A devotional for men, featuring the New Living Translation
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Tuesday December 12th, 2017
He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.
1 Kings 22:53, NLT
“Like father, like son.” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The sad thing about cliches is that we ignore them and miss the obvious truth they often contain. And having missed the truth, our lives often become the tragic illustration of the cliches we ignored. Neither royalty nor poverty makes one immune to evil. Ahaziah’s life demonstrates what can happen to children of dysfunctional families. He inherited from his father Ahab and his mother Jezebel the most evil reputation of any royal family in Israel. With his father’s violent death, Ahaziah became king over a nation steeped in idolatry, dishonesty, and blatant rebellion against God.

Ahaziah immediately began to add his own mistakes to his unholy heritage. The kingdom stumbled when Moab declared its independence from Israel, exposing Ahaziah’s lack of power. Next, Ahaziah invested in a fleet of merchant ships hoping to create financial security. The fleet sank, along with the king’s hopes. Then the king stumbled and fell from a palace porch, seriously injuring himself. Ahaziah added idolatry to injury by sending a servant to Ekron, a center for the worship of Baal-Zebub, to find out if he would recover. At this point God decided Ahaziah had been given enough opportunities to repent. Elijah intercepted the messengers with the news that God had declared the end of Ahaziah’s life. Even then, Ahaziah gave no sigh of repentance.

Our past may handicap us, but our own decisions condemn us. Understanding family problems and dysfunctions only becomes useful if we use the knowledge to make better choices. They can’t help us if we simply use them to blame others for mistakes we are making. If we’re smart enough to use our background as an excuse for our behavior, then we know enough to be responsible for our own actions. An evil past can be repeated or rejected for a better present.

One of the clearest examples of God’s power is shown in the life of a person who goes against the odds, the cliches, and his or her environment to repent and seek God. God can transform someone with an unholy heritage into someone who bequeaths a holy legacy. What will you pass on to your kids?

Adapted from 365 Life Lessons from Bible People (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 1996).
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