Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why The Flip-flopping?

Well, first let me say that my memory failed me a few weeks back.  Going into the books of I & II Kings, I didn't think there were very many good kings in the southern kingdom.  Off the top of my head, I only remembered two or three.  Having now read through most of I & II Kings again, there are eight good kings in the southern kingdom.  Considering that there were twenty kings altogether from the time the nation of Israel split until the fall of Judah (well, technically nineteen kings and one queen, so twenty rulers), that's still not a great record, but it is far better than I remembered.

However, in some ways that makes the bad kings in Judah even more hard to understand.  You would think that there would be more stability of religion from one generation to the next.  Granted, Solomon (ironically remembered for his wisdom) didn't exactly set up Judah for a faithful relationship with God, and his son and grandson didn't help, either.  However, his great-grandson turns things back around, officially making Judah a monotheistic nation once again.  But that only lasts through the life of his son.  Judah's longest continuous stretch of monotheistic kings only lasts for four kings.  What is the appeal of polytheism that makes it so tempting to Judah's kings?

I can't help but wonder if it is the parents' fault.  Did the kings not make it a priority to teach their sons about God?  Had too much been forgotten as the years went by?  I'm skipping ahead here, but during Josiah's reign a book of the Bible was rediscovered in the temple and the Passover was held for the first time since before King Saul.  Was the problem that the kings didn't have much knowledge to pass on?  After all, how can you teach about God when you lose the texts that have the stories you need to passed on?  Was it a failure on the priests and Levites?  Had they neglected their duty to teach Israel the ways of God?  I really have a hard time figuring out why Judah constantly flip-flopped when it came to there relationship with God.  The northern kingdom and its kings were bad, but at least they were consistent.

Maybe this bothers me so much because I have a son of my own now.  I want him to know God and know his ways.  I want him to be able to envision God's redemptive work in creation and then be able to envision how he might be able to participate in that work.  Shepherd is following after at least three generations of godly men, some more overtly than others, but all trying to live good lives as best they understood the ideals behind the phrase.  Is Shepherd's future relationship with God one gigantic crapshoot, or is there more hope than that?  I want to say it must be more than just random chance, but the kings of Judah bother me in that regard.

Anyhow, reading about the kings of Judah makes me think about other things also, such as how it's hard to maintain integrity when everyone around you thinks your ways are strange.  It's tempting to model all our behaviors after people we see as more successful or impressive, and but not filter out the bad from the good.  It's harder to have a relationship with a living God who has plans of his own versus a make believe god who can be controlled and always seems to be just what we want.  There are a lot of things to reflect on about Judah, its kings, and its relationship with God, but I'll call it quits here.

Stopping point: II Kings 22

2 comments:

  1. Good post this mornig!!! One hurdle I've faced with Haley and her questions about Heavenly matters is trying to descide what is too intense for her to handle at the age of 4. I will tell you from my experience that the Holy Spirit will not hesitate to work through the little ones. One day Haley was asking some tough questions about heaven and Hell. where the Devil lives, Does he love her too like God does. I hesitantly answered to the best of my ability. she got upset when i told her that the Devil hated her. The first tear didn't drop and I felt like I had made a colossal mistake and opened a door that I shouldn't have in be so blunt. Here's the cool part. A few minutes afterf the tears dried Haley looks at ,me and asksa question like she was quizzing me, as if she already knew the answer. she said, "Daddy what is between good and bad?" Now I, being the ultimate authority on all things considering God( in present company of course) reply in all my righteous wisdom, "Nothing sweatheart, everything we do is either good or bad." She immediatly cuts her eyes at me as if dissipointed by my reply and says, Um..Dady, I think maybe a heart." and then returns her attention top her toys like she didn't just illustrate The whole reason God came for us in the flesh in as simple a way as I could ever imagine to put it. I believe it was God's way of winking at me and saying good job, and by the way...she can handle it. Just tell her the truth in all matters pertaining to me and a good seed will be planted.

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  2. I meant to respond last week, but for some reason I couldn't post a comment. Odd...

    Anyhow, what I meant to say is that I regularly pray that God helps me know to how and when to teach Shepherd the things he needs to know. I also regularly pray that I am humble enough to learn from Shepherd. I look forward to having moments similar to the one you had.

    God bless.

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