"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" (Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV)
Do a study of the kings of the Old Testament, and be by how many began their reigns by honoring God, but then drifted from total commitment to apathy and eventually to complete apostasy.
Even before Israel had a king, God had warned Israel of the dangers of power, money, and women and their corrupting influence upon national leadership (Deuteronomy 17:14 – 17). Too few leaders either then or now have heeded this warning.
Two kings, one an Israelite and one a Gentile, offer an object lesson. The Israelite had all the advantages of a vision and mandate from God, all the wisdom the Holy Spirit could give, peace, wealth, honor, and security. God even talked to him in visions. Yet he turned from God and built high places to Moloch and Chemosh. That was the tragedy of Solomon.
The Gentile king began as a tyrant and a terror to the house of Judah. He conquered and deported the entire nation. He was pompous and powerful, and worshiped the false gods of his fathers. Yet, near the end of his life, after an encounter with the true God, this Gentile king declared, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” (Dan 4:37 NKJV)
I once heard a preacher say that it’s not so much how you begin the race, but how you end it. While that might not precisely true (one who runs the race correctly from start to finish has great advantages, it is certainly better to end well than begin well. This we see in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21. Saying “I go, sir” is not enough; it’s the act of going that counts