They gave up their inheritance. Land that had been in their family for generations they abandoned. Property promised them from the time of the exodus they saw disappear in their rearview mirrors. More than their prized possession, it was their connection to their ancestry as a member of one of the twelve tribes. And they just walked away from it. How come? Because they set their hearts to seek the LORD.
Continuing to read in 2Chronicles this morning. The kingdom established under David and Solomon is divided because of Rehoboam’s bone-headed move to listen to some hard-hearted, wet behind the ears advisors (2Ch. 10.). Thus, the northern ten tribes have broken away under Jeroboam’s leadership.
And under that leadership they have established a new religion, one that worships goat idols and golden calves as the gods of their deliverance (2Ch. 11:15, 1Ki. 12:25-33). One that no longer needs the Levites, those who were appointed to serve in matters of worship before God, and so has cast them out. And the Levites leave their common lands in the north and come to Judah and to Jerusalem to serve and worship there.
And what catches my attention this morning, is that others did as well.
And those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers.
(2Chronicles 11:16 ESV)
Don’t know that I ever realized this before, that after the split there were those “from all the tribes” of the northern kingdom who responded to Jeroboam’s fake worship economy by packing up and heading south. Not content with man-made gods and government-designed worship, they move to the region surrounding Jerusalem to worship the God of their fathers. And it cost them everything as they left their land, their possessions, and friends and family behind. Their very identities, which had been so intricately tied to their tribe and the land given to their tribes, had, in one sense, been severed.
But now they had a new identity. Now they marched under a different banner.
Those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel.
While the land was important, it had been but a gift from God. And rather than be brought into bondage by the gift, they instead sought the Giver. They refused to let their possessions possess them and lead them to capitulate to the idolatry around them. Instead they would count themselves as God’s holy possession, and God, owning their hearts, gave them the power to separate. And so they became known as those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD.
I wanna be like them. In a culture that increasingly distances itself from worship in spirit and truth in order to embrace worship of self and tribal allegiances, I don’t want the gifts I’ve received to so tie me to the way of the world that it turns my heart away from the One who rescued me and gave me the gifts in the first place. Rather, I want to be willing to walk away from everything if that’s what’s needed to walk after Him. I want to march to the beat of the kingdom’s drummer, even if it means leaving what I possess in order to pursue what He has promised.
I want a heart set on seeking the LORD.
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
(Psalm 27:8 ESV)
Only by His grace. Always for His glory.