What Lasts

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2 Kings 14:23-24 ESV

There was a plaque in our house when I was growing up. It said, “Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Substitute the word “God” for “Christ,” and that truth applies to the past as well. Nowhere is that more clearly seen than in the Bible’s summary of the reign of Jeroboam ben Joash (Jeroboam II), king of Israel, the northern kingdom. He began to reign about 793 and ruled until 753. From all the evidence, he was a very effective king, humanly speaking. The empire of Assyria which had been quite rapacious during the previous century, had backed off (the influence of Jonah?), and Jeroboam had moved to restore and even expand Israel’s territory (2 Kgs 14:25). Evidently, his reign was a highly prosperous time for Israel, maybe approaching the times of Solomon (see the comments in Amos, who prophesied at this time).

Yet, what does the Bible say about Jeroboam’s forty-year reign? Seven verses! Beyond v. 25 and the statement that what Israel was enjoying was by the grace of God (vv. 26-27), there is nothing more except the standard statements about the records of his reign and his death announcement (vv. 28-29). What is this? Seven verses for forty years?

Will that be the heavenly record of my life, of yours? Humanly speaking, Jeroboam II was a great king, but from God’s point of view, none of those achievements mattered in the end, because none of them were done with the end of pleasing God. All of them were rendered worthless because he did not do the main thing, namely turning his people away from the idolatry that Jeroboam’s namesake, Jeroboam I, had instituted many years before (1 Kgs 12:28-32).

May this not be true for us. Instead of being worth-less, let our lives be worth-y. Perhaps your accomplishments or mine will never make the history books but let them be worthy of pages and pages in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Live for Jesus!

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