Archive for the ‘2 Chronicles’ Category

2 Chronicles 26

2 Chronicles 26 has yet another story of a king that started out on the right foot but failed to finish strong.  Uzziah took over the throne from his father Amaziah at age 16 and reigned for 52 years.  That’s a pretty long rule.  Scripture tells us “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done”.  Unfortunately that sends up a red flag as his father had certainly fallen short in his walk with God.  He started strong but failed in the end with idolatry.  So Uzziah has that bad example in his history.

But Uzziah began on the right foot.  “He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper”.  See the connection here – as long as he sought the Lord – he prospered.  When that ended so did his prosperity as we’ll see later in the chapter.  Uzziah was a king that amassed a lot of things – money and people and stuff.  And it specifically tells us that “he loved the soil” so helped build up the farmers in the area.

We also learned that Uzziah prepared – he got his army ready for battle and did the same in other areas of his kingdom.  He thought ahead and was continually doing things to be sure he was prepared.  Then it happened.  “His fame spread far….when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction….he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense”.  Pride brings Uzziah down.  It is a very destructive thing and has to be dealt with in each of our lives before it sabotages us too.

The priests confront Uzziah while in the temple and call him out.  He reacts negatively and is angry with them, and immediately “leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord”.  God wasn’t interested in what Uzziah thought.  God was going to enforce the law as He gave it and Uzziah violated it.  So “King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death”.  The pride that welled up in him caused him to think he was above God’s laws and ultimately it cost him the kingdom.  He was forced to live apart from the rest of the people because of his disease.  All because he grew proud.

2 Chronicles 25

2 Chronicles 25 has a new king on the throne following Joash, his son Amaziah.  “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart”.  Big lesson here – halfhearted is not good enough.  99% hearted is not good enough.  God wants 100% of our heart.  He fell short. “But he killed his servants who had struck down the king his father. But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the Law”.  It was the standard practice of those days not only to execute the guilty party, but also their family. Amaziah went against the conventional practice of his day and obeyed the word of God instead.

Amaziah gets familiar with his people and discovered he had 300,000 men who were old enough to fight.  But that didn’t satisfy him.  “He hired also 100,000 mighty men of valor from Israel”.  But a prophet comes and tells him “do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel”.  What was Amaziah’s response?  He was worried about all the money he had paid those men.  “What shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel”?  He immediately went to money, not what God had told him to do.

He asks the man of God about the battle he was going to do and is told that God will give him the victory, even without the 100K men from Israel he had sent packing.  He did in the victory on the battlefield, but then squandered it away by what he did.  “After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them”.  This was a rejection of God’s mercy to Amaziah. God was kind to send him a correcting prophet to put him on the right path, but he basically spits in God’s eye.

So God is angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet to tell him that “God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel”.  Amaziah became cocky and confident and calls the king of Israel out to do battle.  He is warned that this is a bad plan, but the odds seemed overwhelmingly on his side.  He had reason to believe he would be successful. He had recently assembled a 300,000 man army that killed 20,000 Edomites in a victory over Edom.

King Joash of Israel seemed very weak, having only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers after being defeated by the Syrians.  How could he lose?  He forgot the God factor.  And he not only lost but was captured and spent the rest of his life in the contempt of his people for leading them away from God.  “From the time when he turned away from the Lord they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem”.

2 Chronicles 24

2 Chronicles 24 has Joash taking the throne at age 7.  Very young but under the arm of Jehoiada the priest who had placed him there after getting rid of Athaliah the evil queen.  Johoiada’s influence was strong so “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest….Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord”.  This seems to indicate that when Jehoiada died, Joash no longer did what was right in the sight of the Lord, which is exactly what happens when Joash turned to idolatry when Jehoiada died, and God’s judgment followed.

Joash instructs the Levites to collect taxes to repair the house of the Lord.  He knew that a prosperous and secure kingdom mattered little if God was neglected.  But the Levites did not do it quickly as he had instructed, so the king goes to the people with his requirement directly.  An amazing response happens.  “All the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest”.  No mention of any resistance, although that seems to be what the Levites were fearful of in their failure to get behind the repairs.

 

They restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it….they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord regularly all the days of Jehoiada”.  Things were not just run down.  Athaliah and her sons had deliberately taken things from the temple and destroyed parts of it.  So there was much to do, but they finished it and then Jehoiada dies which changes everything.  He was the guiding light for Joash, and now this young king is getting counsel from the wrong people.  “The princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king….the king listened to them….abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols”.

In Jehoiada we see the influence of one man. One man can change a kingdom. One man can challenge and lead people to repent from sin. One man can lead his people to serve God.  But unfortunately Joash doesn’t slowly move away from God – it’s a dash to the other side toward evil.  Zechariah comes to confront him as Jehoiada’s son, a prophet of God.  “Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you”.  Not a popular thing, confronting the king, so “Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son”.  That’s one way to silence truth.

There are some ironies in this story:

  • The people did not listen to the command of the LORD, but they did listen to the evil command of King Joash
  • Joash responded to the kindness of Jehoiada with cruelty to his son
  • Zechariah was murdered in the same place where his father Jehoiada had anointed Joash king

And the story does not end well.  Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord while Jehoiada was alive, but now faces judgment.  God sends the Syrian army and “the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because Judah had forsaken the Lord….they executed judgment on Joash”.  Another example of failing to finish strong.

2 Chronicles 23

2 Chronicles 23 has a turn of events as “Jehoiada took courage and entered into a covenant with the commanders“.  Jehoiada was a godly man who was concerned with restoring the throne of David to the line of David, and taking it away from this daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. He was also the husband of Jehoshabeath, the woman who hid the young boy Joash and protected him from the Athaliah’s massacre.  Jehoiada put his own life at risk to restore the rightful heir to the throne and confront the evil that was occurring.

Jehoiada does more than just cut a deal to bring the young son to the throne.  Athaliah had reigned for six years because no one knew any alternative.  Jehoiada had a plan to remove the wicked Queen Athaliah and to replace her with Joash, the rightful heir to the throne. These leaders needed to follow his plan carefully, and to do it on the Sabbath. Jehoiada chose the Sabbath for the day of the coup, because that was the day when the guards changed their shifts and they could assemble two groups of guards at the temple at the same time without attracting attention.

His plan was that “all the people shall keep the charge of the Lord. The Levites shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand. And whoever enters the house shall be put to death”.  He knew there would be resistance from Athaliah.  But he had a plan in place.  And “they brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony”.  Joash appeared before the people holding the scrolls of God’s Word.  Athaliah hears the noise and comes to the temple to see what the commotion is all about.

She tore her clothes and accused them of treason, but Jehoiada had prepared and had the guards ready to slay her.  It was a just sentence against this woman who had murdered so many, and precautions were taken so she could not resist Joash being put on the throne.  Going further, “Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people”.  He establishes the relationship that would move forward between God and His people.  “All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword”.  The evil queen is gone at last!

2 Chronicles 22

2 Chronicles 22 has Ahaziah becoming king of Judah at age twenty-two.  He got the nod because he was the only son left after a “band of men that came with the Arabians killed all the older sons”.  Made selection of the successor a no brainer. Ahaziah’s mother was the wicked Athaliah, who was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel of the northern kingdom of Israel and she was given in marriage to Jehoram, the king of Judah, Ahaziah’s father. She brought her influence to bear upon her son and made him more of a son of Ahab and Jezebel then a son of David and his godly descendants.

He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”.  But it went further than just bad decisions in how they worshiped.  Ahaziah’s close association with the wicked house of Ahab developed into a war alliance with Israel against Syria.  “For after the death of his father they were his counselors, to his undoing.  He even followed their counsel and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to make war against Hazael king of Syria”.  Who we surround ourselves with matters.  We will be led astray if we are surrounded by bad counsel.

Ahaziah is killed according to God’s plan by Jehu, the man on a mission to execute judgment on the house of Ahab.  And he gets to Ahaziah who was hiding in Samaria after being injured in the battle against Syria.  As they buried him they said “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart”.  Two generations and they go from seeking God with all their heart to doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  Talk about a change of life focus.  His evil mother “arose and destroyed all the royal family”.  She wasn’t going to let power slip away from her.  And she takes over the kingdom because all the royals were gone except her, at least she thought.

But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away….he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land”.  This little-known woman had an important place in God’s plan. Through her courage and ingenuity, she preserved the royal line of David through which the Messiah would come. Evil people like Athaliah will begin their work, but God can always raise up a Jehoshabeath.  Though Ahaziah was a bad king who was evil, he was still a descendant of David. God remembered His promise and spared this one young survivor to the massacre of Athaliah. The line of David was almost wiped out and continued only through Joash, who grew up in the temple much like Samuel had.

2 Chronicles 21

2 Chronicles 21 has a major shift in the leadership of Judah.  Jehoshaphat has died, and he along with his father Asa had walked with the Lord for the most part.  They neither finished strong, but had been primarily good kings.  Then along comes Jehoram to reign in his place.  “When Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he killed all his brothers with the sword”.  Talk about being paranoid.  Jehoram was not going to leave any doubt of who would sit on the throne as he killed all the rest of the potential heirs.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.  “He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife”. This was not a compliment. While the southern Kingdom of Judah had a mixture of godly and wicked kings, the northern Kingdom of Israel had nothing but evil, God-rejecting kings. He made a bad decision by marrying Ahab’s daughter who helped pull him away “and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”.  Hard to imagine considering he grew up under a godly father and grandfather.  My how quickly we can fall away if we aren’t vigilant to stay connected.

Things didn’t go well.  Several neighboring areas that were under Judah’s rule decided to revolt.  As long as the kings of Judah remained true to their allegiance to God, they were able to keep in subjection the surrounding nations; but just as soon as they revolted from God these people revolted.  Edom and Libnah both pulled away “because he had forsaken the Lord”.  His decision to turn away from the God of his fathers cost him much.  He turns away in style as “he made high places in the hill country of Judah and led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray”.  It wasn’t an accidental departure from God.  He led a full scale walk away from Him.

Of course, God is not pleased and will not be mocked.  He sends a letter through Elijah the prophet saying “the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions”.  Disobedience is never a good plan.  Physical problems are on the way and more as “the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabians”.  Along with the battles he had to fight, God simply caused the physical condition of his body to be afflicted as a reflection of the spiritual condition of his soul – so he died in severe pain. Scripture tells us “he departed with no one’s regret”.  Can you imagine – he reigned for eight years and when he died, no one cared.  That is not the picture of a legacy anyone should want to leave!

2 Chronicles 19

2 Chronicles 19 has Jehoshaphat returning safely after the battle.  It was only by God’s mercy that he got home.  He should have died in battle – the Syrians had him in their grasp. He hardly gets back to his house before being greeted with a word from God through Jehu, son of Hanani.  And God rebukes him through this interaction.  “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord”.  Jehoshaphat did not listen to God’s earlier direction about this battle, and now gets lambasted because of that disobedience.

But God did not want Jehoshaphat to be crushed by the rebuke through the words of Jehu, so He included a word of encouragement.  God knew that Jehoshaphat did not approve of all evil, so He encouraged the king in the places where he did hate evil and refuse compromise.  “Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God”.  God focuses on what Jehoshaphat has done in obedience, and most importantly calls out the fact that his heart is seeking God.

That is the most important thing in God’s eyes – the condition of our heart.  We all sin.  We will all make lots of mistakes that will cause us to fall short and miss the mark with God.  But the key is how our heart responds to that failure.  Jehoshaphat went out to all the people and “brought them back to the Lord”.  His heart was soft toward God and he corrected his past failings.  He also charged others in his kingdom to do the right things.  “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes”.

That was his instruction to the judges.  He also gives instruction to the leaders in his kingdom.  “You shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart”. He cuts right to the core of it all.  We have to live in a right way with God.  It is the job of the leaders to courageously do what was good, and to then trust that the LORD will be us.  God is at work all around us.  He expects us to lead well as servant leaders and follow Him.  When we do, we experience His blessing.  When we fail, we experience His wrath.  A pretty easy choice to make……

2 Chronicles 18

2 Chronicles 18 has Jehoshaphat making a marriage alliance with Ahab.  This approach to linking kingdoms by the bond of marriage was common in the ancient world, yet it was unwise for Jehoshaphat. The wisest strategy for the protection of his kingdom was obedience instead of compromise with the ungodly King Ahab of Israel and his wife, Queen Jezebel.  But he proceeds and Ahab asks Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking Ramoth-Gilead.  Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat to help him in this dispute against Syria. This made some sense, because Ramoth-Gilead was only 40 miles from Jerusalem.

Jehoshaphat wisely asks “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire”?  Ahab finally admits that while all the prophets he listens to were giving the thumbs up to proceeding into battle, there was one more, “Micaiah….but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil”.  Ahab’s prophets were not faithful prophets of the LORD. These were prophets happy to please their kings, and to tell him what he wanted to hear.  Ahab’s real conflict was with God, but he focused his hatred against the prophet Micaiah.

Micaiah tells the king he won’t just tell him what he wants to hear.  “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak”.  He speaks the truth, which was contrary to that of the other prophets.  King Ahab recognized the mocking tone of Micaiah’s prophecy and knew it contradicted the message of the 400 prophets.  But he convinced Jehoshaphat to ignore Micaiah and proceed into battle against the prophets warning.  And to silence him he said “Put this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace”.

That obviously didn’t happen.  Ahab tries to trick the enemy by disguising himself going into battle.  The enemy was focused on killing him, and while they had Jehoshaphat in their fingers, God intervened and drew them away.  But Ahab wasn’t so lucky.  “A certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate”.  Even with the disguise and strategy to keep Ahab under the radar, God’s prophecy happens and Ahab dies in battle.  God will never be mocked by the plans of man.  Ahab’s fate happens exactly as God planned and stated through His prophet.  The same is true in everything today.  God’s plans always happen as He intends!

2 Chronicles 17

2 Chronicles 17 has Jehoshaphat taking the throne after his father Asa passes.  Asa was generally a good king (though he did not finish well) and Jehoshaphat his son followed in his footsteps and the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David.  Jehoshaphat was able to wade through the good and the bad of his dad, and focus on doing what God desired.  He “sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel”.

Jehoshaphat walked in obedience.  He sets the standard for how we walk successfully with God.  Scripture paints a picture of two possible outcomes.  Your destiny, as an individual and as a nation, can either be like that of Judah or Israel. You should follow the example of Judah, not the acts of Israel.  The writer makes that distinction clear.  Jehoshaphat went further than Asa had in restoring things to God’s ways.  “His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord”.  He did what was right, not what was popular.

Jehoshaphat takes some important steps to restore the kingdom to God’s Word.  He sent leaders to the cities to teach the people, “having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them”.  He sends out sixteen men to teach, and the nation became thoroughly instructed in the Word of God, including their obligation to the king, and to each other. They became as one; and against a people united on God’s principles, no enemy could ever overcome them.  He didn’t equip them with walls and armor, but with the Word of God.

And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat”.  Not only did they not make war, they sent gifts to build a strong relationship.  His teaching also created an army of dedicated and courageous men who surrounded him.  They were not doing battle, but were prepared and committed none the less.  He set aside commanders and had over 860,000 mighty men that were in the service of the king.  God’s Word changes people.  Jehoshaphat understands the power of God’s Word.

2 Chronicles 16

2 Chronicles 16 is the story of King Asa and how he dealt with some of the challenges in his kingdom and his life.  It is “thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa” and Baasha king of Israel comes to lay siege to Judah to prevent Asa getting any supplies or help.  There continues to be a struggle for dominance between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Baasha gained the upper hand in the days of Asa because he effectively blocked a main route into Judah at the city of Ramah. He hoped this military and economic pressure on Judah would force Asa into significant concessions.

Asa reaches out to the king of Syria and sends him gold and silver and asks for his help dealing with Baasha and his kingdom.  The king agrees and goes into Israel taking a number of cities and pulling Baasha’s attention away from Asa to his own land.  “Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah”.  Asa turns this into an opportunity to use the work that had been going on as a way to source a couple projects he wanted to accomplish, so a win-win for him.

God sends Hanai the seer to Asa to let him know that God was not pleased with his actions.  Asa had relied on the king of Syria rather than God to help him in this time of need.  “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars”.  It was a bad decision.  Far too often we rely on our own resources and abilities to fix our problems.  God makes it clear to Asa that he should have come to God, not man, for his aid.

Asa doesn’t like the message from Hanai and throws him in stocks.  Even after God’s discipline, Asa fails again.  “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians”.  Once again God is not pleased because Asa takes matters into his own hands and tries to address his physical problem on his own through human means.  God wants us to come to Him with all things, and to rely on Him, not our own means, to deal with the real challenges in life!

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