Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Relief Well

Our staff has been reading through the books of I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles recently. A recurring theme in I and II Kings is how often the king in authority at any particular time is either following God “doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord” or is evil and continues to commit all the sins his father before him had done. In I Kings 15:11, we read that Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, and yet he did not remove the high places [of idol worship]. He cleared the land of male shrine prostitutes and the idols and even deposed his grandmother because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole, and then destroyed it. Verse 14 says that "Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life." We know that some high places were previously used for pagan worship, so the Israelites were forbidden to use them.

So why does someone who is fully committed to the Lord continue to allow little areas of disobedience to exist? Why would a king, who has all authority over his people, not just “man up” and do the right thing? Especially one who was fully committed to the Lord all his life? Here was a king who had an opportunity to set things right again. Don’t we elect Godly people into political office expecting the same thing? But then I look into my own life and I see my personal high places to.

Most of our readers are aware of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that has affected our state, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and now Texas. Devastating may not even fully describe it. The trickle down effect of the oil spill reaches our economy, our property values, our water, our wild life and the food chain. Not just a domino effect, but more like endless bags of marbles that are continually dropped down a staircase and scatter everywhere.

Michael Kunzelman of The Associated Press recently wrote in The Birmingham News that “The relief well is considered the best hope of halting the crude that has been gushing since April 20 in the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. History.” Well, I think that crude is a good word here to compare to the behaviors, decisions and choices in our life that keep us from not only living an abundant life in Christ, but create havoc on future generations as well. Whether they are a result of accidents, mishaps, bad judgment, laziness, deceit, evil, anger, pride, or whatever, the “crude” results rarely only affect us individually, but also those around us and future generations.

The good news is that we have our very own relief well. His name is Jesus Christ. John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the way, and the truth and the life; that no one comes to the Father except through Him. It is through Him that we find refuge, peace, strength, love, compassion, forgiveness, deliverance, grace, among other things. If we revisit the verse, and focus on the word “Although” we are comforted that this King who was fully committed to the Lord, was not perfect, yet his life was a blessing. Ah...grace...that abundant grace, that He provides us.

It’s the desire of my heart to live in such a way that my behavior does not negatively impact others but instead bears much fruit, showing myself to be His disciple. I pray that my own descendants remember me as a woman after God’s own heart and that they will desire to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, no matter what “crude effects” come their way.

II Chronicles 7:14 says it best: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and return from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Karen Ely
Domestic Social Worker

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