Repeatedly, Israel and Judah were given a chance to follow God and to shape a righteous nation. Every time someone new rose in leadership because of God‘s punishment on a wicked predecessor, the new king would fall into the same pattern of evil behavior as the ruler before him. And it was it only the king responsible for perpetuating sin. Both the king and the people had decision-making power. More than once, the people put a man on their throne. Still, even the most supported leaders remained consistently opposed to God. However, regardless of both king and countrymen's repeated corruption... and subsequent punishment, God kept his promises. A king of the Davidic lineage remained on the throne—a promise He had made to David, and He always followed through to grant blessing and extend the promotions He had offered those He chose to use as a threshing tool to cleanse wickedness. Even when they would turn from God, He would permit their continued reign and hold off His judgement for extended periods of time.
Reading these summarized biblical accounts, I think, "These leaders were some of the dumbest humans on the planet." Then, I see myself in them. Suddenly, words like stupid and idiotic become less desirable vernacular to apply. Haven’t I responded to God‘s grace and elevation with obstinance? Haven’t I have chosen my efforts over God's plan? Haven’t I failed to remember God's faithfulness and loving kindness and got caught up in the world’s culture instead? Haven’t I been happy to listen to words associated with promotion while ignoring admonition concerning personal disciplines?
We are all rulers to some degree--kings of our own domain, and like the kings of Israel and Judah, we can be foolish. It's easy to be fearless in the face of God when we become callous—forgetting Him and fearing others when we should be forgetting others and fearing God.
This inverted tendency intensifies when we aren’t mindful of God‘s timetable. His plan and His promises often unfold slowly—but we expect haste. When we aren’t granted the blessing that our need for instant gratification desires, then we hurry past God‘s will in a rush to implement our own plan. However, we fail to use that same haste to correct our wrongs or to obey His command for submission. Scripture says when punishment is not executed speedily, we go on sinning. If we don't get an immediate consequence, we continue to feel justified in our wrong doing. We don’t see that we have been given a multitude of chances to change. Instead, we misuse God‘s grace, using it to serve our own will.
The lesson? Honor God non-circumstantially. Wait patiently on His promises. If He said it, He will do it. Time makes our vision cloudy. We don’t see God’s answers in the light of His clarity. Our temporary perspective warps The real reality—God’s reality. We can become confused when life feels indefinite as we live it. In truth, life is but a dash between two dates on a headstone, a mere vapor, Scripture says. Life is a smattering of words that can be collected into a few short sentences. This summary will reflect God‘s faithfulness, His promises kept, and His gracious restraint that has withheld what we deserve. Let it also show our patient service, our zeal for Him, and our faithful waiting that lingers beyond situational shifts. Such an account is the best story told, no matter how briefly it may be written.
Tip/Tidbit: Make sure your life counts.