I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of junk mail. Not as much snail mail, but I am amazed at the stuff that shows up in my email (or better yet, my spam box). Information about legal and questionable activities, offers of millions of dollars from an overseas widow wanting to bless me, and a myriad of adventures of all kinds. Some are interesting to peek at, but I have to be resolute to “unsubscribe,” knowing I never signed up for any of them in the first place.
I learned this a long time ago when I mistakenly responded to an offer of a free iPad, and found myself filling out my personal information for the “deal.” Then I noticed an activity bar in the upper part of the browser, indicating the steps left to fulfill before I could claim my new device. With the prompt saying I “was almost done” after answering several layers of questions about my buying interests, age, etc., I grew tired and thought I cancelled out of the deal by closing my browser and quitting the process. I should have known that casually passing on my personal information would have consequences. Sadly, I dealt with a flurry of vouchers, coupon books, and adventure brochures for a few months before I was able to stop the onslaught.
My mom and dad were right. There are consequences for everything we do – not finishing up the lab assignment, being late consistently for my part time job at the campus library, filling out an Internet survey, and making poor moral choices that affect my character and reputation, even my mental capacity…when I feeling crummy about being irresponsible.
Read 2 Kings 20:12-18.
Judah’s King Hezekiah was a good man by most people’s account. But he did something foolish one day and the entire nation of Israel paid for it. Some visiting messengers from Babylon (the soon-to-be world empire) showed up in Jerusalem with a gift for the king after he got over an illness. Hezekiah apparently felt a bit prideful about his recovery and ended up showing the Babylonian delegation around his palace and the nation’s armory of protective weapons. It was too much disclosure to a neighbor, let alone a budding world power.
The prophet Isaiah heard what Hezekiah had done and prophesied that all the riches of Jerusalem would be plundered and carried off to Babylon. Which is exactly what happened! Years later, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, acted on the report of those messengers (i.e, spies), and ordered his army to attack and ransack Jerusalem. They burned the temple and the palace to the ground, and brought back everything of value (including the people, such as Daniel and many promising young people) as trophies of yet another successful campaign (2 Kings 25:8-21). The people of God would be held captive for a long time – all as a result of a boastful and talkative king. It did not help that Hezekiah’s son, Mannaseh, was a bad king, as well as his son, Amon.
What have you done that you are paying for now? How would have knowing the consequences have prevented (or at least slowed down) what you were getting to ready to do?
I have learned that it is not only bad or foolish choices that have consequences. As I sow to the Spirit by reading and feeding on Scripture and humbly dedicating myself to the Lord’s will each day, I can bear fruit that remains. As I cultivate a grateful attitude and trust the Lord to lead me, I find divine resources that enable me to walk in the Spirit. Think theologically. Weigh your words and actions. Then you’ll find yourself making fewer choices that have painful results.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz