"Do you become a king because you have the most cedar?" God asks Jehoiakim, who thinks he's secure in his cedar palace. Jehoiakim puts so much hope in his cedar that he has exploited people to get it.
Hoping in cedar sounds ridiculous, but we make the same mistake. We think that if we have the biggest or most beautiful house, the newest car, the best job, the most prestigious education, the most talented kids in the top school, the prettiest hair or the shapeliest figure, the loveliest girl on our arm, the most powerful man at our side, or the most influence in our religious circle, we'll be happy for the rest of our lives. But God warns Jehoiakim that he'll never have enough cedar to rescue him from the destruction coming to his land (see Jeremiah 22:18-30).
So God gives him an alternative. He reminds Jehoiakim that his own father found happiness not in cedar but in doing justice - caring for the poor and oppressed. God asks, "And isn't that what it means to know me?" When we know God, we know how needy we are and how much God loves us in our neediness. And we find that He is better than all the cedar in the world. God rescues us from having to hoard cedar, and he frees us to care for those he cares for - the poor and oppressed.
Ask God to show you what your cedar is. How are you competing with your friends and neighbors to win your happiness? What are you putting your hope in?
Friends of Nazareth
September 28, 2011