It was a sad way to go for King Jehoram – but it happens. It must be a lonely departure. Those last few hours as the body succumbs to death. The room is empty except for family. The body is prepared for burial. The program for the funeral is drawn up. The service is conducted. The burial occurs, and people walk away thinking about their ‘to do’ list for tomorrow. Only a handful of relatives are wiping tears away; no one else really cares all that much.
Some phrases or verses almost jump off the page when you read them. As you go through the Old Testament and read mostly the sad tales of promising kings who failed and spiraled morally and spiritually downward, you become accustomed to the story line. Start off good – lousy finish. But the closing commentary on King Jehoram’s life gives you a jolt and you go back and re-read the verses to see what kind of a man he really was.
Here’s what hits you between the eyes when the closing words about King Jehoram’s life are read:
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2Chronicles 21:20
No one was sorry to see him go. No one sobbed that he was gone. No one wondered who would ever fill the vacuum he left. No one lamented that his shoes were too big for anyone to fill afterwards. No one said: “Oh how I wish he could have lived for another 40 years. His life was so short.” No one sat in their chariot reluctant to leave the cemetery, remembering the outstanding improvements he brought to their life. No one reached down to select a rose from the flowers as a final cherished possession to be preserved in honor of one they loved. He departed without being regretted. Nobody cried. It seems they breathed a sigh of relief – finally, he’s gone.
Sounds extreme but then again, you live with the consequences of the choices you make in life and you die with them as well.
Had King Jehoram led the people to new heights as a nation, there would have been some tears. Had he brought smiles of joy to their faces and gladness in their hearts, over the great God of Judah and Israel, there would have been sobs at his funeral. Had he helped, counseled and nourished the people he led, there would have been standing-room-only in the church for his funeral service. Had he shown generosity and kindness to the downtrodden, the poor would have crowded around the grave and hugged each other in their sorrow.
If I live a self-centered and selfish life what will happen? Oh yes, people will dutifully show up at my funeral – more for the family’s sake, than for mine. There will still be a eulogy – but it will be hollow. People will dig deep to think of one nice thing they can remember about me; but – remember, they had to dig deep to find something appropriate to say to my family. My favorite hymns will be sung, and I will get a decent burial – but is that it?
You have one life to live. The Lord left you on this planet for a purpose. He intends for you to make your positive mark. He wants you to have an impact for Himself. You are one of His representatives down here. Don’t grovel in the dirt. Don’t grow nasty in negativity. Don’t be a bitter, belligerent bickerer. Don’t be an arrogant polarizer, or a dogmatic troublemaker or act as the lone-defender of the faith.
Humbly be who God wants you to be. Do what God wants you to do. If you give Him the steering wheel of your life and the gas pedal too, He will ensure that your life will be eternally significant.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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