Learn from the example of others

I started writing songs when I was 14 years old. The songs were written pretty quickly and had elements of greatness but, they weren’t great. Over the course of the next 40 years I’ve written many more songs and most of them are forgettable.

A couple of years ago I attended a songwriter’s conference at Estes Park in Colorado. The faculty for the event consisted of some of the greatest songwriter’s in the Christian worship field. Every one of them spoke of the hard work it takes to write great music. Last Spring, I attended a songwriter’s intensive weekend where we wrote with other songwriters and had to rewrite our first attempts. The lesson was clear, writing well takes discipline and hard work.

The Bible is filled with examples of how to live and how not to live. It’s in the pages of Scripture that I have learned how good God is and how unfaithful to Him mankind is. The story of Jehoahaz teaches me that God will answer the prayer of a rebellious person but in the end, the person needs to change who or what they worship in order for their lives to please God. Be teachable.

Here’s what Psalms 145 says about God:

8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps his promises;
he is gracious in all he does.
14 The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.

And here’s the story of Jehoahaz:

2 Kings 13:1-7

Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly.

Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days.

But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing. Finally, Jehoahaz’s army was reduced to 50 charioteers, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. The king of Aram had killed the others, trampling them like dust under his feet.

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