Thursday, April 28, 2011
Why The Flip-flopping?
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