, “I know better than you what’s best for me and others.” Upon sinning I displace God from His rightful throne in my life and supplant Him with a fallible, wretched substitute: myself. Our perfect Substitute, Jesus, thus had to take our deserved punishment at Calvary to satisfy God’s righteousness and pay fully for our sins.

“Sin hates the truth of God, suppresses it, and exchanges it for what sin loves and worships. Sin loves to worship and serve the creature not the Creator. … Sinning is any feeling or thought or speech or action that comes from a heart that does not treasure God over all other things. (John Piper)

Baasha, like all of the Northern Kingdom’s kings, was evil. But the Bible notes his condition as common among fallen humans: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV). When popular sentiment implores all to “Follow your heart,” is this good advice? Follow Christ instead!


How can all of us, at times, be like Israel’s King Baasha? Which of the characterizations of “sin” in today’s devo do you find most helpful? What are some of the problems with a “follow your heart” orientation?


Pars Theological Centre

Please pray for Pars’ faculty, mentors, counsellors, and tutors as they continue to give of themselves to the students. Pray for God’s wisdom and discernment to continue guiding their lessons and their pathways.



Read 1 Kings 16:1-4; Psalm 92:6-7; Ezekiel 28:1-10

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana) Ancient Israel and Judah should have discovered this. Their pattern from the time of the Judges up to the kingdoms’ captivities: faithfully keeping God’s covenant > widespread lapse into idolatry and other unfaithfulness > God judges the people > Yahweh sends a judge and/or prophet to get them back on track > repentance and returning to the Lord anew > lapse …

Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity for its idolatry and injustice about 115 years after Assyria conquered and exiled Israel for similar sins. God gave Judeans a clear warning via what happened to their northern kinsmen, yet they ignored this and suffered judgment accordingly.

Popular sentiment holds that “a loving God would never send people to hell.” As mentioned on Monday, many misinterpret God’s longsuffering amidst humankind’s ongoing sinning as His condoning our behavior. We mislead ourselves with softening expressions like “white lies” or “boys will be boys,” calling adultery “an affair,” calling lying as “mis-speaking,” etc.

The Bible repeatedly, clearly reinforces God’s righteousness and the consequences of sin. Yet many—perhaps adopting an “if I ignore it, it will go away” position—choose ignorance regarding God’s Word or attack the Bible hoping to discredit its warnings. For the committed, unrepentant sinner, God and His ways are “inconvenient.” Others discount His holiness, chalking up intense judgments to “the Old Testament God” versus “Jesus, the loving, forgiving God of the New Testament.” But the Bible clearly debunks such notions: “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6); “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8); etc.

We should learn from the past. However, centuries without clear, devastating divine judgment should not delude us into thinking that “all is well” or “God winks at sin.” We might smile or shake heads when encountering someone carrying a “Repent, God’s judgment draws near” sign. Though their methods may be off-putting, the message of these sign-bearers is true. Jesus taught accordingly, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Do you know anybody spiritually complacent due to God’s “recent inactivity”? Lovingly warn them.


What is the pattern that ancient Israel and Judah fell into regarding their relationship with God? Why do you think so many contemporary people claim “a loving God would never send people to hell”? How are God and His ways “inconvenient” for unbelievers?


Pars Theological Centre

Please pray for this new year of training and equipping. Pray for financial provision for our students as they trust God with their livelihoods and as they pursue a deeper knowledge of God while they serve their church ministries.




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