The young man patted the horse's strong, lean side. Pulling a fig out of his pocket, he held it up for the horse to see. "You want it?" The stallion huff and kicked some dirt up at him. "Then you need to follow me." This was no new tune, and the horse followed easily. He changed the water, and latched the stall door.
"Ah, the king's stallion." He turned to see Zek, an elderly servant coming into the stable. He nodded his head, and checked the water of the mare in the next stall. "The King's morning worship ran long today." Zek said this as an observation more to himself, but it caught his interest.
"The King's morning worship?"
Zek nodded. "Indeed. He goes out into the wilderness to worship Yahweh."
"Why doesn't he just go into the temple? I mean, that's why it was built." That was rather blunt. He looked sheepishly at the floor.
Zek didn't seem to care. His head bobbed again. "That's true, but ever since King Jotham's father was cursed with leprosy when he tried to burn incense to the Lord, King Jotham has been afraid to go into the temple."
He stood there with an empty water pail in his hands. His brow furrowed, taking in Zek's words. "So, that's why he disappears every morning!" He cocked his head to the left. "Why is he spending so much time trying to have the upper gate for the temple built?"
Zek took the empty pail and dunked it into the water trough. "Yes. King Jotham is a good man. He loves the Lord, fears Him, and worships Him. However, he has let his fear keep him from the temple." Zek handed the dripping pail back to him. "That is why he has refused to tear down the high places, so the he and the people could worship Yahweh in safety. But now, some idolatrous people are using those places to worship their false gods." Zek shook his head sadly.
"What will King Jotham do to stop them?"
Zek placed his hand on the young man's shoulders. "I don't know. Our King Jotham is wise and loyal to God, but there is something within him, holding him back from Yahweh."
He nodded. "We must pray for him."
Based on 2 Chronicles 27:2
"Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord according to all that his father Uzziah had done, except he did not enter the temple of the Lord. But the people still followed corrupt practices." 2 Chronicles 27:1-2
Have you ever been on a blind date? I know that took a really bizarre turn, but go with it. I have a point.
So, your sitting there, and your friend is like, "He's really nice, sweet, handsome, and smart. He plays guitar in church every Sunday, and teaches the preschool kids every other Sunday, so he's definitely future father material." She's working really hard to sell the deal, but she gets to that point. The awkward silence hangs there for a couple minutes as you try not to offend her with a blunt no, so you decide to help her out. "But he's what?"
Your friend sighs and says, "But he has a pet cobra that he wears like a scarf... But he doesn't communicate... But he has no sense of humor... But he dissects frogs for a living... But he's likes his hamburgers raw... But he doesn't wear socks with sneakers... But he saves his toe nail clippings in a jar..." A pet peeve you can't live with, a lack of compatibility, or some freaky habit keeps you from spending the rest of your life with this person. The infamous "But," seals the deal.
King Jotham had a "But." He did what was right in God's eyes, and 2 Chronicles 27:6 says, "So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God." However, he would not tear down the high places, so the people continued in their idolatry, AND he wouldn't go into the Lord's temple. He is forever remembered for those things. Instead of being a king who demolished the idolatry, or a king who loved to be in God's presence, he gives the impression of being scared. He would serve God, BUT he's not going to stand up for God.
Think about the rick young ruler who came to Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22. It's the same thing! The young man came to Jesus seeking something more in his walk. Jesus told him to give up all he had, and follow God completely. He could have become a mighty man of faith, BUT this rich man walked away.
What is your "But?" What keeps you from serving God to the fullest? Fear? Doubt? Anger? Love of money?
"Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24
Serve God completely and with your whole heart! Spend your whole life with Him, choosing Him, and serving Him! We can choose to give it all for God, be an example, and leave a legacy. We can choose to hold back, and always be remembered as, "(Your name here), served God mightily, BUT..."
Don't have a "But" on your record!
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