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The Paths of Men

The course of life that each one of us pursues is a curiosity. Each of us decides on a daily basis the nature of our actions. We choose what we will say, what we will do and what we will refrain from saying or doing. What guides those choices?

It’s not uncommon to hear someone describing at length the difficulties of their lives as an excuse for their poor behavior. It’s certain that the experiences we have had in life, especially those that occur in early childhood, can have long lasting impact. But it’s also clear that each of us is responsible for our own personal choices.

Josiah became a king over Judah at the age of 8, after his father was murdered. When he was 16 he began to “seek after God” and by the time he was 20 he began a religious reform that destroyed the work of the idol worshiping Jews (2 Chron. 34). One might assume that he was well taught by his father. Not so. The influence of his own father was that of an evil man. Josiah’s father, Amon, did not obey the Lord (2 Kings 21:22). Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, was even worse. (2 Kings 21:16) “Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.”

On the other hand, though Eli was a prophet of God, his sons became an evil blight upon the children of Israel. The very literal translation of the KJV of 1 Samuel 2:12 says, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” Their description is that of the very spawn of evil.

Josiah certainly could have used his position of power to pander to his own passions, but he did not. He chose to seek God. Solomon, the son of one of Israel’s good kings, David, was also placed on the throne. He was further given specific blessings by God of wisdom, honor, and wealth (1 Kings 3:11-13). But the book of Ecclesiastes records Solomon’s pursuit of the flesh and the sad end of his story tells us that his heart was the captive of idolatrous women and not God (1 Kings 11:1-13).

Day by day, each of us will choose our path. Some have been taught properly yet live poorly; they were shown the light but chose darkness. Others have been taught poorly yet choose godly; they were raised in darkness but embraced the light. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

What path will we choose?

- Tim Orbison


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