Monday, October 31, 2016

Kill the messenger!

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: 2 Chronicles 24
"You can't handle the truth!"
Well, he's right. We can't and usually don't want the hard truths. That is true often of even otherwise good people. Even if we accepted the truth before, that doesn't mean that the next time a difficult, but honest, word is brought to light, that we won't shrink back from it.
The truth is hard. It continues to be hard. It never softens.
Back in 2 Chronicles 16, we saw an otherwise good king, Asa, reject the hard truth. He had done well as a king up to that time: He listened to the prophet Azariah. He rid the land of as many idols as he could. He repaired the run down Temple of the Lord. He even booted his grandma from her royal position because of her rank idolatry. But when he was later faced with tough words of rebuke from the prophet Hanani, "Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison." (1)
Here, in today's passage, it's more of the same. Joash, King of Judah, also gets off to a promising start. He continues the restoration of the Temple, he decisively makes sure that the necessary funds are collected, and he sees the project completed to the glory of God. But as soon as his main spiritual support, the high priest Jehoiada dies, it seems as if Joash's faith and even common sense goes with him.
Enter the scene ungodly nobles speaking lies. Enter the scene the new priest Zechariah speaking the truth. Guess which side Joash listens to?
Zechariah delivers the cutting word of the Lord, Joash and his cronies meet that with flying stones. Rock beats scissors, Zechariah dies.
That, my friends, is a short history of how humanity likes to deal with truth. Its the old "deny, deny, deny and attack the messenger" defense that we've seen play over and over again in politics, business and every other arena we know. "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (2)
What it really boils down to is Hebrews 4:12: "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
The Word is sharp. It cuts. It prunes. It hurts. Even more, since it's living and active, it always is at work on us. No matter how far we think we've come, no matter how much we think we've done for God, no matter our feelings- the Word slices and dices us as God sees fit. Ouch!
Do I still allow God's Word (aka the truth) to pare and slice and otherwise work on my life?
That's the whole point of today's story: just because I listened to God & His word yesterday, does not mean I'm all set for today. Will I let God have his way in me today? Or will I follow the subtle, yet dangerous path that Joash did? If so, it won't be long until I am trying to kill the messenger as well.
(1) 2 Chronicles 16:10
(2) John 3:19

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