The Inevitability of Instability.
“Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah, assassinated him in public, and became the next king.” – 2 Kings 15:10 NLT
When the worship of God takes a back seat, either in the life of an individual or a nation, instability becomes the norm. Without God as the firm foundation upon which to build a life or a nation, everything becomes subject to change without notice. Respect for authority, moral absolutes, love of man, and the fear of God become optional and any sense of continuity and cohesiveness vanishes. From the day that Jeroboam led Israel to separate themselves from Judah, the worship of God had taken a backseat. He had erected idols to replace God and places of worship to substitute for the Temple in Jerusalem. And every king after him followed in his footsteps of rebellion and the rejection of God. In this one chapter we see six different kings reign over Israel in a 42 and a half year time period. In comparison, Uzziah reigned 52 years in Judah. Israel was marked by instability and divisiveness. Of the six kings mentioned in this chapter, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah all have their reigns ended by assassination. Each is characterized as having done evil in the Lord’s sight, and each is killed by his successor. Their reigns were short and ended sadly, and were characterized by a lack of respect and reverence for God.
Interestingly, in Judah you have two kings who reigned during this same time period. One was Uzziah and the other was his son, Jotham. In contrast to the kings of Israel, both Uzziah and Jotham “did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 15:3, 34 NLT). While they were far from perfect or consistent in their faithfulness, they sought to serve God and make Him a high priority in their lives and kingdoms. As a result, their reigns were long and marked by a greater sense of peace and prosperity. Had they both fulfilled God’s command to destroy all the shrines and high places dedicated to the worship of other gods, who knows how their reigns might have gone. But in spite of their inconsistency, they did try to lead their people to remain faithful to God, and as a result, their reigns were marked by a sense of stability.
When we refuse to honor God in our lives, instability is inevitable. We lose our sense of purpose and calling. We leave ourselves open to attack and distraction from the temptations of this world. Godlessness can be just as much a reality for the Christian as it is for the non-Christian. We can live our lives like practical atheists, even though we say we are worshipers of God. If we refuse to listen to Him, seek Him, worship Him, or give Him the honor and respect He deserves and demands, our lives will be marked by a sense of instability and fearfulness. Life will lack meaning and a sense of purpose. Our hard work will become fruitless, our best efforts, futile. Without God at the center of our lives, our lives will lack focus and stability.
Father, help me to keep my life focused on You. I want to keep You at the center of my life and at the heart of my worship. Forgive me for all the times I replace You with other things or other people. I long to establish my life on You – the solid rock. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men