The books of Kings and Chronicles give a lot of history about the people who ruled Israel and Judah some thousand years before Christ. Some of the movers and shakers of the day were great kings and some were rotten to the core Kings. Some ruled for forty years, others came and went more quickly. One ruler was a rather nasty guy named Jehoram. He only ruled over Jerusalem about eight years, but no one was sad to see him go. In fact, the Bible states, “He passed away, to no one’s regret.”
It’s a striking phrase and one that gave me pause. What a thought! Here was this guy, Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. As soon as his father was laid to rest, he became king because he was the first-born son. That was common in those days. What wasn’t common is that when Jehoram took the throne, he took a sword to the rest of his brothers and any of his competitors in Israel. He was a no-goodnick, but God wouldn’t destroy him because of his covenant with the house of David, that someone from his line would always be on the throne.
One day, Jehoram got a letter in the mail from a rather renowned prophet named Elijah. The letter reprimanded Jeho for not walking in the ways of God and for murdering his own brothers who were all better guys than he was. The letter went on to say that Jeho would be running to the bathroom for the rest of his life because he was about to have a disease that would keep him tied to the “throne” in a different way. Turns out he got the runs permanently, was ultimately overrun, and his family was destroyed except for one son. He died and nobody cared. No one regretted his passing.
Now you may wonder if any of this applies to us. After all, none of us have killed off our families for fame and fortune. None of us have been afflicted with a terrible disease because we made God mad. So what’s the lesson?
For me, the lesson is in the line that “He passed away, to no one’s regret.” Personally, on the day I file my flight plan to take the red eye to heaven, I want more than anything for a few people to be a little sad that I’ll be leaving. In fact, I hope that I’ll have lived a life worthy of mourning. I’ll hope I did enough good to affect the lives of those around me. It may be selfish, but the truth is, I want a few people to regret that I’m gone. I can only imagine that most of us would hope for that. So, poor Jehoram! His pitiful existence is only recorded because he was a link in the chain of David’s line. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known about him. Nor would we want to.
Life is fleeting and we’re working hard to make our days count. Let’s live each one so that even angels will turn a little blue when they won’t be able to watch over us a while longer. Let’s live so that we matter to everyone and when we pass on to glory, it will be a celebration of great joy. Let’s live and love with gusto!