We covered a lot of ground in the reading today. It seems like Chapter 15 opens and closes the kingly episodes as quickly as possible. The allegiance of the Kings of Israel shows us how weak Israel has become in terms of its faithfulness. It’s now a slippery slope toward the doom the prophets have been speaking of. I think the Israelites were in denial, not believing the seriousness of their offense to God.
We also hear briefly about a few of Judah’s kings. For this period at least, they are all pleasing God, to a point. None of these kings have done away with the pagan shrines. People were still able to spend time separated from God despite having a king that was pleasing God. Why do you think each king left the pagan shrines alone? Were they trying to “please” the people not realizing how hurtful it was to God?
Meanwhile, in Israel, kings were dropping like flies. If there had been a newspaper headline, it could have announced the “assassination rate for kings is at an all-time high!” What would possess people to want to be king? Lust for greed and power, I suppose! At what cost, I have to wonder?
When we find ourselves in a pattern of sinful behavior, we are also on a slippery slope. Once we start sinning, the next sin gets easier and easier. We’re human; we all sin. Before we know it, we’ve drifted so far from God he’s barely recognizable in the distance. To find our way back, we need Jesus.
Can you think of a time when you were in stuck in a spiral of sin? Maybe your cycle was just repeating the same sin over and over. It can begin simply with one temptation we barely recognize as sinful. Think of how you’ve missed out on God’s perfect plan for your life because of these spirals or cycles. Isn’t it time to give the control back to Jesus?
Jesus is the only way to the Father. As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus was speaking to his disciples, particularly Thomas in this instance who was struggling with knowing where Jesus was going. No one, regardless of reputation, knowledge, special skill, or piety, can come to God the Father except through Jesus.
Paul tells the Jews in Acts 13:38, “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.” That’s good news! We don’t have to be stuck in our sins!
Being armed with this truth gives us hope. We can’t stop ourselves from falling down the slippery slope of sin. Jesus can. When we stumble, Jesus will be there to catch us. What do you think about the people of Israel and Judah back in the day of our reading? They didn’t know Jesus yet. Couldn’t they see how God was trying to rescue them just the same?
While we can’t change the past, we can do our best to seek to live our best life in the present and prepare for a grand future. Here are some great lyrics from the song, “What He’s Done”
All the glory and the honor to the Son
My sins are forgiven
My future is Heaven
I praise God for what He’s done
Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for catching me when I was spiraling out of control and forgiving me for my sinful behaviors. May I continue to live a life that is pleasing to you. May I see clearly the “shrines” I may have left standing so that I can demolish them to see you more clearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.