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Serving God or earthly rulers


09/07/2012

Which do you prefer?

There is an incident in the life of King Reheboam which highlights for me how sad it is when we consider it too hard to put God first in our lives. Reheboam was Solomon’s son, yet you wouldn’t know it from the decisions he took. He ignored the advice of the leaders who served his father and followed instead the advice of his peers and as a consequence lost his leadership of the 10 northern tribes of Israel. If that wasn’t enough after 3 years of following the God of Israel, he abandoned the Lord and turned to idols.

The result was inevitable, the protection given to Judah by God was removed and a greedy King called Shishak eyeing the famous gold of King Solomon attacked Judah with a huge army. Wisely the king and all his nobles humbled themselves before God and repented, but whilst God acknowledged their repentance he wanted to teach them a valuable lesson, so he sent a prophet to them with these words, ‘“Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief. I will not use Shishak to pour out my anger on Jerusalem. 8 But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”

Shishak ransacked Jerusalem of its famous gold and even the Temple of the Lord was not exempt from his greedy grasp. Yet for all that Reheboam did not lose his life or the life of his people. God could easily replace the gold if Reheboam had followed up this act of repentance with a walk of faith, but sadly, his life was marked out by inconsistency from that point on. The gold shields of his father were replaced by bronze shields, true and consistent devotion to God was substituted by fluctuations between loyalty to God and going his own way.

The question for you and I is do we fluctuate between serving God and serving our own interests? Or are we prepared to trust God in everything. Sometimes when I read about Reheboam I sigh inwardly and wonder, if only he had listened to the old men who advised his father, but perhaps I shouldn’t be too harsh on Reheboam, I too value my own opinion above that of others and act all too often in haste, when I should have waited for the Lord’s direction, or listened to the advice of godly people.

Lord, please don’t allow me to be foolish and follow my natural ways; help me to trust in you at all times and listen to those you have placed in my life. Teach me to value and appreciate serving you at all times even when it seems hard, because I know that the alternative is far, far worse.

 
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