Wednesday, June 02, 2010

2010 – June 02 – When Death Is an Honor

Study from God’s Word 1st Kings 13: 33-34, 1st Kings 14: 1 – 18; 2nd Chron. 11: 5 – 12; 2nd Chron. 11: 18-23; 1st Kings 11: 18-23 [2nd Chron. 12: 1, 14]; 1st Kings 14: 25 [2nd Chron. 12: 2-4]; 2nd Chron. 12: 5-8; 1st Kings 14: 26-28 [2nd Chron. 12: 9-11]; 2nd Chron. 12: 12; 1st Kings 14: 30, 15: 6 [2nd Chron. 12: 15b]; 1st Kings 14: 21, 29 [2nd Chron. 12: 13, 15]; 1st Kings 14: 31 [2nd Chron. 12: 16]; 1st Kings 15: 1-2 [2nd Chron. 13: 1-2]; 1st Kings 15: 7b [2nd Chron. 13: 2b, 3]; 2nd Chron. 13: 13-21; 1st Kings 15: 3-5; 1st Kings 15: 7a, 8a [2nd Chron. 13: 22; 14: 1a] … Passage for Reflection: 1st Kings 14: 12 – 13 … NIV 12 "As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

My Journal for Today: Wow! If you were to take the time to look up all the references Dr. F. LaGard Smith has pulled from the parallel passages which I read today from 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles in The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, it would likely take you hours. Yet, in a matter of 15 minutes or so, Dr. Smith’s work allowed me to glean a chronological, biblical history of the downfall of Jeroboam’s life and legacy in the Northern tribes of Israel and Rehoboam’s evil kingship of Judah in the South, including the highlight text from 1st Kings 14: 12-13, which Smith used for today’s devotional. All of this showed me how God scattered the Jews and allowed them to be conquered in Jerusalem by Egypt after the disobedient and evil rules of these two kings; and I am certainly indebted to the work of Dr. Smith by his editing of this Chronological Bible and his devotional book so that I could read about this history and study its application to our lives today.

So, … on to today’s devotional topic, involving death and when it would be considered unjust or premature. Jeroboam was definitely a bad dude as King of Israel; and as we study today’s readings, his son, Abijah, was chronicled as “the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, … found anything good.” So, why would God take or allow Abijah to die?

Have you ever had a loved one who died prematurely or whose death seemed totally unjustified? We read about drive-by shootings where seemingly random bullets kill innocent children. Maybe you’ve had a loved one taken by cancer in the prime of a very productive life. And you probably prayed, “What gives with this, Lord?!!!” And when you hear someone say at a funeral, “God called him home;” does that sometimes make you mad because, in your estimation, God should have spared the loved one who died.

But perhaps we’re not considering or not trusting that God always has HIS REASON for bringing someone into eternity; and yes, when we know, in our hearts, that the death was “too early” or seemingly unjustified from our viewpoint, we may be second-guessing our God, Who has a wonderful and very personal reason for allowing someone to come home “early” or in some inexplicable fashion.

Perhaps it is even an honor that your loved one dies with cancer as a child. Or should we consider that the dying testimony of that loved one will have more impact for God’s kingdom than would be that person’s living witness. I think of the incredible story of Cassie Bernall, who, at age 17 at Columbine High School, was gunned down by a teenage boy who allegedly shot here because she responded, “Yes,” when the boy asked her if she was a Christian. Perhaps, as humans we should remember and trust in the reality that we can never fully know the mind of God (see Isaiah 55: 8-9 - linked). Young Cassie, who was in the prime of her Christian life, might have been honored by God to be taken into His presence with God possibly knowing that I’d be relating her story right here, … and with it being a witness to God’s glory way beyond any witness her life may have afforded if she had lived on as a teenager in Colorado.

So, for those who have grieved over loved ones where our temptation is to say, “Why, Lord;” … let us consider and trust that God ALWAYS knows what is best for our lives, especially when that life is one which glorifies Him with belief and witness for His glory.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You know best; and I trust in Your control of my life and all lives for that matter. Amen

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