Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Are What You Allow

Sandwiched in Judah between Uzziah and Ahaz is Jotham, tucked away for 16 years in 2 Kings 15:32-38 and 2 Chronicles 27.   2 Kings 15:34 says "he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD."  He did right.  Case closed, right?  No.  Doing right isn't all there is to it, that is, when you are the leader.

Judah received 1 and 2 Kings as a sermon in her Babylonian captivity, explaining how it was she got there.  1 and 2 Chronicles gave hope to post-exilic Israel for her future.  So you are in exile in Babylon, reading the trajectory toward defeat and humiliation.  What part does Jotham play?  He did what was right.  So he did not at all advance the slide toward ejection from the land of blessing?   You read his part and you understand his role in your unfavorable circumstances.  It wasn't what Jotham did, but what he allowed.

Jotham did right.  Jotham defeated the Ammonites.  Jotham rebuilt the temple gate.  Jotham built fortresses of defense against Judah's enemies.  He did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.  It wasn't what Jotham did.  It was what he allowed.  When you are leader, you are responsible for not just what you've done, but also  what you allow.

What did Jotham allow?  He allowed worship in the high places.  He allowed the people of Judah to do corruptly.  What he allowed resulted in the Lord sending Israel and Syria against Judah.   Because of what he allowed, he produced an Ahaz, a son who witnessed this compromise and who didn't do that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

In Isaiah 6:1, King Uzziah died, Jehovah sent Isaiah to a hard hearted people, who wouldn't listen to God's man.  Jotham allowed this.  So Isaiah 7 starts with Ahaz and God's warning to him through Isaiah.

The point is, you are what you allow.  You aren't just what you do.  If you allowed it, you as much as did it. Allowing it doesn't mean that you can stop everything from happening, but it does mean that you will go about making sure it doesn't happen again.  You certainly won't disapprove of it by inviting it to be with you.

You can write a book against the Charismatics, but when you honor the continuationists by inviting them in to preach for you, you are what you allow.  You can decry the horrible results of amillennialism, and say that the Bible is perspicuous in how everything will end, but when you honor the amillennialists by having them preach for you, you are what you allow.  You can preach against the rock-star pastors and the rock concert "events" they produce, but when you allow one of your own, you are what you allow.  You can write against the reckless, young pastors with their sex messages and hyper-emphasis on relevance, but when the men you honor invite them and honor them in public, and you say nothing about the men who honor them and do nothing about that, you are what you allow.  You can say you are for modest dress, but if you allow immodest dress in your church, you are what you allow.

I think that some of the conservative evangelical pastors and preachers, well-known ones, do right.  I'm talking about somebody like John MacArthur and all those in his orbit.  They have much righteous conduct themselves and even preach many, many right and good things.  That's not the problem.  Their issue is the same one Jotham had.   What they allow is who they are.

The captives in Babylon read about Jotham and they knew.  There is a unique responsibility for the one who does right but allows wrong.   You are what you allow.  And what Jotham allowed was an important reason why Judah was marched out of the land in 586BC.


Bobby said...

I heard someone say, "You don't get what you expect. You don't get what you inspect. You get what you accept."

When I read and study the Bible and then see what Evangelical and Fundamentalists pastors accept today, I am alarmed. If it bothers me this much, I cannot conceive of what it does to our holy God.

Gary Webb said...

Right now the great, winning basketball coaches across America are training, drilling, and putting high pressure upon their 18-22 year old players to do things exactly like the coach wants them done. When, in a game, things are not done by the players like they ought to be done, those coaches go ballistic, sometimes jerking their best players out of the game to make the point that it must be done the way the coach has taught. In our area, Coach K at Duke & Roy Williams at UNC are not known to be very patient & "accepting" when things are not done they way they want it to be done. They are hard on everybody - players, assistant coaches, fans, even the administration - but they get compliance, & the result is that they have winning programs. We have the very Word of God with exact teaching about how things are to be done, but pastors & churches are too often willing to "accept" whatever comes along. Of course, we all have to grow, & we must do things in the power of the Holy Spirit, but we should be laboring to follow exactly what the Bible teaches.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks friends. Good comments.