12/18/F – Turning the World Upside Down

2 Kings 8:20-9:13; Acts 17:1-9; Psalms 144:1-8; Proverbs 30:10

NT: “But the Jews became jealous, and they brought together some wicked men from the marketplace, formed a mob, and started a riot in the city. Attacking Jason’s house, they searched for them to bring them out to the public assembly. When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too, and Jason has welcomed them. They are all acting contrary to Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king — Jesus.”” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:5-7‬ ‭CSB)

After ministering in Philippi, Paul and his band traveled to Thessalonica. As he normally did, Paul began by proclaiming and explaining the gospel in the local Synagogue. After three weeks of ministry, his efforts were so successful that the unbelieving Jews became jealous and staged a riot. Their claim was that they were turning the world upside down by claiming that there was another king beside Caesar. The word translated as ‘another’ is the Greek word heteros (where we get the word heterosexual from). Heteros means different, not of the same nature or kind. Paul and his crew were claiming that there was a different kind of King, with a different nature than Caesar – and their claims were turning the world upside down. Many people call the Kingdom of God the “upside down kingdom” because the ways of the Kingdom of God are so often opposite of and run contrary to the ways of the world. Caesar claimed territory by waging war against people and defeating them outwardly. Paul and his band of missionaries were gaining ground by seeing people changed from the inside out… and that threatened the local way of life and status quo. The believers in Thessalonica were not just better Thessalonians, they were different… they were no longer like the people around them… they had been converted and “turned upside down.” But from God’s perspective, they had been turned right side up. Are we upside down from the world? Do we serve a different kind of King? Do we leave “upside down” people in our wake? All good questions to ask ourselves.

Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord, my rock who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him; he subdues my people under me. Lord, what is a human that you care for him, a son of man that you think of him? A human is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Lord, part your heavens and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke. Flash your lightning and scatter the foe; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down from on high; rescue me from deep water, and set me free from the grasp of foreigners whose mouths speak lies, whose right hands are deceptive.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭144:1-8‬ ‭CSB)

King David was a warrior king – probably the most successful king in the history of Israel, as far as winning victories and claiming territory for the kingdom goes. Yet, he was not formally trained. He grew up a shepherd and was unrehearsed in the ways of modern warfare of that day. When King Saul dressed David up in his armor, David couldn’t even function in it. David learned how to fight… how to approach battles… how to go into war by the grace of God. He didn’t trust conventional wisdom. He trusted the leading of the Lord his God. The way that he won battles was by the leading and the hand of God. When we, by faith, give our lives to the Lord, we are transferred from the kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light. We become warriors in the Kingdom of God, and no longer do we wage war the way the world wages war… with personal attacks and character assassinations, through deception and lies, by strong-arming and manipulation. We serve a different kind of King… a king that wins wars by defeating spiritual enemies and transforming people from the inside out. While there are times when righteousness and justice requires that we engage in physical battles, our main warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual enemies and spiritual strongholds… and our Lord, the Lord of Hosts will train us how to fight together in those battles and to wage that kind of warfare. Don’t fight like the rest of the world. Allow God to show you who your partners are. Allow God to give you the battles to fight. Allow God to train you how to fight them and use the powerful weapons He has armed His people with. Let’s turn the world upside down.

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