Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah. And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.
- 2 Kings 23:34-37
May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.
I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.
- Ezra 6:12
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
- Hebrews 13:8
As for the Scriptures, Eliakim had just lost his father at the hands of Pharaoh Necho, and Necho sets him up as a puppet king. But if that is not enough change, Eliakim’s name is changed to Jehoiakim, and he must severely task the people to pay off the Pharaoh. In Ezra, Darius decrees that the God of Israel will overthrow any kingdom who tries to destroy the temple or change his decree. So, a pagan king realizes who the real God is and places the protection of the temple in either God’s hands or the fear factor in all those who oppose the temple being built. A change of power has a ripple effect and, in both cases, there is a change of power, but God never changes.
The year of 2020 is now nearly two years removed. The buzz of two and a half years ago, give or take, was what will the “new normal” be when the lockdowns are over? Will the masks ever come off? Did the mask do any medical good? Etc.
But recently, I have been thinking, pondering, ruminating … about my new “new normal.” Right after the lockdown was over, or maybe a bit after, my wife started kidney dialysis. She gets her dialysis on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Without noticing for a year or more, my weekend shifted to Sunday and Monday. Monday is the day that my wife is most likely to feel alive. Her usual routine on the days after dialysis is to feel weak, drained (literally), and let’s face it, ill.
But it is not just that, there are doctor visits on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You cannot schedule those on a dialysis day. She gets dialysis in the mornings, but if she gets any weaker, I will be unable to get her to bed. It is all that she can do to walk from the car to her bed. Sometimes, I walk in front of her and she holds on, using me as a walker. I bring her meals to her. Forget Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and her birthday. Forget breakfast in bed. She gets lunch and dinner in bed. She even gets the same treatment on her off days if she is still weak.
So, I just realized that I have a new normal that has nothing to do with COVID.
But then, we often have new normals, and we sometimes welcome them.
I have listed eighteen different residences as my home over the years. I guess that should be nineteen in that for nine months I worked on a construction project in Florida and the hotel was where I got my mail, but we will say eighteen. Two of those homes were repeats. One of those homes was repeated twice, thus there were more moves involved. A few of those moves did not mean that I went to a different school or my children went to a different school, but most of them did.
You see. We face new normal all the time. Okay, but you say that you have always lived in the same town your entire life. How many different bosses have you had? Have you jumped churches? If not, how many pastors have you had in your church?
Okay, for the teenagers who might read this, be prepared to experience new normal.
In 2020, the new normal seemed to be the biggest source of fear, even more fear than the disease of COVID itself, but there are still people who wear a mask at church. Of course, doctor offices and clinics require the masks. That part of the new normal is silly in a way. Mainly because if you see someone with their mask under their chin, you can guarantee that is the person who coughs and sneezes. Properly wearing a mask only showed proper courtesy to those who were frightened. It did little in preventing germs from spreading.
So, when you look back and see that our government has taken freedoms away from us or some other aspect of the new normal is distasteful, realize that we live in a fallen world that is constantly changing, although God never changes.
If the new normal bothers you, look to God, the One who never changes. He is our rock, our firm foundation. If you fear the new normal or the next new normal, find comfort in the Savior’s arms.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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