2 Chronicles 21:18-20 "18 After all this the Lord struck [Jehoram] in his bowels with an incurable disease. 19 In course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his ancestors. 20 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign; he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings."
Jehoram is one of the Kings of Judah that is said to have "followed in the ways of the Kings of Israel" by setting up unauthorized locales for worship (in high places); by turning a blind-eye to practices of idolatry in his kingdom; and, by leading his people into unfaithfulness. As a result of all these short-comings he is struck with an horrific death.
Now, we might be tempted to get overly focussed on the physical mechanism of his demise, but that is not what seems really horrific to me. Even though a long, drawn out death by prolapse of the bowels sounds awful, the throw away line sounds even worse:
"He departed with no one's regret."
It has been said that, so long as our vertical relations with the Creator are out of balance, so too will be our horizontal relations with our neighbours be. It sounds like this was most certainly true of Jehoram. I can't imagine what kind of life patterns would leave such a wake of indifference amidst family, friends and neighbours in the moment of death. I also never want to find out.This all begs the question:
How are your relationships going these days?
What are you doing to strengthen your (UP) relationship
with Creator God?
Are you making sufficient time to invest in your most
intimate relationships (IN)?
When and how are you stretching your comfort zones to
get to know more folks from outside your normal interest
If any or all of these relationships need
attention, perhaps it would be good to start with a move
in the vertical (UP) direction.
Holy, mighty and merciful God, your very Triune nature reveals that to be created in your image means (at least in part) we are created for vibrant relationships. Guide us, we pray, to live in ways that honour you, ourselves, and our neighbours. We trust that living in this good way will save us from the awful fate of Jehoram. Yet, on days when we find our relationships to be spiralling out of control, we are so thankful for the knowledge that you are never indifferent about our individual or collective lives. Amen.