As the summer sets and the new school year rises, you have an opportunity to begin again. You can start new routines and refocus on good habits. There is one habit which guarantees a successful academic year, but even more, it guarantees a successful life.
As Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, looks on the smoldering city, he weeps. He laments the destruction. It did not have to be this way. If only they would have listened.
The hopelessness could not be more painfully illustrated than with Zedekiah. Instead of surrendering in the siege, Zedekiah tries to escape through the king’s garden. As fugitives from their own home, they flee across the plain, but the army of Babylon catches up with them. One of the most tragic and painful scenes in Scripture occurs. “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon” (2 Kings 25:7). Zedekiah, having only been in his early thirties, would have had younger children. These youths were brutally massacred before his own eyes. The fruit of his own rebellion and incompetence. If that was not bad enough, his own eyes were put out so the last image to plague his mind for the rest of his life would be the loss of his children. This would drive a father to insanity.
Hope had been snuffed out.
There were many days of mourning, but as David wrote, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Zedekiah never saw it. Jeremiah never heard about it, but God’s mercies were renewing. Jehoiachin was lifted out of prison, given a place at the king’s table, and enjoyed a “continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life” (2 Kings 25:30). This last verse of 2 Kings holds the precious truth of a hopeful future. To the casual reader it would not be evident, but consider for a moment Israel’s history. What did God give his people during their wilderness journey to the Promise Land? Daily they collected the manna and fed their families with bread directly from the hands of the King of Heaven. For years, the depended upon the provision of the Lord. God spoke of this time as His honeymoon with his chosen people. It was a sweet time of dependence.
Moses warned the people in Deuteronomy 6:12 to beware lest they forget God. When their houses are full of good things and they are enjoying the bountiful blessings, they may forget God. Success is not measured by the accumulation of things, but by the allowance from the King. When God’s people depend on Him daily, they will worship Him sincerely. When God’s people depend upon His blessings for their survival, they will extol His goodness instead of their ability.
The one habit which guarantees a successful life is plainly daily dependence. The sincerity of your prayer-life rests in your sense of dependence. If you are weak in prayer, you are awfully self-sufficient. Return to the simplicity of daily dependence upon God and you will never go astray.