READ: 2 Chronicles 8-11
THINK: Do you know how to pick your battles? Are you a good judge of when it's appropriate to stand and fight for what you want, believe or feel is right? But can you also discern when it's best to avoid a conflict because it's not the time, place or plan God has for you? When it's His intention for you to do battle, leave no doubt that He will be with you, providing strength to prevail. Yet if God has another plan, are you willing to back off and spare yourself the pain of going part way down a wrong path? Submitting to God and making the right choice, even when you don't understand His reasons, can be the difference between regret or success-defeat or victory.
RESPOND: Though Solomon was faithful to build the temple and obey many of God's instructions, in what area of his life did he disregard God's commands, and how did this affect him later? (See 8:11 note.) What happens when we fail to submit to God's authority in certain aspects of life? How do you think admiration from influential people, like the queen of Sheba and others (9:22-24), might have affected Solomon? How would this have affected you? How can wealth and fame cause people to lose perspective? What happened to the kingdom after Solomon's death, and why? (See 9:29 note.) What portion of the kingdom does the rest of 2 Chronicles focus on, and why? (See 10:1 note.) Why is it typically unwise to reject advice from experienced people while giving in to people with little or no experience (10:5-14)? When people have a complaint, how can a kind response help? Why did Rehoboam not fight to regain control of the whole kingdom? (See 11:4 note.) What does this indicate about the methods God sometimes uses to guide and protect us? Where did many faithful Israelites go after Jeroboam abandoned God's ways? (See 11:16 note.) Under what circumstances might Christians today make a similar choice? (See 11:16 note, subpoint 2.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you stay faithful to Him at all times-good and bad-and in all areas of your life-big and small. Ask Him to help you keep a proper perspective, regardless of what you have or what people think of you.
ACT: Make an extra effort to respond graciously and demonstrate kindness to everyone you encounter today. If there is an area of your life that you haven't entirely submitted to God, be honest with Him, submit that area to Him, and make different choices-and actions-regarding that issue than you've done in the past.
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