“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB
Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.
When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.
Are you accepting bad behavior?
Enjoy the reading
1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18“Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.
“Don’t allow past experiences and events contaminate a growing relationship with God.”~TB
The world can be a scary and traumatic place, where vulnerable innocent people endure unjust hardships. There is no denying that the human experience can be awful. Some of you have deep wounds, committed by those who were supposed to care for you. Some of those very people probably hid behind ‘religion’, trying to cover up their horrendous practices and abuse. They will be judged and dealt with. Friends, don’t allow the transgressions and evil deeds of others taint your understanding of the Lord. False Christians are exactly that, false. In order to heal, you must step out in faith.
No matter your experience, God can and will work within you to heal your wounds and provide you a joyful existence. There are hope and restoration after a destructive beginning. In order to grow with Him, you must let go of the weight of your past. It’s impossible to elevate to the next level when the weight of unforgiveness, shame, and sorrow are tied to you like cement bricks. Friends, give your burdens to God because you can’t handle them on your own. Finish your race victoriously on God’s team.
Are you allowing your experience contaminate your ability to walk with God?
Enjoy the reading
1Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD .
2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
4You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.
5Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
6Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
7As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
8I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
9How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
10I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12I praise you, O LORD ; teach me your decrees.
13I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.
14I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.
15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
17Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.
18Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
19I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me!
20I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.
21You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed.
22Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws.
23Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees.
24Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.
25I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
26I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
27Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame!
32I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
33Teach me your decrees, O LORD ; I will keep them to the end.
34Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
36Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
37Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
38Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.
39Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.
40I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
41LORD, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me.
42Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.
43Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.
44I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever.
45I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
46I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed.
47How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
48I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.
49Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.
50Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
51The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions.
52I meditate on your age-old regulations; O LORD, they comfort me.
53I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions.
54Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived.
55I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD ; therefore, I obey your instructions.
56This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.
57LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!
58With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.
59I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.
60I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
61Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
62I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.
63I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments.
64O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.
65You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
66I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
68You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.
69Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions.
71My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.
73You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.
75I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it.
76Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant.
77Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight.
78Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws.
80May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.
81I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.
82My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?
83I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me?
85These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me.
86All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.
89Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.
90Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.
91Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.
92If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
93I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
94I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.
95Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.
96Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
97Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
98Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
99Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
100I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
101I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
103How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
104Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
105Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
106I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
107I have suffered much, O LORD ; restore my life again as you promised.
108LORD, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
109My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
111Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.
113I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.
121Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right.
122Please guarantee a blessing for me. Don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees.
125Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
126LORD, it is time for you to act, for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.
128Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way.
129Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!
130The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
131I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.
132Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name.
133Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
134Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments.
135Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.
136Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions.
137O LORD, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair.
138Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.
139I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words.
140Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
141I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments.
142Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.
143As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.
144Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.
145I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD ! I will obey your decrees.
146I cry out to you; rescue me, that I may obey your laws.
147I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
149In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry; let me be revived by following your regulations.
150Lawless people are coming to attack me; they live far from your instructions.
151But you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true.
152I have known from my earliest days that your laws will last forever.
153Look upon my suffering and rescue me, for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154Argue my case; take my side! Protect my life as you promised.
155The wicked are far from rescue, for they do not bother with your decrees.
156LORD, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.
157Many persecute and trouble me, yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart, because they care nothing for your word.
159See how I love your commandments, LORD . Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
161Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
162I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
163I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions.
164I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.
165Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
166I long for your rescue, LORD, so I have obeyed your commands.
167I have obeyed your laws, for I love them very much.
168Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.
169O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.
170Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised.
171Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.
172Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.
173Give me a helping hand, for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174O LORD, I have longed for your rescue, and your instructions are my delight.
175Let me live so I can praise you, and may your regulations help me.
176I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.