1 Kings 20-22, Psalm 100
It is so easy to come from a position of expectation rather than thankfulness seeing God's grace in everything. I'm writing this morning from the physician's lounge on labor and delivery. Due to problems with my call room, I had no bed to sleep in to nap during the night. It has been a very busy call with four deliveries completed and another five in labor. A little frustrated I rigged a make-shift place using a love seat and a chair to lie down for small periods of time. As I lied down trying to get a few minutes it struck me how fortunate I was to have a cushioned love seat, a pillow and a blanket. How many nights did my Savior, Jesus use a rock for his head and the ground for his bed. My problem along with so many is we expect things, forgetting the fact that we don't deserve our next breath. The four babies that I delivered thus far, were beautiful and healthy. Again, this miracle of God should never be minimized, for it is not by our expertise or the patient's diligence in caring for herself which produces God's creation of a new life, but by His grace. So, though tired I can only approach the rest of my day not complaining about how difficult the night was but thanking Him for His grace and allowing me to participate in whatever small role He chooses to give me.
We are first introduced to King Ahab in 1 Kings 16:30-33, "Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him...he went and served Baal and worshipped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the Kings of Israel who were before him." In today's reading the evil king of Israel, Ahab, is faced with a dire threat from the King of Syria, Ben-Hadad. Most of us reading this and knowing Ahab would say that he is about to get what he deserves. But we see God's response to Ahab's seemingly impossible situation in 1 Kings 20:13, "Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, "Thus says the Lord:'Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.' ". As corrupt and despicable as King Ahab was, God gave him another chance. This is an amazing example of God's grace and patience. We will see a similar situation a little later in Isaiah 7 concerning the evil king of Judah, Ahaz.
Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve. We read in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Whenever we somehow believe that we earn points in heaven as a result of our good works, we add to his grace. Once we add to grace, it is no longer grace but what we feel we deserve. The world would be so much more joyful if we approached it daily from a position of emptiness, complete poverty. Once we realize that we deserve absolutely nothing, then everything is seen for what it truly is: the amazing grace of God. Let us pause and thank Him for everything: our salvation, our health, our families, our jobs, our church, our nation, even our next breath. This accurate position will keep us from complaining and instead teach us to appreciate everything.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: