Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fear, the Truth and What's Under the Rug?

Ask yourself this question: What are you afraid of?

 Do you ever fear the truth?  Perhaps it's the truth you know about yourself deep down inside.   Perhaps it is the fear of truth of what you know that you fear.  The truth, however, is like a buoy.  We can push it, fight it, sit on it and try our very best to submerge the buoy into the depths of the water.  But you know what happens.  The buoy always finds it's way to the surface --and so does the truth.

So why do we fear truth about ourselves?  I think it is because acknowledgement of the truth instigates the thought that a change must occur.  Let's face it, not a lot of us are change adept.  Change can be a scary thing.   Change = work, usually. 

So why do we fear truth about others?  We have to ask ourselves, ultimately not what we fear but rather who?  Who do you answer to?  Do we fear men or do we fear God?  When a truth has been exposed and revealed to you, what do you do with it?  What happens when a large pile of truth is lying right in front of you?  Do you prayerfully consider the Scripture's instruction on such matters [Ephesians 4:25] [2 Timothy 2:25][Proverbs 24:24-25] and speak the truth or do you attempt to drown the buoy? 

And why not speak the truth?  Because we fear the wrong people.  If we speak with the knowledge of God's blessing and his clear instruction, there is nothing to fear.  We can pull down the veil with confidence.  It's scary, isn't it?  The thought of confrontation.  The thought that we would make ourselves and/or others uncomfortable to introduce the truth.

In the days of Isaiah, there reigned King Uzziah.  His reign lasted for fifty two years.  As long as King Uzziah sought the Lord, his work was blessed.  He received instruction from the prophet Zechariah, who instilled in him the fear of God.  The king grew very powerful under the Lord's blessing but eventually he became prideful.  In fact, King Uzziah was confronted by the truth of his arrogance by the Priests in the temple and just as the king fought back in rage, leprosy broke out on his forehead.  Scripture states that it was the Lord who inflicted the disease.  There in lies the beginning of King Uzziah's end.  He died isolated and ostracized.  I love how the Priests knew they were chastising a king - a dangerous thing to do - and yet they stood firm knowing the king was way out of line and even though the king did not receive their instruction, God took care of business.  Who knows if King Uzziah had just accepted the word the Priests gave him if things would have been different for him.

His son, Jotham, began his reign thereafter.  King Jotham was a man devout in his faith in the Lord. He grew powerful because of his love and faithfulness to God. But King Jotham ruled in a time where many corrupt practices were being exercised by the pagan culture.  Although the king saw to it that the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord was rebuilt, he failed to remove the high places where the pagans carried on their worship of their gods.  He could have, after all he was the king.  But he didn't.  I imagine King Jotham walked lightly, careful to be politically correct and felt the need to please all the people of his kingdom.  A fine example of who he feared - not God, but man.  Had he truly feared God, he would have seen to it that the pagan worship places would be demolished.  Perhaps had the king feared the Lord, his reign might have been extended as long as his father's fifty two years.  However, King Jotham sat on his throne but for a short sixteen years instead. 

His son and successor,  King Ahaz, was a man who practiced evil ways and turned his face from the Lord, reigned for only sixteen years as well.  But his son and successor, King Hezekiah was by far not perfect, but provides us some good examples of how to handle all of the above.  In the first month he began his rule, Hezekiah repaired and restored the temple of the Lord his father, Ahaz, had left in shambles following his reign. King Hezekiah abolished all the pagan god worship places and plead with his people to turn from their false gods to worship and serve his God, the God of Israel.  He did not care to bow to public opinion.  He knew on what ground to stand.  When Hezekiah felt threatened by the king of Assyria and his minions, he joined the prophet, Isaiah, in calling out to the Lord in fear, for rescue and yes, you guessed it - The Lord rescued King Hezekiah and his people.  Now Hezekiah faltered later in his life when his heart became proud and eroded into his common sense.  Hezekiah would not even live to see how his prideful nature would effect his own ancestors in years to come.  And there is Isaiah, in the mix of it all, informing the King Hezekiah of God's truth all over the place.

We may not be kings by any stretch of the imagination.  But if you are a believer and follower of Christ you have two great responsibilities equivocal to a king: Build the Kingdom and keep the sheep clean.  Because my friends, if we don't reveal and stand for the truth, we are just as guilty as those who dirty the sheep in the first place. So if there is a truth or two that needs to replace the secrets and lies buried under the carpet, ask God what he would have you do with it.

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