The middle ground is where everyone is the same. But we don’t stay there. Some rise, some sink, some act justly, and some stink. God’s love is always in the middle.
We start and end with two different kinds of rulers today. The one who listens to lies and the one who has compassion on his subjects. The one who listens to lies will be led into wicked ways by his officials. They will entice him into their schemes because he is so willing to believe all they have to say.
Thinking about a king listening to lies brought to mind the story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat as they were considering going to war. Jehoshaphat asked to consult the Lord before heading out to battle. “Sure” says Ahab, and he called 400 prophets. They ALL told him he would prevail. Jehoshaphat though, recognized that these were NOT prophets of God. He asked for one who truly spoke for the Lord. Ahab had Micah brought in. Micah first ‘went along’ with the other prophets but even Ahab recognized that Micah wasn’t being truthful. Once Micah spoke the truth, Ahab dismissed it. Both kings went ahead and went to war, following the lies. Both lost their lives, just as Micah had spoken for God.
I have a question here. WHY would Jehoshaphat insist on hearing from a true prophet of the Lord and then disregard his words? If he wanted the truth so badly, WHY didn’t he heed the warnings of those words?
The second kind of king reminds me of King David. David cared about his people. He started his climb to the throne with the lowest of people. He himself was a shepherd; the bottom rung on society’s ladder. He built his fighting men from those who were rejected by others. And he loved them with his whole heart. When they hurt, he hurt. When he put them in harm’s way, he was right there beside them. They actually had to MAKE him quit fighting alongside them when he was old. They told him kindly that he has lost a step and they were too busy protecting him to be of any good in the battle. David listened and stepped back. Another thing about David was that he didn’t seize the throne. He waited for God and then the people to raise him up. TRUE humility.
Our middle verse brings two absolute opposites together in one place. That ‘place’ is under God’s eye and His gifts that He pours out onto all men. The poor man and the oppressor share in the same gifts from God that the rest of His creation enjoy. The sun, the moon, the stars, the rain, the seasons, the earth itself and all that is within it are shared by ALL, regardless of their ‘direction’ in life. Jesus tells us to love even our enemies, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b). There are times when God withholds the rain but the just and unjust both share in this too. The only time of differentiation on this that I know of is during the plagues of Egypt. After the first few plagues, the people in the land of Goshen didn’t suffer as the rest of Egypt did.
One thing about God sharing all His blessings of creation on ALL men means that man doesn’t have a right to say “I’m the way I am because I NEVER received anything good.” God pours out His love on ALL mankind. Those who refuse to accept it aren’t any offered it any less than those who grab hold with both hands. The decision to embrace what God gives us is ours to make. You can shove His love away or soak it up. It’s your choice. And that choice will color the rest of your life. With that choice also comes relationship with Him. That relationship will buoy you in ANY path your life takes. You are not promised roses and rainbows all the time but you are guaranteed that the One who made both will walk with you wherever you go once you choose Him.
Father God, thank You for the sunshine. Thank You for the snow that scared me as I drove in it today. THANK YOU for keeping me safe in it too. Thank You for my little chickens; even the one who pecked me in the eye. ALL that You make is AMAZING; even the things that are a bit harder to handle. What makes even those worth it is KNOWING that You walk with me even in those times. There is no mountain too high or valley too low that You will not walk with me through them AND bring me growth from the journey. I truly feel for the people that walk these roads alone. Without You to sustain me, I would have folded a LONG TIME AGO!