Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 30 May 21:
1 Kings 15:23 – “Now the rest of [his] acts, all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?”
How do you measure life success? What will be your legacy? For what do you want to be remembered, and what contribution will you leave behind? Consider how the Bible records the legacies of the kings about which we read today:
- Abijam: “And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father…. The rest of the acts of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?” (1 Kings 15:3, 7)
- Asa: “And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done…. the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days…. Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?” (1 Kings 15:11, 14, 23)
- Nadab: “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin…. Now the rest of the acts of Nadab and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” (1 Kings 15:26, 31)
- Baasha: “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin…. Now the rest of the acts of Baasha and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” (1 Kings 15:34, 16:5)
- Elah: “When he was at Tirzah, drinking himself drunk… Zimri came in and struck him down and killed him… for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel to sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Elah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” (1 Kings 16:9, 10, 13, 14)
- Zimri: “When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire and died, because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for his sin which he committed, making Israel to sin. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy that he made, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” (1 Kings 16:18-29)
- Omri: “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him…. Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the might that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” (1 Kings 16:25, 27)
- Ahab: “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him…. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:30, 33)
Notice that the measure of life success is fidelity to God, as viewed by God (“in the sight of the Lord”), rather than by worldly accomplishments, “the rest of the acts.” Legacy is measured by the example of faith and fidelity (or lack thereof) passed down to the succeeding generations – “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done.” When Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous,” it speaks to the imperishable riches of knowing God – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal…. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:19, 20, 33)
- Psalm 61:5 — For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
- Psalm 145:4 — One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
- Psalm 102:18 — Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
- Psalm 71:18 — So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
- Proverbs 4:10-27 — Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.
- Proverbs 22:6 — Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Deuteronomy 4:9 — “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
- 2 Timothy 1:5 — I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
Among the kings mentioned today, only Asa was accredited with doing what was right in the sight of the Lord (though he was far from perfect). An important point here is that, in order to step up and out in faith, Asa had to break the cycle of sin within his own family and challenge the traditional sins of his community – “He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.” (1 Kings 15:12, 13) It takes great courage and commitment to be a leader in faith and fidelity in order to bring glory God, and it may even cost you important relationships. True leaders live “Semper Fidelis Coram Deo” – “Always Faithful Before the Face of God,” regardless of what others might think, say, or do.
What will be your legacy?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 30 May 21: Today, write down a few lines, like we read about the kings today, describing how you would like to be remembered “in the sight of the Lord.” Write your epitaph, what you want said on your tombstone. Finally, imagine someone from all aspects of your life (family, friends, work, church, community, etc.) speaking at your funeral; what would you like them to be able to say honestly about you? Endeavor today to walk Semper Fidelis Coram Deo and be the person people will remember as a leader in faith and fidelity who led others to Jesus Christ. Remember, as stated previously, leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way, and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! Know Jesus; show Jesus; and go with Jesus. Make knowing Him and making Him known your legacy.