Gradations of love and obedience

Faith & Inspiration | Andrée Seu Peterson

The biggest classification will be the saved and the unsaved. God will separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46).

But within those two there will be gradations. I am always fascinated to read the short summaries of the Kings of Israel and Judah in the annals of the books of Kings. Note the following distinctions:

Ahab: “Ahab … did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30).

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Jehoram: “He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal …” (2 Kings 3:2).

Amaziah: “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father …” (2 Kings 14:3).

Azariah: “… he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. … Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away …” (2 Kings 15:3-4).

Pekahiah: “… he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD …” (2 Kings 15:24)

Jotham: “… he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. … Nevertheless, the high places were not removed …” (2 Kings 15:34-35).

Hoshea: “… he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him” (2 Kings 17:2).

Hezekiah: “… he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. … He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the Kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him” (2 Kings 18:3-5).

Josiah: “… he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. … Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might … nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 22:2, 23:25).

Sometimes we behave as if it doesn’t matter how sloppily we live because we are saved anyway and that’s all that counts. But the Lord is coming with varying rewards, as the parable of the talents shows us, and He sees gradations of love and obedience. King David, speaking of himself, writes:

“The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness. … For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God” (2 Samuel 22:21-22).

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