From undeniable darkness into the undefined light
It must have been a terribly hard decision for them and their families.
Thousands of ministers from around the country had seen their national leaders defiantly reject God’s authority and pattern for worship. They had seen those who condoned immorality and self-adoration while embracing the worship of political power and things made with human hands.
The faithful ministers knew that the new regime didn’t want them around. They also were disgusted by the popular and official approval given to religious leaders who condoned rampant, public sin and the worship of golden idols.
The efforts to dissuade the masses from the rush to sin had been met with blasphemous words and attitudes toward God and toward the faithful ministers.
It was clear that the hardhearted crew was not going to change, at least through the efforts of the faithful.
Should the faithful stay and live in the cesspool of hatred and decadence?
Or should they leave, forfeiting their farms, their side businesses, their friendships, their established routines?
What would you do?
The book of 2 Chronicles describes this situation in chapter 11. Read in the larger context, you’ll see how it plays out.
“The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him (Rehoboam). The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD. And he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made.
“Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.”
It’s interesting to note that the priests and the Levites didn’t have a much better option to which they could go.
Scripture is clear that King Rehoboam of the Southern Kingdom was a scoundrel, just as was Jeroboam, king of the Northern Kingdom.
The point is that the faithful ministers didn’t leave because life was going to be smooth sailing in the south.
Instead, they and the faithful within their congregations left behind countless amounts of real estate wealth and business opportunity simply because they could accomplish more for the Kingdom of God where there was still at least some measure of receptive soil for their seeds of scriptural teaching.
It was about stewardship, really.
The faithful ministers went where they believed that they could accomplish more for God.
Many of you reading this devotion can relate in some sense to this story.
In a way, it might describe a workplace situation that you faced and which you left because of blasphemous attitudes that developed. You lost out financially because of your choice, but you recognized your responsibility to be where you could do more good for the Kingdom.
Perhaps your situation involved a change of neighborhoods after seeming “filth factories” moved in all around your house and your efforts to shine the light of faith toward the newbies was met not with indifference but with blunt animosity bent on destroying your sense of well-being and even your faith.
Perhaps you watched with great pain how “a new Pharoah” gained influence within your congregation and pumped spiritual poison into life after life and even the leadership was caught up in the decay of faith.
As happens far too many times in churches, Jesus was evicted as Lord — other than in word — and personal agendas reigned supreme. Those who asked, “Hey, but what about the Bible’s teaching on this?” were seen as troublemakers rocking the boat and were tossed over the side socially and in an influence sense.
The above three situations are desperately unpleasing. Yet, God often leads people to different jobs or different neighborhoods or different congregations just so they can regain more productivity for Him.
At such times, the faithful are not abandoning their mission for the sake of an easy way out.
Instead, they are accepting a new assignment to a place with more opportunity.
During my years in ministry, I’ve tried my best to stay put in a ministry for however long wanted me there. It has been really tough to do so at times because of the challenges I faced of various sorts.
I never wanted to leave simply because things got tough.
Instead, I left when God concurrently opened one door while closing another.
It was all about stewardship, not comfort zone.
From a career-progression perspective alone, my philosophy has limited the growth of earthly status among the preacher crew.
But from an integrity status, I have peace with my pattern of staying put — even in difficulties — until it is crystal clear to me that God has opened a door elsewhere for me to accomplish more for Him.
If you’re facing a difficult situation just now, please pray earnestly that God show you His will for your life, whether it be hanging tough where you’re at as He works through you to change hearts OR in hanging your banner of faith in a different place where all the hearts are not yet hardened and gospel seeds land on soil, not concrete.
One other thing. Please pray that our nation turns from its current path of decaying faith, particularly at a national leadership level.
I really don’t want to think about having to do the 2 Chronicles 11 thing. But if that is how He leads, then that is what I’ll do. I pray that you choose the same.
As always, I love you
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