1 KINGS 14:13
“ALL hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Those inspired words were meant to fill us with appreciation for the depth of Jehovah’s interest in us. Jehovah looks for the good in our hearts even though we are far from perfect. This is clearly evident in his words regarding Abijah, found at 1 Kings 14:13.
Abijah lived in a wicked household. His father, Jeroboam, was the head of an apostate dynasty. Jehovah purposed to make a clean sweep of Jeroboam’s house, “just as one clears away the dung.” (1 Kings 14:10)
But God ordered that only one member of Jeroboam’s household, Abijah—who was gravely ill—be given an honorable burial. Why? God explained: “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him in the house of Jeroboam.” (1 Kings 14:1, 12, 13) What do these words tell us about Abijah?
The Bible does not say that Abijah was a faithful worshipper of God. Still, there was a measure of goodness in him. This goodness was “toward Jehovah,” perhaps involving His worship. Rabbinic writers suggest that Abijah made a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem or that he removed the guards that his father had posted to prevent the Israelites from going to Jerusalem.
Whatever its exact nature, Abijah’s goodness was noteworthy. First, it was genuine. This goodness was “in him”—that is, in his heart. Second, it was exceptional. Abijah exhibited this goodness even though he was “in the house of Jeroboam.” One scholar says: “It is a great commendation for men to retain their goodness whilest they live in bad places and families.” Another says that Abijah’s goodness was “conspicuous . . . , just as the stars are brightest when the sky is dark, and the cedars are most beautiful when surrounding trees are leafless.”
Most important, the words of 1 Kings 14:13 teach us something beautiful about Jehovah and what he looks for in us. Recall that something good was “found in” Abijah. Jehovah evidently searched through Abijah’s heart until He found a trace of goodness. Compared to his family, Abijah was, as one scholar put it, the lone pearl “in a heap of pebbles.” Jehovah cherished this goodness and rewarded it, granting a measure of mercy to this one member of a wicked family.
Is it not reassuring to know that Jehovah looks for and values the good in us despite our imperfections? (Psalm 130:3) Knowing this should move us to draw closer to Jehovah, the God who sifts through our heart in search of even the smallest trace of goodness.
Jeroboam had set up idolatrous calf worship in the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah at the temple there.
In Bible times, to be denied a decent burial was seen as an expression of divine displeasure.—Jeremiah 25:32, 33.