Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Live Well by Listening Well...

In 2 Kings, chapter 12, we find the story of Joash the boy king. He came to power at seven years of age in a tumultuous time in Judah's history. At the death of his father, Ahaziah, his grandmother, Athaliah took advantage of the vacant throne and had all the sons of Ahaziah (her own grandchildren) put to death in order for her to claim the throne. She ruled six years while the remaining heir, Joash, was hidden in the temple and raised/protected by his aunt and the priests.

When Joash was publicly revealed and Athalia overthrown, he began his rule. At the beginning of his rule, he was instructed and led by Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada instructed and guided Joash in the ways of God and the Bible says that Joash, "did what was right in the Lord's sight."

Many good things happened in his early years. The kingdom was strengthened. The temple was repaired. The nation regained its prominence. Everything went well as long as Joash listened to the word of the Lord through Jehoiada.

However, Jehoiada grew old and died. With Jehoiada gone, Joash began to fall away from God. He abandoned the temple of God and began serving the Asherah poles and idols. God's wrath returned to Jerusalem and God sent the prophet Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, to call Joash and the people back to God. Then the Bible tells us, "King Joash didn't remember the kindness that Zechariah's father Jehoiada had extended to him, but killed his son..." (2 Chronicles 25:22). In the end, Joash, in an untimely way, is wounded in battle and then assassinated by his own 'loyal' servants. Sad.

I have often experienced that I tend to live better when I listen better. God places wise guides in my life from people to His inspired Word, the Bible. When I spend time listening to God through their counsel, I find myself walking God's path instead of one contrived in my own power.

I also find that cultivating the art of listening for God has its practical rewards in life as well. Foster says that, "We are to live in a perpetual inward, listening silence so that God is the source of our words and actions. If we are accustomed to carrying out the business of our lives in human strength and wisdom, we will do the same in worship..." We also will tend to not trust in the Lord and we will tend to lean towards our own understanding.

I pray today that I will not run ahead or run behind God but take time in every moment to listen for His wise counsel and His Word for my life. I pray then that I will have the wisdom and courage to follow whatever His prompting.

To hear...to obey...

It could be an interesting day!

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