July 6 (Daily reading: 2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25) In reading about the Old Testament kings, we sometimes read, “He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart” (2 Ch. 25:2). Sometimes there seemed to be devotion by degrees, as in the thought that one could serve God halfway, more or less. For example, Asa got high marks: “Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father” (1 Kgs. 15:11). He was compared favorably to David. In the case of Amaziah, “He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father” (2 Kgs. 14:3); even though he was better than some, he could not be compared to David. Even Jehoshaphat, who received a high commendation, failed in some ways as a leader: “The high places, however, were not removed; the people had not yet directed their hearts to the God of their fathers” (2 Ch. 20:33). Joash’s devotion seemed to be conditional: “Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Ch. 24:2). He did well as long as Jehoiada was there.
We go back to Asa, whose heart was fully committed to the Lord (2 Ch. 15:17), but who failed to follow that commitment at one point of testing. Because of this, he heard the prophet’s words: “The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Ch. 16:9). This verse causes me to reflect on the condition of my heart. The Lord is always searching for a heart that belongs completely to Him! Such a commitment begins with love, as we are told in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
– Al Gary