When we see those whom we love heading down a wrong path, are we to stand by? It hardly ever works to use power to correct behaviour, and so what influence and modeling and persuasive example can we offer those around us to attract them to a better way?
1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
5 The Lord afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house. Jotham the king’s son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
Azariah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet he left high places in the land and the people continued to worship idols, offering sacrifices and burning incense at these shrines. When a leader sees what is wrong, what obligation is there to step in? Azariah was on the Lord’s side. He served God and pleased God personally. Yet his subjects were still going their own ways.
What is a king to do? What is a leader to do? What is a parent to do? What is a spouse to do? When we see those whom we love and those for whom we are responsible heading down a wrong path, are we to stand by?
King Azariah was in good relationship with God himself, yet he let the people continue in their ways. God obviously did not view his inaction to be enough. The Lord inflicted Azariah with leprosy, which he had until the day he died. It appears that God expected more from Azariah.
Not on my watch. Is that the expectation? As king, Azariah had power to disallow practices through laws in his kingdom. We can’t always use power to correct behaviour. I have found, actually, that we can hardly ever use power to correct behaviour. Leadership is influence and modeling and persuasive and compelling.
So what should we do? What should king Azariah have done? More. More than he did. More than we are doing. The standard of God is that we will take action and influence our culture toward behaviour which pleases God. What can I model? How can I influence? Can I set an example and demonstrate personal conduct which will pull others along?
Holy Spirit help us to influence others to choose to please you instead of going their own ways…