Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Thames River, London

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for May 17, 2 Chr 25-27

Today's readings are 2 Chr 25-27.

We read about Amaziah’s downfall in 1 Kgs 14. 2 Chr 25 gives us some detail about Amaziah explaining what went wrong. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord but "not with a whole heart" (2 Chr 25:2). He also failed to remove the high places, and the people of Judah worshiped and sacrificed to other gods (1 Kgs 14:4). Amaziah's unwillingness to fully remove pagan worship early in his reign, along with his growing pride will prove to be his undoing much further down the road as we will see in 2 Chr 26.

Amaziah hires mercenaries from Israel's army to help fight against Edom (Seir). God sends a prophet to tell him to depend on Him, not other people. Amaziah listens to the prophet and sends the Israeli soldiers home, but that angers them (2 Chr 25:5-13). They attack Jerusalem while Amaziah is fighting Edom. 

Amaziah wins against Edom, but amazingly he brings their gods and idols back to Jerusalem and begins to worship them. Once again, a prophet warns Amaziah. This time he does not listen (2 Chr 25:14-16).

Flush with a major victory, Amaziah turns his aggression toward Israel primarily because the mercenaries he hired attacked Judah while he was fighting Edom (2 Chr 25:13). What 1 Kgs 14 did not relate to this incident was that Judah is fully justified in retaliating! Nonetheless, Amaziah has turned his back on God, defied His word and will fight Israel without God's protection.

Amaziah is learning a harsh lesson. No one should expect God’s blessing and provision if they are filled with pride and devoting their worship to anything or anyone other than God. Moving out from under His protection can be devastating.

These high places that seem to be a constant presence in Judah will ultimately be part of Judah's downfall.

2 Chr 26:1-15 fills us in on Uzziah (called "Azariah” in 1 Kgs 15). He is a good king, technologically advanced and able to expand Judah's territory rather dramatically. 
Later in his reign, Uzziah gets prideful and turns away from God. As punishment, God turns him into a leper (2 Chr 26:16-23).

Just as we saw in Joshua as the twelve tribes failed to occupy the land they were given, we are watching the kings of Israel and Judah as they fail to remove the high places. Both kingdoms suffer the long-term disastrous results of allowing idol worship to continue in their kingdoms. We see that God's people must be determined to do whatever it takes to remove sin from their lives. Putting up with "a little" sin and tolerating ungodly behavior tends to allow those influences to expand and grow only to cause much bigger problems further down the road.

Jotham (another good king who makes the mistake of not removing the high places) takes Uzziah’s place (2 Chr 27:1-2). Jotham strengthens Judah and becomes mighty “because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God” (2 Chr 27:3-9). Ahaz takes his place.


If we look at the bigger picture, a pattern emerges, one that reveals a fundamental truth about our relationship with God. When Judah is obedient and places God first, above all other things, they experience peace and prosperity. When they turn away from God, they go through wars and suffer defeat. Furthermore, whenever they fail to purge all idol worship from their midst, the idols eventually become part of their downfall. 

This is a sobering reminder to us today. We live in a world that constantly demands our attention and can cause us to move our relationship with God to the back burner while we tend to matters that seem more urgent in nature. Our peace and well-being, like Judah’s, depends solely on our relationship and intimacy with God. He is to be our highest priority and our heart’s desire. 

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