As you read through the accounts of the different kings of Judah and Israel, you may notice something, which I noticed just today. I've always seen that there are obvious evil kings, and kings who followed God and were blessed. But, I noticed something today that I think applies to our life. I noticed that some kings started out not ruling God's way then God would bring another country to attack their kingdom and then all of sudden everyone would repent, including the king and God would stop the attack or at least minimize the damage done to the people. Other kings, started out serving God but let the power, riches, victories, and foreign wives sway them into living against God's ways. Then, God would remove His blessings. But, there was one that I read about today,( Jehoshaphat) who did it right...period. It says in 2 Chron. 17:3, " The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early years and did not worship the images of Baal...". And it says, " He was [DEEPLY-emphasis mine] committed to the ways of the Lord."- chap. 17, verse 6. In verses 7-9 he went a step further, and I love this. He sent out the officials, Levites and priests to all the land to read/teach the people God's Word. Now that's a king who's doing it right!!! I found that there is a very practical and important symbolism here. Some of us start out our lives hearing the gospel and simply rejecting it until tragedy befalls us and then we seek God and are saved. Others start out claiming to serve God but then don't do what we should to keep ourselves from falling. For instance, some kings married foreign wives even though God had said not to, and because of this, the foreign wives tempted them into idolatry. If the king had obeyed God, he would have kept that temptation out of his life.
Now, there were kings who did was was right and were blessed, but the blessings were different. Why? There were some kings who loved God and tried to rule according to God's ways BUT they didn't go all out. They left all or some of the idols and alters that had been erected to false gods. And even though because their hearts were right God blessed them, the blessing was not given in it's fullness. There were other kings who were sold out. They sought God, worshiped and served Him. They led their people away from false gods and to the One True God. They destroyed every last alter and idol. I love when I read of these very few kings. They kept the temptations and stumbling blocks out of their way,( and of course they weren't perfect, but their hearts were right). And their blessing was far more than others. How about you? You may serve God but have you taken everything out of your life that gives way to temptation, is a distraction, and causes stumbling blocks? It's a question we must all ask ourselves, and often.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I found some beautiful passages in Ecclesiastes. I hadn't read in that book for awhile. I underlined so many things like Eccles. 3:11 which says, " He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." That's so true and so beautiful. Thank you Jesus for planting eternity in my heart. What about chap. 5 verse 7? " Talk is cheap like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead. " Something to chew on there, at least for me. Chap. 5:12,13, "People who work hard, sleep well..." and "......Hoarding riches harms the saver." Again, truth in simple and practical terms. Chap. 7, verse 29 says, " ...God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path." It's so sad to know that we were meant for such goodness. And here's one that's both encouraging and an admonishment, " Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor in your youth before you grow old and say, 'Life is not pleasant anymore'." Such good and truthful reminders. Let us take each one to heart and read them again and again. I'll end this blog with a beautiful passage from 8:1, " How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person's face, softening it's harshness." It's great to seek God and all the wisdom and knowledge He's made available to us. But as we know....the foundation of both of those things is to know God, and know Him intimately! Apart from God, these things are empty of worth.