Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for June 29, 2 Chron 19-23

Today's readings are 2 Chronicles 19-23. Tomorrow's is Obadiah 1. 

Much to be learned from today's story of Jehoshaphat and his reign. 

In ch 19, Jehoshaphat returns to Jerusalem. Jehu, a prophet of God, chastises Jehoshaphat for allying himself with wicked king Ahab. Jehoshaphat repents and institutes many reforms in Judah, turning the nation back toward God. He re-invigorates the Levitical priesthood and gives them authority to judge. 

Then, some of the nations that the Jews showed mercy to when first arriving in Canaan and taking the land, suddenly turn on Judah and attack. Jehoshaphat calls out to the Lord who miraculously delivers Judah. 

It is no coincidence that these attacks happen just as Jehoshaphat makes a strong commitment to godliness. God frequently allows a vow to be tested just to reveal our level of sincerity and commitment. Jehoshaphat passes that test marvelously, by turning to God for help. God responds in such a way that no one but He can get glory for the victory. 

Amazingly, after the victory, Jehoshaphat makes an alliance with yet another wicked king of Israel, Ahaziah. They agree to build ships to go to Tarshish (Spain). Another prophecy goes forth, condemning the venture. The ships all sink. Apparently Jehoshaphat still struggles with worldly issues in spite of being a godly man. Those unchecked compromises he continues to make will complicate matters in generations to come. He dies, leaving the kingdom to his son, Jehoram. 

Jehoram immediately kills all of his brothers, along with some of the leaders of Israel. Jehoram is no better than the wicked kings of Israel. Edom and Libnah, to the West, revolt. 

Jehoram leads Judah dramatically away from God. The Philistines and the Arabians, tools in the hands of God, Himself, attack from the East. Meanwhile, Elijah prophesies a plague on Jehoram, his family and his people. Elijah accurately prophesies that Jehoram will die painfully from a "disease of the bowels" and the prophecy is fulfilled when Jehoram dies an agonizing death. Whatever slippery slope his father was on has accelerated in Jehoram, ultimately ending in his doom as well. 

Here's the lesson learned in this. When one generation compromises, the next generation takes that as the norm, then makes their own compromise...and so it continues until someone repents and turns back the the Lord. Jehoram's scriptural epitaph is one of the saddest and most tragic in the Bible, "...he departed with no one's regret."

Jehoram's son, Ahaziah (another Ahaziah different from Ahaziah, the king of Israel), assumes the throne of Judah. His mother, Athaliah, is his primary counselor. She is wicked, just like her husband. The situation deteriorates. Ahaziah dies at the hands of Jehu. 

Ahaziah's mother then kills the entire royal family except for Joash, making herself the sole heir to the throne. Athaliah is now queen. Joash is secreted away by Jehoshabeath, the wife of Jehoiada, the priest, and one of Ahaziah's daughters. Joash grows up, hidden in the Temple, protected from the queen. 

When Joash is seven, Jehoiada rallies the priests and the military commanders to establish Joash as king, by virtue of his sonship. 

Athaliah is executed Jehoiada forms an alliance between the priesthood and the military to protect Joash and bring Judah back to the Lord while the young king grows up.

The amazing thing about this complicated story is that God has brought the consequences of their actions down upon the wicked kings (and queen) of Judah while, at the same time, making good on His promise to keep a descendant of David on the throne.

1 comment:

  1. In 2 Chronicles 21:6, it's noted that Jehoram married a daughter of Ahab. The word says, "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 verse indicates that part of the reason Jehoram walked according to Ahab was because he was married to Ahab's daughter. He sinned in aligning himself with evil Ahab, going against God's word. And he listened to the counsel of his evil wife. God called his people to be set apart from the inhabitants of the land. They didn't listen.

    In 2 Chronicles 22:4 we're told that Ahaziah "walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly." This verse suggests that the reason Ahaziah walked in the ways of the house of Ahab was because his mother gave him wicked counsel.

    This is a reminder that we need to guard ourselves against ungodly counsel. We live in an evil world, but we are not of the world. Proverbs 13:20 tells us to walk with the wise and we'll be wise.

    The whole mess written about the evil kings in chapters 21 and 22 is such a great reminder to us today.