2 Chronicles 12
Despite Rehoboam’s shrewd defensive strategies, his failure to remain faithful to God resulted in being defeated by Shishak, king of Egypt. Only when Rehoboam and the leaders of Israel humbled themselves, acknowledged their sin, and turned back to the Lord, did God relent and save them from destruction.
Instead, God said, “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”
How many times has the Lord allowed me to be enslaved by some idol in order to demonstrate the difference between serving God and lesser gods of my own design?
Whether our idol is wealth, prosperity, and fame, or family, good works, and religiosity, serving any god but the Lord will leave us worn out, frustrated, and ultimately unfulfilled.
Serving God, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us to achieve His purposes, will energize us even when we are exhausted. It will allow us to be generous even when we have nothing more to give. And it will teach us to understand and embrace Paul’s sentiment in Philippians 4:11-13: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”