2 Kings 14-15: In the Eyes of the Lord
June 20, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The list of kings carries on, and there is not much to cheer us up in this panoply of decay that covers all the occasional good deeds that are done. Every now and then we read of a king who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (14:3; 15:3, 34), but that is countermanded by the frequency of kings who “did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord” (14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28). And even those who do what is right in God’s eyes leave the “high places” untouched (14:4; 15:4, 35), thus passively encouraging centers of Canaanite pagan worship to continue.
You can read through the list of kings yourself and come to your own conclusions about exactly where they are on the scale of doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord (somewhat) or doing what is evil in God’s eyes (a lot). The point that the narrator is making over and over again, however, is that blessing, productivity, effective witness and fruitfulness are directly connected to following God’s Word. You would think this would be a lesson readily learned after a while, but for Israel and Judah, it was a lesson learned the hard way—in the end through exile. We can examine all the secondary causes we like, who is wiser or shrewder in his political dealings and who is less, or what are the states of the surrounding kingdoms and how aggressive is their approach to Israel. But from a divine perspective—from this narrator who is recording history with this perspective in mind—there is only one final cause. God himself, and therefore being faithful to God’s covenant, is the way to receive the covenant blessings that God has promised for those who are faithful to him.
As Jesus put it, remain in me and you will bear much fruit (John 15:5). Our fruitfulness as Christians, as disciples of Christ, is directly connected to our faithfulness to him. Gifting and ability is certainly important; intelligence and brains matter. But of primary importance, and the cause of all the blessing we seek, is allegiance to God who is the Lord of all and whose delight is to bless his people now and for eternity. In this world we will have troubles (John 16:33), but he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). So remain in him, and we will bear much fruit. Conversely, if we are faithless, that too will have its consequences.
These things—these lists of kings and their partial obedience and frequent disobedience—encourage us to be faithful to God in our own day, for the sake of our families, our churches, and our society. Call on him while he may be found (Is. 55:6). Do what is right in his eyes. And remove all false idols, the “high places” of careerism, greed and sensuality, from your life, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."