One of the great failures of the kings of Israel and Judah is that they found their identity in their position of power. God asks Shallum, "Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?" God is talking about the bigger and better palace Shallum built. He assumed that if he added upper rooms to the palace with large windows and panels of cedar, then he would be a more powerful king that would command more respect and reverence from his people. God's question is simple, "does having a palace make you a king?" If you say "yes," then you are acknowledging that your identity comes from a position of authority and not for God Almighty. It is a principle that is still pertinent today. We start a ministry, lead a ministry, or serve in a ministry, and we find our identity in it. We only feel good about ourselves when that ministry is active and effective. We are overly protective of it because we see it as an extension of our identity and not God's gift to us. These kings suffered greatly because of their over-identification with their position of authority in Israel and/or Judah. When David took the throne of a unified Israel, he never thought himself worthy of such a position. He accepted God's anointing and served Him faithfully, but the second king of Israel always saw his coronation and kingship as an incredible and undeserved gift from God. Future generations of kings grew up in palaces and not in the fields with sheep. They assumed they would be the next king and forgot who gave them that position or protected their land from attack. Have we done the same in our modern churches?

Help me, Lord, to humbly serve You wherever You decide to put me. Help me to find my identity in Jesus and not in anything I do whether at home, at work, or at church.