Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Two Cautionary Tales

King Joash Repairs the Temple - 2 Chron. 24
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 24:8-22

“Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people and said to them, ’Thus says God: “Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you”’

So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD.” 2 Chronicles 24:20,21

Our reading today is the sad story of Joash. He came to Judah’s throne when he was a mere seven years old. Under the influence of priest Joehoiada, he made an excellent start, repairing the neglected temple and restoring worship.

But after Jehoiada died, Joash allowed the leaders of Judah to influence him. They had a very different agenda. They steered him away from the worshiping Yahweh to idols and his idolatry became so entrenched even the “wrath that came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass” didn’t move him from it.

When Zechariah, son of Joash’s old mentor Jehoiada, warned him in a bold Holy Spirit-inspired prophecy of the inevitable consequence (“Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you” - 2 Chronicles 24:20), Joash had him stoned to death.

Fast-forward to the story of Stephen—the man whose life we celebrate on December 26th. Compare his end with Zechariah’s. When he spoke out against the leaders who had instigated Jesus’ death, he too ended up under a pile of stones (Acts 7:51-60). How eerily similar!

Two lessons jump out at me from these two tales:
1. We need to be aware of and intentional about who we allow to influence us. When Joash was under the tutelage of Jehoiada, he was inspired to honour God by fixing up the temple and restoring the worship of Yahweh. But when Jehoiada died, he allowed himself to be led by Judah’s leaders right back into the swamp of idolatry.

We too put ourselves under influencers. Who we spend time with, what we read, what we watch, listen to, the music we play—all affect our loyalties. Let’s not slip into modern idolatry by being careless about who and what we allow to influence us.

2. Being a mouthpiece for God can be dangerous. Zechariah and Stephen discovered that. As our society drifts ever farther from Judeo-Christian principles, we do well to remind ourselves of the price we too may be asked to pay when we allow the Holy Spirit carte blanche to our lives.

PRAYER: Dear Father, please help me to choose my influencers well. Help me, in turn, to be a good mentor to others. May I be willing to pay the price of being the temple of Your Spirit, no matter what the price. Amen.
MORE: The Feast of St. Stephen

Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen.

The day’s liturgy begins with this collect:

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...