God–Please Do Something
I praise You, Heavenly Father. You meet all my needs. You are perfect love, perfect joy and perfect peace.
Read 1 KINGS 16:23-34
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide; / The darkness thickens, Lord, with me abide” (H. F. Lyte, 1793-1847). When I was young, I recall singing these words in church. The dark times of Omri/Ahab are still with us today.
What time is it in my life, in my society? Today’s reading describes 34 (12+22) years of downward spiral in Israel. How were things with me 34 years ago–and in which direction(s) have I gone since then?
Skipping over the extreme internal instability of Israel’s last four kings (two assassinated; one suicide) we arrive (only just–21,22!) at Omri, but he is no better, and his son Ahab is worse. Micah 6:16 is an ominous summary–“What Omri decreed, his son Ahab carried out.” Despite the fact that Omri was one of the few kings significant enough to surface in contemporary Moabite and Assyrian records, the verdict of Kings is brief and brusque: he was the worst king yet, leading the people to provoke the Lord with–“their rubbishes” (26, literally). Ahab was worse still: “He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam…”? the narrator asks in critical astonishment. And Jezebel was worse still. Why doesn’t God do something? I puzzle over the cryptic reference to Hiel and his sons Abiram and Segub, referring back to Joshua 6:26. On the one hand it suggests that Israel had descended to child sacrifice, but on the other hand these terrible actions unwittingly bear witness to the fact that the Lord’s prophecies will come true. Another prophet–the greatest of all prophets until John the Baptist–is just about to appear over the horizon.
I ponder my own society and nation. The post-Christian West seems to be descending into a hole–Christophobia, demographic suicide, democratic anorexia. Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1980-2008) parsed the rage of self-mutilation in Europe in the twentieth century with the unforgettable phrase, “Men have forgotten God.” I pray for the Light–and my light–to shine steadily.
Reflect on this telling comment about Omri: “He…considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam…” (31). Is sin trivialized today in our churches? Our society? In your life?
Lord, I am reminded that sin is a serious matter to You. Forgive me for my adjustments to sin in my life. Heighten my sensitivity to sin, and strengthen my resolve to walk with You.