Thursday, October 23, 2008

The wise use of influence

I have been reading through the Old Testament again.  As I read the story of Hezekiah yesterday, I came across these verses:

2Ch 30:1, 5-6
(1)  Then Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah, with personal letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to The Temple of GOD in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Israel's God...
(5)  and they sent out the invitation from one end of the country to the other, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north: "Come and celebrate the Passover to Israel's God in Jerusalem." No one living had ever celebrated it properly.
(6)  The king gave the orders, and the couriers delivered the invitations from the king and his leaders throughout Israel and Judah...

Here we see the king of the nation of Judah (which was divided from the nation of Israel at this time).  He decided that he (and his nation) would return to God wholeheartedly.  That in itself if a lot to try to accomplish, since his father had boarded up the Temple of God in Jerusalem.

He was zealous to draw Israel back to its roots as well.  And so he decided to use his god-given influence wisely: He called the people of Israel to return to God along with the people of Judah. (Notice how he referred to God as "Israel's God.")  He sent messengers all throughout the nation of Israel, encouraging them to join him in celebrating the Passover feast, something that had not been done since Solomon's time.

It made me think about our lives.  Everyday people leverage influence in the business world, school, society, etc.  They use it to get ahead in the world, to win acclaim for themselves or their cause.

Here we see a man that leveraged his influence to bring people back to their God.  He wasn't ashamed or afraid to call for a response in people over which he had no authority.  And although it wasn't totally successful, it did make a difference.

We need to pray for wisdom in the use of the influence God gives each one of us.  And that we'll make wise choices that increase this influence.

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