And Elijah said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: Why did you send messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Is there no God in Israel to answer your question? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.”
— 2 Kings 1
As the substitute teacher attempted in vain to restore order in my seventh-grade history class, I allowed myself to enter into the growing chaos.
Many of us kept messing with each other and largely dismissed the sub as irrelevant.
Unbeknownst to us, however, he was writing names down with great precision for our regular teacher.
Upon returning to school on Monday, our teacher read all the names on the list. One by one we were called to the hallway to receive our well-deserved swat.
Ahaziah, the king of Israel, and his people needed a hard lesson in respect as well.
I’m sure any of the characters in the story would have gladly taken a swat instead of the death penalty they received for their disrespect.
The king had responsibilities to ensure the faithful pursuit of the true and living God, not little make-believe gods. He had countless chances to get it right and humbly approach God. His pride led him to become the example of what not to do.
God loves us all. He extends grace to us all. His stated desire is that none of us would head into eternity separated from him.
He paid a tremendous price in sending his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven.
The path to salvation and peace with God is before us all.
We can go anywhere other than him for answers. We can attempt to make demands.
Or, we can humbly and respectfully recognize that God is God and we are not.
The road to life is narrow and few are those who find it.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.
“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
— Acts 19:1-20
There was no point in denying it. I was caught red-handed and full-cheeked.
The chocolate chip cookies that were still warm and gooey simply overpowered any ability on my part to refrain.
My wife had made them for a specific reason, which did not include my indulgence.
“Are you eating those cookies?” she asked.
I chewed faster, but it was no use. She had already walked around the corner and saw the chocolate on my fingers and face.
After a good talking to, I sheepishly left the kitchen, stealthily grabbing one more cookie on my way out.
The missionary journeys of Paul were filled with the evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told the disciples that when he left, the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within them. In the verses above, the evidence of his presence is unmistakable.
As the story of the seven sons of Sceva points out, the evidence of the lack of his presence is equally unmistakable.
When the scene is over, “The message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.”
If you’re reading this today as someone who sees himself or herself as a Jesus follower, there should be evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
It may not be miraculous healings or speaking in unknown languages or telling demons to take a hike, but the evidence must still be seen.
Paul identified some of the evidences when he listed the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
Where the Holy Spirit is, “the name of the Lord Jesus will be greatly honored.” Is he honored by your life?
Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.