Lesson 1 -- fourth quarter 1996
September 1, 1996
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
Must I ditch all other allegiances to serve the Lord?
I don't have the generational heritage that Hezekiah had!
Begin this quarter with an inventory. Take an unflinching look at yourself with the purpose of counting a few things. You may need to do a little hunting, so scrounge high and scrounge low. Don't forget that dark corner or that secret little nook! I encourage you to track down and itemize your allegiances. I'll illustrate from my own life.
First in my life is the Lord. Then comes Ruby (she's my wife, you know!), followed by LaVay, Russell, Dora, Michayla and Andrew. Then come my parents and my father-in-law, my sister, my sister-in-law and my two brothers-in-law, and my nieces and nephews. To this list I add other family and friends, the church to which I belong and the school where I teach, plus some of my pet projects.
Does cleaving to God mean I should deny all other allegiances? Not at all. My first-place commitment to the Lord helps me determine which other allegiances to maintain or develop...or discard. Furthermore, that #1 allegiance enhances all my other relationships and allegiances.
Did you notice discard in the previous paragraph? I didn't mention all my allegiances. I have an almost-unshakable commitment to Mark Roth. And his image. And his agenda. And his pleasure. And his.... Just this week I had to decide whether to be a teacher or a missionary. Can you believe that this thought slinked through my mind: "In Mexico there is so much discomfort and inconvenience; I like it too much here in Oregon"? Shocking? Hardly. Look, I don't gain much by denying the existence of my fleshly allegiances; however, I gain much by discarding them when they have the gall to show their ugly faces. Oh, by the way, I decided against going to Mexico, but on the dual basis of allegiance to God's ways and to our extended family.
So, Hezekiah "did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did." Maybe Hezekiah's "advantage" has been denied you. Perhaps your father wants nothing to do with God . . . or maybe he wants nothing to do with you. Perhaps your father is on the outs with the church . . . maybe even with society. Perhaps you have never seen your father, because he died or because he took off. Perhaps you rarely see him because he is too busy with his job or with his own life . . . or with the church. "Of course Hezekiah could do what was right in the Lord's sight!"
I'll grant you that some (many?) fathers do little to give their children an imitable model of godliness. I'll even grant you that your father may be one of those. Down through the ages, many children have had to cope with a godless heritage. And down through the ages, God's grace has established a Godly heritage for those who purpose to trust in the Lord, cleaving to Him and keeping His commandments. Though you don't have a goodly heritage through your human family lines, you have an incomparable heritage through your spiritual family ties! And this makes it possible for you to replace the heathen heritage destined for your children with a new Godly heritage! Don't mope, move! Don't be undermined by your old heritage; be determined to build a new one!
Return to Sunday School Comments index