We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Costly Career Goals

In I Kings 17:34 there is an obscure Scripture that beckons our attention. Out of the blue, the following verse appears: “In his days, Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the Word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of nun.” Now what are we to make of that?

This is why I love the Scriptures. There is always hidden treasure for those who are willing to seek…for they will find! So let’s have a closer examination of this verse. First we find that Hiel pursued a career opportunity that cost him the lives of his oldest and youngest sons.

We also learn that Hiel’s two sons die as a result of something spoken by Joshua. The natural next step is to then go to the book of Joshua and see if we can find anything that relates to this passage. Sure enough, in Joshua chapter 6, verses 26 & 27 we find an oath that forbids anyone from rebuilding Jericho or its gates. And whoever does attempt to do so will do so at the cost of their firstborn and youngest child. Ah, the mystery is solved.

So what can we learn from this unusual Scripture? First, we need to know the content of the Word of God before we pursue our career goals. We need to seek God’s counsel and the wise counsel of others before we move forward. We need to be willing to trust the direction we will take with God and others. Now there’s a fine balance here between faith and folly. Certainly if we sense God is leading us to do something and others don’t see it, we need to obey God rather than man. If however, the wise counsel of others and the Word of God aligns against us, we need to beware before moving forward because our decisions may indeed cost us our family.

If we’re going to rebuild the foundations of anything in life, let’s first start with the rebuilding of our family.

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