Not that Bad!

In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned nine years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, only not as the kings of Israel who were before him. (2 Kings 17:1-2)

Hoshea was the last king of Israel.  The scriptures record that all of them did evil in the sight of the Lord, but the divine commentary on this last king appends a unique note: "He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel who were before him."  In other words, he was bad, but not as bad as the rest of Israel's kings.  

Now we know that on judgment day, it will be worse for some than it is for others.  Jesus reproached the cities who saw his miracles and heard his message but didn't welcome him: Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. (Luke 10:13-14)

And even Christians will face the judgment of Christ for the deeds they have done on the earth: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Who, in their right mind, would make this their goal for life: "That I might receive a more tolerable, less severe judgment when I stand before God."  And yet many people, even Christians, defend their actions and decisions, saying, "It's not that bad," or "It's not as bad as…."

The successful kings of God's people experienced God's blessings when they simply pursued knowledge of, love for, and obedience to, the God who created, provided for, and protected them.  

Be careful that you never allow yourself to be found justifying what you say or do on these bases: "It's not that bad," or "It's not as bad as something else or someone else."  Set higher goals and standards for yourself: "That I might please God and enjoy his favor by loving him with all my heart."

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