Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 10 – 13
Today’s Reflection: 2 Chronicles 12:14
And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
Yes, this text is about yet another king of Israel who turned away from obeying God. 2 Chronicles 12:1 describes Rehoboam as ‘abandoning’ the law of the Lord, and leading all of Israel to do so as well (a pattern likely set by his father Solomon’s turn to idolatry to satisfy pagan wives in his later years). But this text also highlights an interesting aspect of this decision.
The word says, in verse 14, that Rehoboam did evil BECAUSE he did not set his heart to seek after God. This establishes a dichotomy rather than a continuum. We each choose to seek God, or we choose to seek evil. Critically, the decision NOT to choose God is in actuality a decision to choose evil. These are two mutually exclusive categories with no grey area between them. In a training course I recently attended, the facilitator described a similar dichotomy in this way:
Two buckets. No fence.
There is no middle ground here. Most who decide not to choose God’s way don’t regard it as the route to evil. This was the mistake Eve made in mankind’s first sin (Genesis 3). Eating the forbidden fruit didn’t seem evil, but it was the doorway to every evil because it suggested there was an alternative to God’s wisdom that was equal, or even superior, to God’s wisdom. That there was another voice just as authoritative about the affairs of the universe as God’s voice. All efforts to do this are ultimately the work of satan. He presents himself as the alternative to God, as His equal (Isaiah 14:12-14). We have all been created to worship and follow something. We can choose God, or we can choose one of the many false gods in existence, all of which are really just satan in disguise.
The Word does make clear that those who choose to seek after God won’t always act perfectly good, and likewise those who have rejected God most likely won’t behave completely evil. But the choice made will set you on a path, either to becoming perfected in righteousness (2 Peter 1:3-11), or perfectly corrupted in wickedness (James 1:14-15). If you fail to seek after God, your journeying will eventually lead you to kneel at the feet of satan. There is no middle ground. There are no other options.
Romans 6:13, 16 – 13) Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 16) Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?