Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 King 17-18; John 3:19-36
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil.20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. 21 Whoever does the truth comes to the light so that it can be seen that their actions were done in God.” (John 3:19-26, Common English Bible)
18 Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son, became king of Judah in the third year of Israel’s King Hoshea, Elah’s son. 2 He was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi; she was Zechariah’s daughter. 3 Hezekiah did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred pole. He crushed the bronze snake that Moses made, because up to that point the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (The snake was named Nehushtan.)
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, Israel’s God. There was no one like him among all of Judah’s kings—not before him and not after him. 6 He clung to the Lord and never deviated from him. He kept the commandments that the Lord had commanded Moses. 7 The Lord was with Hezekiah; he succeeded at everything he tried. He rebelled against Assyria’s king and wouldn’t serve him. 8 He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territories, from watchtower to fortified city. (2 Kings 18:1-8 (Common English Bible).
I was not bullied when I was a kid. Neither did I bully others or at least if I did no one has ever said they felt bullied by me. I feel sure I was talked about by other kids, friend, and foe alike. I was certainly no angel on that score. I don’t remember any of those times whether by me or by others about me. But, considering it was all more than 40 years ago, the passage of time has a way of making many of those things go away, at least for those of us that were not badly abused by what we experienced.
Today, for many of our kids, things seem to be a lot more difficult today. And, many of our kids have learned their lessons well.
When I scroll down the Facebook feed these days (something I find I am doing less and less as the days go by), the talk seems to get meaner and viler as the minutes tick off the clock. Your political views don’t agree with mine, I go on the attack and then you counter-attack and we have an all-out verbal war for the world to see. Our views on parenting don’t match up. Which team in a given sport is best and the arguments start. Your child was a bully to my child and everyone goes on the defensive, “My child wouldn’t do that.” Someone does make up the statistics. I have often wondered what God would say to us today.
A young boy I knew, his parents were being transferred. When one of his friends found out he was moving, the friend lashed out at the young boy, telling him he was going to go to hell for going to the wrong church.
I feel certain God would be anything but happy. Remember what Jesus said was most important? Love God and love neighbor.
Over the past few days, I have spent much more time in John than in 2 Kings. The second Kings readings have been “So and So became king of Judah and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
I have noticed on news alerts on my phone I am seeing more murders, more robberies, more ways that we are finding to act in ways other than loving to our neighbors. If a Biblical book were being recorded for our times (and no, I am not trying to say this should be Scripture), I can’t help but think that within the first few words it would say, “…and they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” God cannot possibly be pleased.
Today the lesson from John and the lesson from 2 Kings switched places. John is pointing out that it isn’t just kings who did evil in the Bible era. Ordinary, everyday people did and do evil too. Jesus says, “…and people loved darkness (evil) better than light (good).” We cannot say we always do good and never evil that is a contradiction of what God would say to us.
For days now, it seems like paragraph after paragraph of 2 Kings says, “…and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord…” until today when along comes a new king, a different king, Hezekiah. The reading above says, “He clung to the Lord and never deviated from Him.” What a great example he is for us. Cling to the Lord. Don’t deviate from Him. That is what I believe Hezekiah and God would want to say to each of us.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved