September 13, 2021

Is It Really About Us?

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever been around someone you normally have a good relationship with, who seemed like they didn't want to talk to you, or like they were mad at you about something and you couldn't figure out what you had done? When that happens to me, I wrack my brain trying to figure out how I upset them, or what I can do to make it better. Then come to find out hours later they were dealing with something work or family related, something that had nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's always a relief, and a somewhat painful reminder that not everything is about me. Sometimes another person's mood, and even how they treat me, has nothing to do with me personally, even when it feels like it must be about me.

I was amused this week to see an instance of this in the Bible, though it was one with dire consequences. In 2 Chronicles 35:20, we read, "Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle." Josiah, king of Judah, saw another king approaching with his army and assumed he was coming to attack Judah. Now, I've never been a king, but it seems like that might have been a logical assumption. If nothing else, it was probably wise to gather the army and be prepared to defend the land.

But Necho wasn't coming after Josiah's kingdom.  In fact he, "sent messengers to him, saying, 'What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.'" (v. 21). Necho came straight out and said to Josiah, 'This has nothing to do with you. I'm dealing with something else,' but Josiah didn't believe him. Necho even pointed out that there wasn't any quarrel between them, no prior history of problems that might have led him to march out to battle against Josiah.

Josiah, though, was so convinced that Necho's military moves were focused on his kingdom, that he couldn't believe it even when Necho said he was moving against someone else on God's orders. Josiah probably thought Necho was lying, invoking God's name so Josiah would back down and Necho could defeat him without needing to fight. 

That's when things went very wrong for Josiah. "Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, 'Take me away; I am badly wounded.' So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died." (vv. 22-24).

Necho's actions weren't about Judah, or about Josiah himself at all. If Josiah hadn't engaged in battle, he could have continued on ruling his kingdom, but he couldn't believe the situation wasn't about him and it cost him his life. Had he taken the time to pray and ask God for direction, maybe he would have realized Necho was telling the truth, that God was directing the other king and that Josiah should just mind his own business.

How many times do we do something like this? We assume a situation is about us, even sometimes when there is evidence that it has nothing to do with us, and we react to what we think is going on without bothering to stop and pray for direction first. Then, instead of making things better, we make them infinitely worse.
Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?" |
Yes, sometimes the situation or problem does have something to do with us and we need to do something about it. But other times, it's just not about us. It takes discernment and prayer to know the difference. Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?"

1 comment:

  1. Once again, Leanne, you're spot-on! While I've also experienced that feeling - "What did I do wrong?" - I've come to understand that when that emotion comes over me, I have to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. It's then that I "hear" a soft voice remind me to "Ask about them. Listen." When I do, not only do I help that person, but I forget that I want it to be "all about me." Paying attention to what the Spirit is nudging me to do, and following that nudge, is when it's better for everyone, including me.


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