Scorecard

“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages, who says, ‘I will build myself a great house with spacious upper rooms,’ who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion. Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD. But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.” – Jeremiah 22:13-17

Here we see the Lord giving a Jehoiakim a scorecard recalibration. His father, Josiah had done well by the Lord. He had found the book of the law and restored Judah to following God, deposing the false religions. Jehoiakim, on the other hand, had turned back and done evil.

The Lord then asks him a simple question: “Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar?” Perhaps Jehoiakim had begun to believe that the winner was the guy with the most stuff. The Lord makes it clear that this is not so. “Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD.”

Josiah did justice and righteousness, he judged the cause of the poor and needy – then it was well with him. (He found time to eat and drink in there too.) Stuff, monetary wealth, the trappings of success and even power – these things may come and go, but they are in no wise the measure of a man.

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