What a difference a leader makes!
Little Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah. Both his father and grandfather had failed miserably as godly kings before him. But in his eighteenth year as ruler, this twenty-six year old monarch was given a copy of God’s covenant with Israel.
As the words of God’s commitment to his people were read to him, and the implications of Judah’s disobedience became clear, he called for and initiated national repentance. God’s judgment against this sinful nation was postponed.
But then came Jehoiakim … Josiah’s son.
Although he lived throughout repeated calls from the prophet Jeremiah to lead Judah away from idolatry and their fascination with Baal and other gods, he turned a deaf ear. Both he and his people refused to acknowledge their propensity to walk in blatant sin. God wasn’t given a hearing. Jehoiakim had his fingers in his ears!
So God instructed Jeremiah to recap in writing all the warnings he had given vocally over the years. He dictated the words of God’s displeasure and the impending disaster God intended to bring on this stubborn nation.
The king was in the winterized portion of the palace, reclining before a fire when the scroll was brought to him. As each section of the scroll was read aloud, he would cut off that piece and throw it into the fire. He continued until all had been read and all had been destroyed in the fire.
Need I remind us that discarding God’s Word doesn’t change God … but it does change us!
We each have ways of throwing the words of God into the fireplace. We do it through indifference, simply ignoring them. We do it by skipping over the hard parts and turning the pages until we come to the good parts where God rewards those responded to the difficult parts.
For instance, we love the second half of II Chronicles 7:14 where we rejoice over: “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
But we only get to that part through an obedient response to the first half of that verse: “ … if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways …”
This week let’s back away from the fireplace, put our scissors back in the drawer and concentrate of following all of God’s instructions.
“But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty,
and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener
who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed
and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].”
James 1:25 Amplified Bible