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Good Riddance

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2 Chronicles 21:20 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.

1.   He eliminated his family.  We reveal ourselves to the world in the way that we treat our families.

2 Chronicles 21:1 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. [2] Jehoram's brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. [3] Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son. [4] When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father's kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the princes of Israel.

Ultimate betrayal in the place where we are all supposed to be safe and the relationships that should contain the most trust become unsafe.  This offends the sensibilities of people regardless of their station in life.

What can you tell about a man by the way that he treats his family?

You can tell what he would do to you given circumstances that he was not happy with.  You can be sure that he would do the same and more to anyone else.  If a man ignores his responsibilities to his family, he has the potential to ignore any other responsibility.  These are the people who know him best.  The people who love him at his worst moments and are committed to him through it all.

There are certain opportunities that slip by us every day and we will never be able to recapture them.  Their loss merely places us farther away from the place that we would like to be and makes the journey that much more difficult because we are encumbered by the loss of our youth, the chains of habit and life patterns and the onset of rigormortis of the soul.

The real self is best seen by God.  He knows us intimately because he has created us.  He can look behind all the camouflage of character and see us plainly.  There is no point in praying prayers that we don’t mean when we talk to him or in ignoring intensity of our emotions, be they positive and adoring or poisoned and adversarial.  Real prayer is praying what is at the surface of the our secret self and saying the things to God that we dare not say to any other human being on this earth.  When we talk to God like this we enjoy the dialogue and this is where the heart of God is revealed most closely to us.

Secondly we are seen best in our family relationships.  This frightens me to no end because my wife and my children see things about me that I cannot see myself.  They know things about me that I really do not want to hear because they would carry pain.  They have chosen to love me as an imperfect father and an imperfect husband – despite what they do not like.  This love is a type of God’s love.  He plants it in the human heart, artificially inseminated if you will.  If I am willing to hear the truth about myself there are no people on this earth who can better tell me the truth.  If I can hear it and receive it with humility and not retaliate with the pain that the truth brings, I can become better.  As I give the hurt to God and receive the truth I can now see where once I was blind.  If I allow myself the blessing of familial relationship and choose to grow through my vulnerability then I win.  If I enter my family relationships in a protective mode – denying the truth or degrading others to the point that I am their superior or destroying them until they flee then I have lost.

It takes courage to be a parent or to be a spouse.  It is so much easier to just run away or to move from one relationship to another.  With intimacy there is pain.  If you want to be deeply loved then you must be deeply known and when you are known that way you are deeply vulnerable.

What kind of commitment must two people have to marriage if it is to endure?

2.   He was estranged from God.  Every choice you make in life is an important one – some are more important than others.

 [5] Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. [6] He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. [7] Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.

Due to either a deliberate choice to disobey God which is rebellion or the consequence of a careless choice, we still find ourselves in positions where we are at variance with God’s will for our lives.  In this position we may not be in peril related to our relationship but at the very least we are in a spiritual wasteland where we have cut off supernatural supply lines.  In this state of self-imposed siege it is only a matter of time before the enemy prevails.

The teachings of Christ reveal him to be a realist in the finest meaning of that word. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find anything visionary or overoptimistic. He told his hearers the whole truth and let them make up their minds. He might grieve over the retreating form of an inquirer who could not face up to the truth, but he never ran after him to try to win him with rosy promises. He would have men follow him, knowing the cost, or he would let them go their ways.

  

  1. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Ø      Our choices bring us closer to God or potentially further from Him.

Ø      They make us more readily available or they complicate the process of God being able to “activate” us in His service.

Ø      They bring Him glory or they serve our own interests

3.   He refused to face his “situations”.  Running away is habit forming.

[8] In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. [9] So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. [10] To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.

How do I responsibly deal with things that are my responsibility that begin to spin out of control?

Ø      It requires more than “showing up” although that is somewhat commendable.

Ø      First reactions to “fight” or “flight” are detrimental.

Ø      Often people’s reactions to us tell us of their insecurity.

Ø      Other times they are a reflection of our approach to them.

4.   He misled others.  We have an inescapable responsibility to others.

Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the LORD, the God of his fathers. [11] He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.

Deception can easily result in a surprise ending:

            Shed a tear for Jimmy Brown

                Poor Jimmy is no more

            For what he thought was H2O

                           Was H2SO4.

IF I WERE THE DEVIL by Paul Harvey

"If I were the Devil I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, nstead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a law suit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young;

I would get sports heroes to take on the job to advertise them;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family, the backbone of any nation;

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable.....If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would try to convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are."

"Paul Harvey.............Good Day."

5.   He lost a prophetic endorsement.  Let’s not alienate friends.

[12] Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said:

 

"This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: `You have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. [13] But you have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your father's house, men who were better than you. [14] So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. [15] You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.' "

6.   His enemies were in control.  They didn’t need to conquer a king who was helpless already.  Everything that they had was his.

When we are dominated in life by our enemies we bring turmoil; into the lives of our families and others who look to us for leadership.

[16] The LORD aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. [17] They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king's palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest.

Harry Houdini, the famed escape artist from a few years back, issued a challenge wherever he went. He could be locked in any jail cell in the country, he claimed, and set himself free in short order. Always he kept his promise, but one time something went wrong. Houdini entered the jail in his street clothes; the heavy, metal doors clanged shut behind him. He took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, strong and flexible. He set to work immediately, but something seemed to be unusual about this lock. For thirty minutes he worked and got nowhere. An hour passed, and still he had not opened the door. By now he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. Finally, after laboring for two hours, Harry Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure against the door he could not unlock. But when he fell against the door, it swung open! It had never been locked at all! But in his mind it was locked, and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of the jail cell.  - Zig Ziglar

7.   His world fell apart – so did he.  Life has a way of “catching up” with us. Ultimately we pay a price, one way or the other.  We all face God on equal footing.

[18] After all this, the LORD afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. [19] In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no fire in his honor, as they had for his fathers.

Strong families are deeply committed to promoting each others' happiness and welfare.  They are also committed to the family group which is reflected in the amount of time and energy they invest there. When life gets too hectic, strong families sit down and eliminate some activities and involvements so that their family relationships and lives can be happier and more satisfying.  When was the last time your family had an "elimination" session?

n      Dads Only, August 1985

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