What is God's

Hazael king of Syria...set his face to go up to Jerusalem. And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that his fathers...had dedicated...and his own sacred things, and all the gold found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and in the king's house, and sent them to Hazael king of Syria.

Hazael and the Syrian empire, situated to the north of Israel, were strong and brutal. The prophet Elisha wept when he first met Hazael, who at the time was only a servant, because he saw in advance all the atrocities that Hazael would commit against the Israelite people (2 Kings 8:11-12). Extremely warlike, Hazael repeatedly attacked the kingdom of Israel eventually taking the land God had given as an inheritance to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and part of Manasseh east of the Jordan River (2 Kings 10:32-33). This put Hazael and his army within striking distance of the southern kingdom of Judah and its capital city Jerusalem which contained the Temple of the LORD and the palace of the king. King Jehoash had every reason to fear, except one: God had already proven His faithfulness and rescued His people from superior military forces many times. All Israel had to do was to cry out to Him and to trust Him. King Jehoash, however, instead of trusting God, took what was God's from the temple and paid it as tribute. Sacred items that were to be dedicated to the worship of God were instead defiled and used as a ransom.

How cheaply do we hold what belongs to God in our lives? Recently we had a garage sale and I encountered one of the “garage sale personalities”, the person who insults you and your merchandise as a tactic hoping to get a better deal. After selecting several (dirty!!) items, her total due was $2.25. I rounded the price down to $2 and she nodded and gave me an aggressive “Unh-huh!” She paid me with a $20 bill, took her purchases in triumph and left. All I could feel was sadness. She had sold her kindness, a fruit of the Spirit, for 25 cents and thought she had won a victory.

As we examine our lives, we must consider what has value in God's sight and look at what we hold as important with an eternal focus. The fruit of the Spirit belongs to God. It is a gift from Him to be used for His purposes. By the presence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives we will be judged. We will be examined, evaluated, and sentenced by one who knows our every thought. Recognize and hold on to what is valuable.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good ~1 Thessalonians 5:21

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