You can’t be cute and have Him wonderful at the same time.
That is a statement attributed to a nineteenth century Canadian pastor and theologian, Henry Ironside. And it especially holds true today in a Christian culture where celebrity is king.
In my quiet time this morning, I was reading 2 Chronicles 17 and 18. Jehoshaphat is king of Judah and “sought the God of his father…” As a result of his heart for God, the Lord blessed him with riches and a significant army. And the “fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms around Israel and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.”
“And Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater.”
And therein lies the challenge that accompanies any kind of success… a challenge, it seems, few are able to handle.
By the next chapter, inflated with a sense of his own importance and drunk with success, he enters a marriage alliance with his northern neighbor, King Ahab.
Remember Ahab and Jezebel?
Think golden calf gods in Dan and Bethel, instead of the true worship of God in the one place He chose to put His name. Think hireling priests and corrupted theology. Think thinly veiled God talk; just enough to fool the naïve. Think death threats against the prophets of Jehovah.
And Jehoshaphat enters a marriage alliance with that house?
Is he mad?
No. Just drunk with his own press releases. The blessings of God have actually become a stumbling block and have caused him to stray from the very thing that attracted God’s attention when he first became king. At the beginning of his reign, Jehoshaphat “sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments.”
It reminds me of a similar situation where Samuel challenges Saul’s departure from the ways of the Lord and reminds him that God chose him to be king when he was “little in his own eyes.”
Isn’t that where we all start out? Little in our own eyes?
Seems to me, that is precisely where we have to stay, in order to avoid the enemy’s deception and alliances with the Ahabs and Jezebels of our day. No matter how much success we have, we need to stay little in our own eyes.