“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” These two passages inform us that God recorded events of Israel’s history so that we might learn from their successes and their mistakes as well.

When the kingdom of Israel divided (read 1 Kings 11:26-12:19), the covenant people of God maintained, at best, a superficial devotion to the Lord. In fact, even while they were worshipping golden calves, they still were calling them Jehovah! How easy it is to deceive oneself when compromise to God’s Word is rationalized. The Northern kingdom never had a godly king. Each one went from bad to worse, the worst being King Ahab. However, another apostate king, Jeroboam, was found worshipping before an idol when a prophet of God gave him a word from the Lord followed by a verifying sign. What amazes me in this account is that Jeroboam’s hand is dried up by God after he commanded that the prophet be taken because he had spoken against his religion.

Now follow this: another miracle from the Lord takes place in 1 Kings 13:5, but does Jeroboam repent? No. All he cares about is having his hand healed. He had drifted so far from the True and Living God that the temporal was preeminent over the eternal. Child of God, the temporal things of our life are important and are addressed in Scripture, but not even the most noteworthy things or relationships in our lives are intended to have priority over our fellowship with Jesus.

Are you finding yourself preoccupied with, let’s call it, your withered hand? It may be withered finances, a withered career, or perhaps you just feel withered being a faithful Christian dad, mom, son, or daughter. When we are in that state of mind our thoughts are filled with anxiety. All of our energies are spent working things out. Make no mistake about it, we do have responsibilities to fulfill, but have we gotten off the spiritual track of spending time with Jesus? There is a time to be a Martha, but being a Mary is most needful.

Each day is a new beginning, so now’s the time to regroup, and with God’s help reestablish our priorities. Giving Jesus preeminence in everything is most needed. The key to preventing spiritual withering is found in fellowship with Jesus, faithfulness in little things, and a trust in our loving Father’s care.

When eternal things are placed first, temporal things will be brought in order – in His time.