The first was named Peleg – “division” – for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups.
1 Chronicles 1:19 NLT
In your time, the earth is divided. Review chronicles of every nation and generation, and you will fi nd that human nature has not changed. The Tower of Babel is under continual reconstruction. But great effort is useless if I am not the Architect. People who believe only in themselves and build only for themselves find communication next to impossible.
God-fearers and God-rejecters are not on the same wavelength—they do not speak the same language. Christians seem to speak in an unknown tongue, using an incomprehensible foreign language.
Highlighting pleasure, nonbelievers feel no need of the Comforter. Accenting self-reliance, skeptics feel no need of the Encourager. Stressing do-it-yourself religion, legalists feel no need of the Advocate. Pronouncing independence, egotists feel no need of the Paraclete. Emphasizing self-righteousness, the pious feel no need of the Savior. No wonder the speech of atheists and believers sounds worlds apart!
In My time, the earth will be united. I am the Only Optimism for a connected world. My Holy Spirit is the Only Unifying Factor. I am at work in trusting hearts—creating a united kingdom of one
body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one Father, one hope.
Only when Christ reigns over the nations will unity prevail. Then His prayer— that all His disciples may be of one heart and mind—will at last be answered and will inspire eternal global celebration—adoration of the Lamb who gave His blood to ransom people from every language and nation, worship of the One worthy to unseal the future.
The divided world will come together only when Jesus reigns. Human ingenuity has never been able to get it all together—it never will. Christ is the star of hope. When current events in a fragmented world discourage you, look forward to Christ’s joining together unsettled nations into genuinely united nations.
Avoid the evil one’s divisive vocabulary—obscene, blasphemous words of TV sitcoms; hostile words of warmongers; discouraging words of the malcontent, egocentric words of the ambitious; bigoted words of the religious. Use heaven’s speech—loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled words taught by My Holy Spirit.
In the babble of confusing dialects spoken by the world, use My unifying vocabulary. Practice speaking what will one day become the universal language.
They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. 2 KINGS 17:15 NLT
They lived a “nothing” life and became “nothings.”
They followed vanity (false gods – falsehood, emptiness, and futility)
and they themselves and their prayers became false (empty and futile).
THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE
Despising their Deliverer, Israelites stubbornly traded worship of the True God for religious practices of pagan nations. Their “worship” involved shameful sexual perversions, relying on constellations rather than the Star Maker, sacrificing sons and daughters I gave them to a nightmarish fire god, flirting with demons straight out of hell! How far from My plan they wandered! My chosen people proved their intention to forsake Me—I proved My holiness by allowing their captivity. People become like what they worship.
If you worship idols, you become immoral and insane. Pay attention to the prophets I send your way, warning you of sad consequences of bowing your knees to false gods of the heart. Replicating the stupid mistake of the heathen in designing your own religion will only get you in trouble with your Creator. Thinking up your own ideas of what I am like will darken and confuse your mind. Worship the Immortal God—live forever in My house!
If you worship money, you become miserable and miserly. Devote yourself to Me—enjoy true riches!
If you worship mind, you become impersonal and insensitive. Remember Einstein’s advice: “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has powerful muscles but no personality.”
If you worship yourself, you become selfish and sinful. Transgression has an evil influence on you—your thoughts are tarnished, your soul agonizes in guilt, and your heart has trouble singing. When you do not stay near Me, life is empty.
If you worship God, you become good and gracious. Do not give your allegiance to worthless idols—trifles with no value, no good to anybody. All the world can offer you is insatiable lust for carnal pleasure, craving for possessions, and proud class consciousness. I offer heaven. I alone deserve praise and worship—all else is vanity.
King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria in Damascus.
The altar in Damascus made a great impression on him. He sent back to Uriah the priest a drawing and set of blueprints of the altar.
Uriah built the altar to the specifications King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. By the time the king returned from Damascus, Uriah had completed the altar.
The minute the king saw the altar he approached it with reverence and arranged a service of worship with a full course of offerings.
The old bronze Altar that signaled the presence of God he displaced from its central place and pushed it off to the side of his new altar.
King Ahaz ordered Uriah: “The old bronze Altar will be for my personal use.”
2 Kings 16:10-12, 14, 15 THE MESSAGE
Being king, Ahaz could, of course, do as he pleased. But he had no right to redesign My altar. And he had no business making offerings—I gave that serious responsibility to the priests ordained for the task.
Seeing a Syrian altar he liked more than the one in the Jerusalem Temple, he sketched it and ordered Uriah to construct it. That new altar became the symbol of his egocentricity.
I had inspired detailed plans for the sacrificial worship altar. This arrogant ruler actually presumed to have a better idea than Mine! His self-centered, do-it-my-way attitude expressed itself in a major overhaul of the Temple. Defying My divine blueprint, he ordered changes—offering sacrifices on his larger, newer altar; putting the old bronze altar to his personal use in divination, seeking guidance from lesser gods; changing movable stands; removing the sea from bronze bulls, unceremoniously placing it on a stone pavement; in deference to the king of Assyria, removing the Sabbath canopy.
Who did Ahaz think he was, changing heaven’s plans? I saw it all from My throne, and I did not like what I saw.
All you do is in My eyes. My night vision is as sharp as My daylight perception. Live like a subject of the King of kings—conform to My blueprint for your life.
Your human nature presumes to set up your own ways of living in opposition to Mine. Carnal detours distract from the high road. Self-worship dethrones Me from your heart. Building newer, more elaborate altars, your alter ego proudly asserts itself, doing it your way.
On the altar of your life, surrender to My perfect plan since I know best. Let My holy nature become your second nature. Let Me alter your ego—changing you from the inside out, shaping you into Jesus’ perfect image. Then you can do as you please, so long as you seek to please your King.
Hazael king of Aram badgered and bedeviled Israel all through the reign of Jehoahaz, but God was gracious and showed mercy to them.
He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, to this day.
2 Kings 13:22-23 THE MESSAGE
My unchanging love sustains you through all life’s vicissitudes. All around you in the world there is change and decay—nevertheless, My unfathomable love never varies, and My unfailing love never dies. My heart is wider than rebellious tangents, longer than earthly existence, higher than fondest hopes, and deeper than your despair.
I love you—not because you are good, since you deserve it; not because you behave well, and have earned it—I love you in spite of your sin. Nothing you do lessens My concern. Evil cannot stifle My love. The king of the world attacks you, but I tenderly embrace you. The evil one pesters you, but I bolster you. Satan worries you with his “if nothing happens,” but I promise to stay whatever happens. My compassion enhances your happiness. Mercy and grace enrich your life with goodness. My heart goes out to you with kindness.
I love you—not because you merit it, but because of My nature. My concern ensures your help. Idolatry leads to defeat, but prayer brings victory. My aim in chastising is to turn your heart home.
I love you—not because you are good, but because I am God. My covenant enforces your hope. I moved with Abraham, laughed with Isaac, and struggled with Jacob. I am with you in transitions, celebrations, and hard times. Depend on the Unchanging One.
I love you—not because you are faithful, but because I am. My clemency encourages your humility. I will never reject you.
I love you—not because of who you are, but because of who I am. My companionship excites your heart. My heart will not let Me destroy or reject you. I will never give up on you. I will never lose faith in your potential. My heart always hopes for the best for you.
I love you—not because you are flawless, but because I am your Friend. My love for you will endure through all time and into eternity. Whatever your condition, My love is unconditional.