2 Chronicles 21-24, Psalm 76
I can't find the story, but I believe it was Chuck Swindoll who told the story of a son who was afraid to go through all of the personal belongings of his father after his sudden death. His father had lived a godly life and always served as a wonderful example as God's servant. But now he found himself in possession of letters, a diary, his checkbook and other personal items which revealed the secret life of his father. He delayed examining them for fear that his view of his father might change. When he finally went through them, it revealed to his relief, that his father's private life matched his public life. Many of us don't know when we are going to die, but like the father in this story would we pass this same test. Do we stay strong to the end, or do we lose our focus on God over time? Does our personal life match our public display? Jesus says in Matthew 10:26, "Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known."
We see expected endings for some of the kings of Judah, those that did good are celebrated like Jehoshaphat, others like evil Jehoram we read in 2 Chr 21:20, "...He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one's sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings." We read of Jehoiada the priest in 24:16, "And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and His house." Joash is a disappointing story. He started out so strong under the direction of Jehoiada, serving God mightily. But once Jehoiada died, he completely lost direction. He is challenged by Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who was filled with the Spirit of God and said in 2 Chr 24:20, "...Thus says God: 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.' ". Joash in the following verses had Zechariah killed, and we read in verse 25 that Joash also killed the other sons of Jehoiada. In his death, despite his great start, he is killed by his own servants and was not even buried in the tombs of the kings.
At the end of Joshua's life he says to the people in Joshua 24:15, " And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,...But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." We have to all ask ourselves the question, what will be our legacy. Are our lives filled with peaks and valleys in our walk, or in this dynamic walk with God are we steadily moving forward. Are there skeletons in our closet that we wouldn't want our loved ones to find, somehow thinking that God doesn't see them. Many live lives thinking they have no effect on the next generation. I see so many couples in my practice who are moving towards divorce, but "hold it together until their kids are in college" thinking that then it won't matter or that they will understand the sacrifice they have made those years before the divorce. No matter what we have done, God can forgive us if we repent. Though there are earthly consequences for our actions, we can reverse course and live a God honoring life to the end. May we be able to say as Paul did at the end of his life in 2 Timothy 4:6-7, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: