Monday, February 2, 2015

Kingdom Ramblings

I feel like I've just finished a novel of the most morose, yet inspiring, content.

I began going through 1 and 2 Kings a long time ago, chronicling the names of the kings as I read through them. I finally, this morning, closed the book on the last chapter.  Our beloved Israel was just carried off to Babylon and the promised land abandoned.

I look at God's endless patience with David, with Israel, with His children who so quickly and readily forgot their Father, their Deliverer...and it astounds me.  

Yes, there was plenty of chastisement woven throughout the story of the Israelite people.  Yes, God tried to get their attention. But always there was grace, there was patience, there was hope in the face of extreme adversity.  

They forgot Him.  But He never forgot them.

I feel sometimes as if my entire life is a modern day example of Israelite history.  I put one king on the throne and serve him.  I fail; the king betrays me.  I remember my  God.  I destroy all the idols in my life.  Except maybe the gray areas.  The high places.  Those I keep around because they aren't blatant sin. Then I begin again, forget the faithfulness of my God, the promise of His word.  I am so apt to forget, to wander, to worship others, to remain in a place of mediocre worship.

I can't worship God from a place set aside for idolatry.  I can't love God from a place of half-obedience.  To serve our God is to be all be a woman of unleashed faith, of obedience as thick as the waves that bring in both life and death.  

Our pastor said once that our culture has a tendency to look at the world and the way they live, take it down a couple notches and call it holy.  That is one of the saddest truths I know.

Our cues ought not come from the world, but from the Word. 

The end of the story is tragic.  Most of the Israelites are in Babylon, some have fled to Egypt.  There are a few left in the land.  Interestingly, the ones left are the poorest of them all.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the Earth."

But there is a seed of hope.

Jehoiachin, who was on the throne when the Nebuchadnezzar came for them, was carried off when his people were taken captive and held in prison for years.  At the end of the book of 2 Kings, a new king came to the throne of Babylon and released Jehoiachin.

The book ends with bondage...and with a seed of a promise, an inkling of hope, that this descendent of David, of royal blood, was still alive and well.  Dining with the king.  His promise will not go unbroken, even though His people are captive in a foreign land.

"So Jeroiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life." (2 Kings 25:29)

And from him will come the Bread of Life, the atonement for all of our high places, the Deliverer of His people.



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