I’ve been reading a lot in 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles lately. I’ve read these passages before, but I have to admit that sometimes while reading these types of historical writings, I’ve zoned out a bit. I’m trying not to do that this time around. I’m trying to see what God can teach me through the stories of the leaders of old.
While I may not remember exactly which kings were evil and which ones were good, or somewhat good, I certainly am noticing some very obvious patterns. Time and time again, I’ve read, “His reign lasted __ years. He committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes. He walked the wicked path of Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) causing the Israelites to live sinful lives” (2 Chronicles The Voice). I’ve also come across descriptions such as this: “Amaziah did what was good in the Eternal’s eyes, but not to the extent that that his forefather David had. Amaziah was a lot more like his father, Joash, than he was like David, for he was not as devoted to the Lord as David was. But the high places were not destroyed…” (2 Kings 14:3-4a The Voice).
Although we may tend to fret over every detail of our lives, it really doesn’t have to be that way. We make way to big of a deal over things that simply don’t matter. I think that is one of the reasons I love going to Haiti. Life is so much simpler there. You go to serve, so you shut out all of the distractions–text messages, emails, social media, news–and you simply seek God’s leading and desire to do His work and build relationships each and every moment of the day.
I guess that is the challenge of returning home. How do I do that here and now in a culture that screams for my attention at every turn? How do I shut out that which is eternally insignificant and focus my time and attention on that which lasts?
When I look at the examples of the kings which march across the pages of the Old Testament, I’m struck by the boiled down versions of their legacies. Did they do evil or good in God’s eyes? Were they remembered as a David or a Jeroboam? Did they desire to please the Lord in all they did or were they in it for themselves? And how did they use the authority that was given to them? Did they cause God’s people “to live sinful lives” or lead them to the throne of God in humble repentance? Did they tear down the high places which would only cause them and their followers to stray away from God or did they leave them intact?
When you look at life in those terms, it’s not all that different for us. We need to get rid of the “high places”, the root of sin, and take our walk with the Lord and the impact that we have on others seriously. Rather than getting caught up in things that will only distract us from what truly matters, we need to think of what the boiled down versions of our lives will be. As a result, maybe we can follow the advice given to us in Hebrews 12:
“Since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
“Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Voice).
Kinda gives perspective, doesn’t it? So, what will your sentence or two be?
[Your Name] Did ____ in the Eyes of the Lord…
I don’t know about you, but I want to live in such a way that I make each moment count. Together, let’s do this!