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Devotions for Life

Adding Insult to Injury

2 Chronicles 13:1-22
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When the army of Judah arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and shouted to Jeroboam and all Israel: “Listen to me! Don’t you realize that the LORD, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant with David, giving him and his descendants the throne of Israel forever? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a mere servant of David’s son Solomon, rebelled against his master. Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them.”

“Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the LORD that is led by the descendants of David? You may have a vast army, and you have those gold calves that Jeroboam made as your gods. But you have chased away the priests of the LORD (the descendants of Aaron) and the Levites, and you have appointed your own priests, just like the pagan nations. You let anyone become a priest these days! Whoever comes to be dedicated with a young bull and seven rams can become a priest of these so-called gods of yours!” (2 Chronicles 13:4-9)  


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The Somber Side Of the Magi’s Visit

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi” (Matt 2:16).
When we think of the visit of the Magi, it seems as if we often think about the gifts, whether there were three wise men based on the three gifts. The Christmas carol says they were kings, but that’s not what the Bible says. We don’t know how old baby Jesus was at the time of the visit, but we know the manger scene with Magi isn’t accurate since they were in a “house” when they arrived (Mt. 2:11).
We certainly and rightfully focus upon the honor they bestowed upon baby Jesus, and the wonderful lessons we find here. The irony of foreigners seeking the Christ child rather than His own people strikes a loud note.
But have you noticed this? Indirectly, the Magi brought death to too many families in Bethlehem. Herod killed all the babies two years old or under hoping to kill baby Jesus. And although this was a horrible tragedy for that community as a result of their visit, they didn’t know anything about it. They went away rejoicing that they completed their journey and discovered the King of the Jews, and gave Him expensive gifts and honored Him. Nor did they know that the gifts would provide Jesus’ parents with a needed source of financial aid while living in Egypt until Herod died.
There are those times when our choices have positive and negative results. We may or may not know what those negative results are. We may or may not find out. Even when we do good, others may suffer. Or, when we do evil, we may have no idea how many suffer as a result.

Plus, often our good intentions carry with them negative results. The Magi were not guilty of the deaths of those babies. Herod was. But it was the result of their good choices. Had they known it would happen, they certainly wouldn’t have gone to Herod.

What shall we do? First, recognize the possibilities of our choices. The good may be overshadowed by bad results. Find a better way. Also, realize that we may have no choice but to do the good regardless of the consequences. Also, be more aware of the effects for the bad choices we make. If more people were seriously concerned about the effects of their choices there would be less heartache in this world. RR
Hymn: “What Child Is This?”

Most Holy Father, help us; we are poor judges of the results of our deeds. Even our best of motives occasionally lead to bad results. Bless the good that we do, and help us to keep our eyes open for any unexpected, negative effects. And please Father, may we realize how far reaching are the things we do, the good as well as the bad. In the Lord’s name, Amen.

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA

(rredden604@aol.com)



Don Quixote

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). I love the musical play Man of La Mancha based on Cervantes’, Don Quixote. I first became acquainted with this play during a Marriage Encounter Weekend in the 70’s.

After his attempt to defeat a windmill, Don Quixote takes shelter in an inn. There he sees the “fair Dulcinea.” However, Dulcinea is really Aldonza. Aldonza is a kitchen helper and whore working at the inn. Aldonza has no self-esteem as she says, “I was born on a dung heap to die on a dung heap.” Don Quixote refuses to see Aldonza as anything but a fair and noble lady. No matter what happens, he sees her as a person that has worth. At the end of the play Aldonza has changed into Dulcinea, becoming a lady’s maid with self-worth because she finally sees herself through Don Quixote’s eyes.


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