Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who's Walking with You?

Take a look at these two verses and see if anything jumps out at you;

"Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years of Jehoiada the priest." (2 Chron. 24:2)

"He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success." (2 Chron. 26:5)

These two kings of Judah have something in common. They both started well, and finished poorly. They both intended to follow God, but somewhere along the way they lost their way. And why is that? The answer is contained in these two verses...Jehoida, and Zechariah.

Jehoida and Zechariah were both men of God; one a priest, the other a prophet. Jehoida advised Joash, who became king at the ripe age of 7. As a 7-year old king, it was crucial that he listened to those who knew more than him, and Joash did this in the beginning. Joash was instrumental in rebuilding the temple and re-instituting the tax for those who looked after the temple. But Jehoida was growing old, and died at the age of 130. And it seems that Joash lost his way. In fact, he and the people "abandoned the temple of the Lord" - the very same temple that he had re-built.

Similarly, Uzziah got off to a great start. He was not much older than Joash when he became king...16. As a teenage king, he too needed help and he got it in Zechariah. Uzziah helped expand the kingdom of Judah, taking on the Philistines and Arabs who lived in the land, and oversaw the construction of new gates and towers throughout Jerusalem. In fact, he was doing so well that "...his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful." (26:8)

But then like Joash, it all went wrong.

"But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God..." (26:16).

He stopped listening to Zechariah, stopped following God, and ended up stricken with leprosy, an outcast from the palace and kingdom that God had given him. 

Two men, started well, ended poorly. The key to their success? They both were (at one time) humble enough to allow other men to speak wisdom into their lives, helping to shape their hearts and decisions, and keep them accountable to following God's plan. And it appears that as long as these mentors were given that access, both Joash and Uzziah succeeded. However, the event that signified their departure from God's will and subsequent downfall, was their separation from these mentors.

All of this made me stop to ask myself, who's holding me accountable? Accountable to following God, to being a great father, husband and pastor? Who's helping to shape my decisions and thinking and actions? Have I given anyone in my life access to the innermost parts of my heart, to help mentor me into being the man of God that He designed me to be? I have some mentors, but talk with them far too infrequently...this has to change.

What about you? Who's your Jehoida, your Zechariah? If you don't have one, pray that God would send one your way, and then pray for the humility to accept their wisdom...and hold fast to God.

"He who walks with the wise, grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20)

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