I love to swim! I try to make it to the pool at least twice a week to swim a mile. I don’t have to worry about directions or navigating through traffic as I do when I bike. It’s sweet time to think, pray, rest.
But this summer when kids were out of school it wasn’t as restful. There’s something about lane lines that seem to beckon kids to cross them. Perhaps the water looks bluer on the other side?
When this happens, I never know when I’ll have to swim around hands, arms, toys or even bodies invading my lane. A number of times I needed to stop because I couldn’t get through. Want to guess who got a bit irritated?
But then I realized how often in life I’m like those kids, not staying in my lane. When I take on things the Lord hasn’t called me to do, I’m not only making my schedule busy, but invading someone else’s lane. This isn’t good for me or for them!
This past week I was reading in 2 Kings 23 when the Lord highlighted how vital it is to stay in one’s lane.
King Josiah loved the Lord.
We’re told, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
His grandfather was infamous as Judah’s most godless King and his dad followed in his father’s footsteps, doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
But in the midst of total apostasy, a new King arises who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Josiah restores the temple and when the Book of the Law is discovered He repents, cleanses the nation of idols, initiating sweeping reforms, restores the Passover, and rids the land of all mediums and necromancers. Because he humbled himself, God delayed disaster during his reign. The people he led were blessed because of it. What an incredible leader!
Yet his story doesn’t end well.
Thirty-one years after he begins to reign, he hears Pharaoh is going up to meet the King of Assyria in battle and Josiah decides to jump in to fight him first. He’s warned by Pharaoh not to get in his way. But Josiah doesn’t listen. He plunges ahead.
We’re told in 2 Kings 13:29 as soon as Pharaoh Neco saw Josiah he killed him.
The consequences of his lane violation were dire. And not only for him…
When Josiah’s son is made king, he does what’s evil in the sight of the Lord. God’s wrath is unleashed. The nation Josiah led to God, once again turns from God, and is given over to destruction and captivity by God.
We aren’t told why Josiah decided to plunge into battle, even after being warned not to. But his example sure highlights how vital it is to know what’s in your lane and what’s not! Even those who love the Lord can get sidetracked, diving into a battle the Lord hasn’t called us to.
Of course, it’s even worse if there are no lane lines. Or if your lines are in the wrong place!
We need to ask the Lord, “What’s in my lane?” letting him define our boundaries, then stay there!