1 Kings 10, Micah 1
Most of us like to believe we’re spiritual people. At least, we’d like others to believe it.
If we have a remotely religious discussion, people will typically try to “measure up”, in a way, arguing that they’re not terribly religious themselves or anything, but they believe in God and stuff, and there are some things they agree with and some things they really don’t like.
And there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s not in my jurisdiction to determine one’s spiritual alignment, apart from the command for me to present the gospel of Jesus Christ as shown in the Bible.
But what has developed is a safe, sanitary I’m-okay-you’re-okay society — both within church and beyond — where we don’t discuss this stuff because we’re afraid of being offensive or getting uncomfortable, and we just sort of leave each other alone. We’ve become vague in speech and just nod at everything to avoid contention. We start to throw the inconvenient stuff out, or twist and modify to cater to our senses and desires or to keep things chill with the people we associate with.
This stance breeds further compromise, both among our peers and within ourselves. We begin thinking we can cut corners here and there, and God is okay with it, and all of these other religious people seem so nice, and they seem okay too, so what’s the big deal?
Instead, I propose a different question: where are our convictions? Is it inherently bad to stand firm upon something these days? Sure, we can and should change to conform to the likeness of Christ, but if the standards are already set, why do we keep compromising?
As usual, I encourage you to do the reading before carrying on.
Clearing out is cool, but…
I’ve been fighting fleas in my apartment for years — literally — and the most obnoxious aspect of the ordeal is that, if I leave any remnant of fleas anywhere, they find a way to multiply and re-infest the place. Flea removal means complete eradication.
When I don’t see any problems, I get a little bit complacent and lax, and that’s when the problem escalates anew.
We can change our behavior, and remove the sin. That doesn’t fix the problem, though. We have to be consistent, thorough, and show integrity in our obedience. Integrity means even going about it when no one is watching.
The small represents the whole
Micah 1 describes judgment upon the whole of both Israel and Judah for transgressions against God and their own people. Both of those are whole nations, but Micah speaks of a region (Samaria) and a city (Jerusalem) that are particularly corrupt.
Why would God judge a whole territory based on a couple of smaller representations?
Imagine you have a bowl of your favorite hot soup. When it’s hot, it’s naturally dynamic — molecules are moving about rather quickly in this little pool. Now, imagine someone decided to drop a little piece of cat poop in there. Would you still eat it, removing the fecal matter from the dish and continuing on, or would you throw the whole thing out?
Another illustration, if you will: when you have a flu, your antibodies course through your blood stream, fighting off the pesky bacteria or virus in your system. But they don’t attack the nasal and chest areas alone — they have to eradicate all disease from every corner, because it has likely spread through your whole body.
Sin is pervasive — it affects all aspects of your life, and must be dealt with accordingly.
A firm foundation
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the reading today is the tail end of 2 Kings 10, where we discover that the bloodthirsty Jehu, who is simply looking to eliminate the whole of Ahab’s existence in the kingdom of Judah (to God’s delight, no less), regresses to the habits of his descendants:
29 However Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.
He has great intentions to be spiritual, to restore the kingdom to its former glory, to exercise justice and garner the laud of his people, yet in his heart he remained misaligned with the Lord.
We can have great intentions in life, and even do what might be regarded as “good” in the eyes of our peers, but if we are unwilling to stand firm upon the Rock that is the Lord, it will amount to vanity.
What is it all worth if we do not stand upon the foundation of Jesus Christ? Remember that it is the work of the Lord that keeps us steady, not the shaky monuments of man or the temporal, ever-changing world we live in.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.