2 Kings 24:8-17
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.
At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.
The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.
“It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of heaven”
In the gospel yesterday, our Lord talked about bearing good fruits. Today, he teaches that not all who call Him “Lord, Lord” will get to enter heaven. When I first heard this teaching, I was concerned; I wondered if I would qualify for entry into Heaven when it was finally my time. At an early stage in my life, I believed that because I believed in Jesus, I was assured of my place in heaven. In the course of studying the bible, I came across James 2:14-16, talking about faith and works.
I have come to realize that our “status” as a Christian is not a club membership and does not guarantee direct admission to heaven. We do have to do good works as part of our faith, but not as payment of an “entrance fee”! Our works is not a “pay-as-you-go” system into heaven. No… our entrance into heaven is given to us by God based purely on grace. No other reason.
As we continue to grow as children of God, let us remember that we have to do good, even when seemingly unwarranted. We simply must because our faith demands it.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – Father, help us to remember to do our best in our efforts as Christian men and women. Help us remember that whatever we do, we do it purely for You and not for our own needs.
Thanksgiving – Thank You for Your grace for being always there for us; for showing us what it means to be a good Christian and teaching us that our place in heaven is not meant to be earned.