Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They Are Watching

2 Chronicles 36:9- Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord."

I have mentioned that I am reading through the book of Jeremiah right now, but this morning I felt a headache coming on, so I chose to read the historical background to Jeremiah from 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles instead since I knew there was going to be some heavy reading from Jeremiah. Funny thing is, no matter where you read from in the Word of God, there is always something powerful that strikes a chord, makes you think, and leaves you chewing on it for some time. The above verse was the one that got me today.

You see, this little boy, this eight year old little boy, who should be interested in playing, running around, kicking balls, eating cookies with milk and getting those milk mustaches, was anything but a little boy. He was the king of Judah. A little boy held the most awesome responsibility in the entire kingdom. The weight of his country was literally on his shoulders. But the most interesting part of this verse to me was that in his three months as king he managed to do "evil in the sight of the Lord".

Now, yes, we are all born with a bent towards doing wrong, but he was noted for doing evil, a far cry from merely having a sin nature. How did a little boy manage to know how to do evil in the sight of the Lord? He obviously learned it from somewhere! If you look back at verse 8, we find out where he learned how to do evil in the sight of the Lord. "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim and the abominations which he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son became king in his place." This poor boy had learned to be evil from watching his father! He had learned to follow and worship other gods rather than the One True God who had led this great people out of Egypt and had been their King for many years. He had learned to perform unthinkable acts in worship to these false gods that the One True God would never have required as a form of worship to Himself. He learned to disregard the warnings from the men of God that God sent to warn of impending danger if they did not turn from their ways. He learned to listen to lies and the voices of friends rather than to the voice of God speaking to him. And in three months this little boy, as king of his country, managed to have himself named among the kings who "did evil in the sight of the Lord".

Now here is the question for you and me. What are our children learning from us? Are they learning to honor the name of Lord or are they learning that it is okay to use it flippantly as just another phrase? Are they learning to desensitize their ears when they hear the awesome name of God used in conjunction with a curse or profanity? If you don't already have one, may I recommend the TVG box. Any program that is close captioned has every word filtered through this box. When a word that fits one of the many abuses of words comes across the filter (even if it is not necessarily being used in an abusive way), the sound to the TV is automatically muted and a substitute phrase is put on the screen in its place. When Brian and I are anywhere that does not have the TVG box, our spirits cringe when we hear "those" words that we have blocked out. Because it does block out the word "God", when we are watching a Christian program, we sometimes have to turn the box off so we don't miss half of the program. Are our children learning behaviors that do not fit the fruit of the Holy Spirit because they see us push those fruits aside in an effort to satisfy the feelings and desires of our flesh? Are they learning to disregard what God is saying to us through His servants (pastors, Sunday School teachers, elders, deacons, godly Christians) because what they are saying doesn't tickle our ears and will require a change of our actions and/or attitudes?

Reading this one particular verse today made me think about what Addie is learning from me. It made me become extra critical of myself today, not to "be down on myself" but so that I can see what I can improve upon, so that she may learn from Brian and me how to walk in the way of the Lord. There was another father/son duo in the Bible- Asa and Jehoshaphat. And although Asa (the father) was not perfect (God is so good at giving us a balanced picture of our Bible heroes), at the end of Jehoshaphat's life it is said of him that "he walked in the way of his father Asa and did not depart from it, doing right in the sight of the Lord." 2 Chronicles 20:32. That is what I want said of us.


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