“Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” (2 Chronicles 24:2)
Jehoiada the priest was not the king, but he was able to provide
wisdom to him. Sometimes, the search for
the spotlight can blind us to the fact that a righteous right-hand man (or
woman) can be a more effective influence for good than those in power. When we don’t care about the credit, just the
outcome, we can truly make an impact.
“So the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should
have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would
have destroyed it. But now you shall strike
Aram only three times.’ ” (2 Kings 13:19)
When the king of Israel asked Elisha to help him defeat Syria. God, through Elisha, commanded him to shoot
arrows at the ground. The king obeyed,
but not whole-heartedly. He should have
emptied the quiver, but instead, he fired a scant three times.
It is a good reminder that half-hearted obedience is just
another form of disobedience. When we
begrudgingly comply with God’s commands, we reveal our true hearts. Grumbling obedience from children is
disciplined, we should expect no different from our Father.
When we give, we should be cheerful about it. When we serve, we should do so with our whole strength. When we follow, it should be with eyes forward and without turning back. Let us throw our whole hearts into His ways.
“Moreover, they did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully.” (2 Kings 12:15)
Our trustworthiness is an indication of our
faithfulness. If she is a faithful
friend, she can be trusted with your secrets and heartaches. If he is a faithful worker, he can be trusted
with the company’s accounts. How we deal
with that which belongs to another indicates how much faith they can put in us.
So, when Jesus returns, will He find us to have been faithful
with what He has entrusted us with? Were we faithful with the spouse He gave us
or the children we were given to raise?
Will we be found trustworthy with the talents He has supplied us with or
will we have buried them? Will we be
found to faithful to His Scripture or will His churches have become our
“But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart” (2 Kings 10:31)
If we are to serve God, we must do so carefully. His authority must be observed with an eye
toward precision. A life dedicated to
God should not be undertaken in a sloppy fashion. We are to serve Him with diligence as
craftsman striving to meticulously present our lives as living sacrifices to
the King of kings.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“They also broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and broke
down the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.” (2 Kings 10:27)
Verses like this are proof that God has a sense of
humor. God didn’t have to tell us that
Baal’s temple was turned into a public toilet… but He did. I’ll leave it to you to decide what the
symbolism is in that history lesson.
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)
We count what we can see, but Elisha prayed that his servant
would count the unseen heavenly host of warriors that were protecting Elisha
from the Aramean army that day. The
mountainside was full of angelic battalions prepared to guard God’s people.
Do we think that things have changed? Do we forget that God is the same, yesterday,
today, and forever? He still guards us
and His angels still stand ready. We
just need to have the faith to count what we cannot see.
“My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13)
If God asked us to scale mountains or plunge to the deepest
parts of the oceans to receive salvation, we would accuse Him of being elitist
and reserving salvation only for the strongest and brightest.
And yet, when He commands us to simply “believe and be baptized”
(Mark 16:16) the world says that Christianity is too simple and only for the
foolish and uneducated. We, like Naaman, roll our eyes at the “blandness” of
God’s ancient plan of salvation is simple because He desires
all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:4). His love of all of us compels Him to make His
plan straightforward enough that all the honest and humble might be able to
obey it. He doesn’t need us to do great
things… Jesus already did the great things.
But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’” (2 Kings 5:11)
Naaman’s struggle to accept the simple instruction to be dip
himself in the Jordan River seven times to receive healing from his leprosy
stems from preconceived notion. Naaman
had decided ahead of time how a prophet should act and what God would require
of him. There is a problem with assumptions
about religion though – they blind us to the truth of God’s true will.
When we submit to Jehovah, we are submitting to the God that
is higher and wiser than us. We cannot
expect His commands to match ours. His
greatness will challenge us and shatter our stereotypes. This is why it is so important that we read
the Bible for ourselves instead of just listening to other people that have
read it and regurgitated their views of it to us.
There is no replacement for direct contact with the mind of
our Creator recorded in the holy scriptures.
You can’t follow Him without listening to Him.
“Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.” (2 Kings 3:3)
The Bible doesn’t use the word ‘addiction’ – that is a
modern term. Instead it takes about
being enslaved to sin, entangled in sin, or (as in the verse above) those who
cling to sin.
When you know that a behavior is wrong and yet you cling to
it anyways – you’ve become its slave.
Sin doesn’t want what is best for you and it doesn’t love you back.
Let it go. Just let
the sin go and move on. There are better
things that await those that turn to God to be set free.
“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)