ODJ: More than Feelings

January 10, 2017 

READ: 2 Kings 17:35-18:6 

He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made (18:4).

Looking quizzically at my phone, I smiled as I discerned the message my daughter had texted. It wasn’t the words; it was the emoji. How in the world had such a small graphic managed to perfectly capture my teenage daughter’s sigh of impatience, roll of her eyes, and slightly annoyed tone of voice when saying my name? But there it was—the exasperated emoji!

While my response to my daughter’s text that day was lighthearted, I realized that even though we can be good at expressing our emotions, we don’t always wield them well. Exhibiting our emotions isn’t the problem. After all, we’re made in the image of an expressive God (Genesis 1:27). We falter, however, when we make our emotional state the barometer of what we believe or the compass for decisionmaking.

Hezekiah’s radical cleansing of the temple reveals not only how important it is for us to resist idolatry, but also how farreaching the impact can extend when we don’t (2 Kings 17:41). A gift to bring healing, the bronze serpent had become an object of worship because it was more tangible than an unseen God (Numbers 21:8-9; 2 Kings 18:4). Forsaking their covenant promise to worship the Lord alone, the Israelites bowed at the altar of circumstances and as a result generations became imprisoned in idolatry (2 Kings 17:38-41).

God created us to live in the fullness of His image— emotions included. But it’s vital that we choose, as Hezekiah did, to trust in God’s “great strength and . . . powerful arm” to lead us (v.36). Anything less leads to bondage. Regardless of our emotions, we find true security through faithful obedience to the One who remains consistent and trustworthy (18:5-6).

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: Genesis 18:1-15

Read Psalm 63:1-11 and consider how David directed his emotions to what he knew to be true about God’s love for him. 
As you think about your emotions, how do you sometimes struggle with being led by the Holy Spirit? How can your emotions be an instrument for strengthening your intimacy with God?