June 4: Faithful Examples
2 Chronicles 9:1–10:19; Titus 2:1–8; Psalm 95:1–11
We cringe when we see other Christians exploiting the gospel, using it to advance their own personal or political agenda. Today, it doesn’t take much effort to do so—it’s as easy as posting a video or link online. In these situations, it’s tempting to respond with anger or frustration, but if we do so, we’re compounding the problem with our own behavior.
We can learn a lot from an ancient Graeco—Roman context that really isn’t so different from ours. Paul had left Titus in Crete to help the Cretans learn what it looked like to live the gospel. Paul gives Titus instructions for each age and gender group to help the Cretan believers reset their old ways of being and avoid bringing the gospel message into disrepute.
Paul realized, though, that the Cretans needed real-life examples to truly change. He set up mentors within the community. The elderly women were to teach younger women so that “the word of God may not be slandered” (Titus 2:5). Titus, a young man, needed to be a model of good works. His teaching needed to show “soundness, dignity, a sound message beyond reproach” (Titus 2:7–8). His works and his teaching were intended to be a model Christian living.
The Cretan believers had to examine their old habits and behaviors, and we’re no different. All of us come from different contexts that have shaped the way we live out our faith—and sometimes we need correction. Although we’re quick to look down on other Christians when they inhibit the gospel message through their faulty applications, we’re often unaware when we do it ourselves.
When we see others misusing the gospel, we need to wisely and lovingly confront them about their motives. Like Titus and influential Cretan believers, though, we also have to be open to the work of Christ in our own lives. We can do this by aligning our motives with the gospel and graciously and humbly accepting correction when it’s needed. Through living out the gospel, we can reflect Christ so that others are drawn to Him.
How are you being a model for other Christians?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train, and camels that bare sweet odors and much gold, and precious stones: and when she came to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon declared her all her questions, and there was nothing hid from Solomon, which he declared not unto her. Then the Queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the order of his waiters, and their apparel, and his butlers, and their apparel, and his burnt offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord, and she was greatly astonied. And she said to the King, It was a true word which I heard in mine own land of thy sayings, and of thy wisdom: Howbeit, I believed not their report, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and behold, the one half of thy great wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand before thee always, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which loved thee, to set thee on his throne as king, in the stead of the Lord thy God: because thy God loveth Israel, to establish it forever, therefore hath he made thee king over them, to execute judgments and justice. Then he gave the King sixscore talents of gold, and of sweet odors exceedingly much, and precious stones: neither was there such sweet odors since, as the Queen of Sheba gave unto King Solomon. And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon which brought gold from Ophir, brought Algummim wood and precious stones. And the King made of Algummim wood stairs in the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house, and harps and viols for singers: and there was no such seen before in the land of Judah. And King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba every pleasant thing that she asked, besides for that which she had brought unto the king: so she returned and went to her own country, both she, and her servants. Also the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year, was six hundred threescore and six talents gold, Besides that which chapmen and merchants brought: and all the Kings of Arabia, and the princes of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. And King Solomon made two hundred targests of beaten gold, and six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target. And three hundred shields of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield, and the king put them in the house of the wood of Lebanon. And the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. And the throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold fastened to the throne, and stas on either side on the place of the seats, and two lions standing by the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the six steps on either side: there was not the like made in any kingdom. And all King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the wood of Lebanon were of pure gold: for silver was nothing esteemed in the days of Solomon. For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram, every three years once came the ships of Tarshish, and brought gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. So king Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the Kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, armor, and sweet odors, horses, and mules, from year to year. And Solomon had four thousand stalls of horses, and chariots, and twelve thousand horsement, whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he reigned over all the kings from the River even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. And the king gave silver in Jerusalem, as stones, and gave cedar trees as the wild fig trees, that are abundant in the plain. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands. Concerning the rest of the acts of Solomon first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the Prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the vision of Iddo the Seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat? And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Then Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem came all Israel to make him king. And when Jeroboam the son of Nebar heard it (which was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king) he returned out of Egypt. And they sent and called him: so came Jeroboam and all Israel, and communed with Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous servitude of thy father, and his sore yoke that he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. And he said to them, Depart yet three days, then come again unto me. And the people departed. And King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father, while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak loving words to them, they will be thy servants forever. But he left the counsel of the ancient ment hat they had given him, and took counsel of the young men that were brought up with him, and waited on him. And he said unto them, What counsel give ye, that we may answer this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us, lighter? And the young men that were brought up with him, spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake to thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter for us: thus shalt thou say unto them, My least part shall be bigger than my father’s loins. Now whereas my father did burden you with a grievous joke, I will yet increase your yoke: my father hath chastised you with rods, but I will correct you with scourges. Then Jeroboam and all the people cmae to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come again to me the third day. And the king answered them sharply: and king Rehoboam left the counsel of the ancient men, And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke grievous, but I will increase it: my father chastised you with rods, but I will correct you with scourges. So the king hearkened not unto the people: for it was the ordinance of God, that the Lord might perform his saying, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw the king, saying, What portion have we in David? for we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse. O Israel, every man to your tents: now see to thine own house, David. So all Israel departed to their tents. Howbeit Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel, that dwelt in the cities of Judah. Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute, and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died: then King Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 2 Chronicles 9:1–10:19
- But speak thou the things which become wholesome doctrine, That the elder men be watchful, grave, temperate, sound in the faith, in love, and in patience: The elder women likewise, that they be in such behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not subject to much wine, but teachers of honest things. That they may instruct the young women to be sober minded, that they love their husbands, that the word of God be not evil spoken of. Exhort young men likewise, that they be sober minded. In all things show thyself an example of good works with uncorrupt doctrine, with gravity, integrity. And with the wholesom word, which cannot be condemned, that he which withstandeth, may be ashamed, having nothing concerning you to speak evil of. Let servants be subject to their masters, and please them in all things, not answering again. Neither pickers, but that they show all good faithfulness, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For that grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared, And teacheth us, that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly and righteously, and godly in this present world, Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glory of that mighty God, and of our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purge us to be a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and convince with all authority. See that no man despise thee. Titus 2:1–8
- Come, let us rejoice unto the Lord: let us sing aloud unto the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his face with praise: let us sing loud unto him with Psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In whos hand are the deep places of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are his. To whom the Sea belongeth, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand: today, if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in Meribah, and as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, When your fathers tempted me, proved me, though they had seen my work. Forty years have I contended with this generation, and said, They are a people that err in heart, for they have not known my ways. Wherefore I sware in my wrath, saying, Surely they shall not enter into my rest. Psalm 95:1–11