The Bible is the book that God has given us to let us know Him, and to let us know how to live. Sometimes, however, it is not always easy for us to understand the lesson. For example, one might ask: Of what relevance is the account of the lives of the many kings of Israel and Judah? Why does God give us an account of their life? What can we learn from them?
Then, there are the accounts of the many sins of the Jews, for example, when they were in the desert, after leaving Egypt. What benefit is there for us to study the history of God’s people in the Old Testament?
There is an immense benefit. Find 1 Corinthians 10:11 with me, which explains a benefit that we can find by reading the history of Israel: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”
In chapter 24 of 2 Chronicles (our First Reading) we read: “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest”. The death of Jehoiada, at 130 years old, who had guided and directed King Joash in his choices for the good of the people, profoundly affects the rest of his life. Instead of relying directly on God, Joash relied on his adoptive father. And when he passed away, his fidelity to God failed, since he had not over time cultivated a personal faith.
In our life there can be many people (priests, parents, educators, friends …) that the Lord places on our path as an example and a guide to make us fall in love with him and to lead us to him, for the fulfillment of the plan of love that he has for us. Such people or role models must never be seen as the end in themselves, but only the instrument that leads us to God. It is, therefore, essential to nourish and cultivate our personal faith and direct relationship with God every day, to have firm trust in him and do not give in to the many idols or influences that risk distancing us from God.
Continuing on this page of our First Reading, a very strong word, proclaimed by Zechariah, struck me: “Because you have abandoned the LORD, he has abandoned you”. The Lord tries to move his people in every way, even threatening to abandon them, but we know very well that this has not happened and will never happen. On the contrary, the Lord is always with us and never tires of waiting for us. He waits patiently for us every time we turn away from Him; when we get angry; when we don’t understand his plans; when we want to do our own thing; his mercy surpasses us and precedes us. “Forever I will maintain my love for my servant” (Response to the Responsorial Psalm).
In our hands, God delivers the key to the door of our heart. It’s up to us to open it to let him in! In our journey of faith, let us always look past our role models or heroes of faith, and build a deeper personal relationship with God Himself; a relationship which will continue even when our role models are no longer available.