In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done (2 Kings 18:1-3).
Throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, we hear that kings did what was evil in the sight of the Lord even though many of them accomplished great things in political and economic realms. Hezekiah’s father Ahaz was one of those kings of Judah that did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Hezekiah stands out as one of the few kings that did what was right in the sight of the Lord. He was one of only three kings that were commended for being like David. And among all the kings, there was none like Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:5).
What did Hezekiah do that was right in the sight of the Lord? What did Hezekiah do that he was commended as one like David? One of the first things Hezekiah did after he became king was repair the temple that had been neglected by his father Ahaz. He had the priests sanctify themselves and the temple. Hezekiah made a covenant with the Lord. This was a good thing and it pleased the Lord. But, this alone did not cause Hezekiah to be seen as one like David.
Hezekiah also had the symbols of Baal worship destroyed. He destroyed the bronze snake made by Moses because it was being worshipped. These were also good things that pleased the Lord. But, this alone did not cause Hezekiah to be seen as one like David.
Like David, Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. He did not just do the right things; he also put his trust in the Lord. This greatly pleased the Lord and he was with Hezekiah as a result.
In the past few years my vision has become a little blurry. It wasn’t that I could not see at all, but that my vision was hindered to the extent that I could not effectively make out what I was seeing. I have had to start using reading glasses. So, for the last ten years or so, my glasses have helped me in my seeing.
In our lives, there are some things that seem blurry when it comes to making a decision about what is right and wrong. And without “corrective glasses,” we are shooting in the dark hoping to hit the target of what is right in God’s eyes. The Bible is our corrective glasses. Many of us can quickly make out those objects nearby, but even with Scripture in our thinking, we can struggle on some of the distant ones.
The Bible is very clear in many areas about what is right and wrong in God’s sight. The Bible clearly teaches us to honor our mothers and fathers, that we should not commit adultery, and that we should not steal. It teaches in detail much about “fleeing that which is evil.” We can be sure of God’s will in these areas because they are explicitly communicated in the Bible. We refer to these teachings as “black and white” areas of the Bible. One only needs eyes to recognize them.
The list could go on and on because there are so many teachings of Scripture that are revealed with perfect clarity. But what about other areas like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcoholic beverages, dancing, eating certain foods, or worshiping on certain days of the week? These things appear to be distant and blurry.
Among the Christian denominations are sharp disagreements on these topics. We often refer to these as “gray” areas of the Bible. They are normally taught in Scripture either through principles or types. While one believer is persuaded that a woman should not wear makeup, jeans, or cut her hair, another believer is persuaded to allow it. Likewise, you might know someone who refuses to watch movies at the theater while another openly loves to do so.
These are all areas that far too often bitterly divide the body of Christ. So what does the Bible say about these gray areas? And how should Christians approach them?
Well, here are some guidelines for helping you know if it is right or wrong for you in those gray areas:
1. Can you do it for the glory of God? I Corinthians 10:31; 6:19-21…Will God get glory out of it?
2. Can you do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and give Him thanks for it? Col. 3:17
3. Is it of the world? I John 2:15-17; James 4:4; John 15:19
4. Does it have the appearance of evil? I Thessalonians 5:22
5. Would Jesus have done it? I Peter 2:21
6. Is it a weight? Hebrews 12:17.
7. Can you do it when you remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you? I Corinthians 6:19-20
8. Is it a stumbling block to others? I Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:13,21
9. When Jesus comes again, would you like to be found doing it? I John 2:28
10. Is there doubt in your mind whether it is right or wrong? Romans 14:23
God would never expect us to obey Him by making right decisions if He did not first tell us how. God speaks to us through the principles, purposes, and patterns revealed in His Word. He makes clear what we call blurry. The only task that lies before us then is the task of finding out what He desires that we do. And that is where these principles for the gray areas come in. May we faithfully used these principles to help us be like young King Hezekiah: “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.”