09 April 2016

Stone 14 - 2 Chronicles

Last week we reviewed the history up through the reign of King David and Solomon takes over as king. In 2 Chronicles we will continue this redemptive account.

Unity in Israel
Right away in verse two we see Solomon speaking to "all Israel" as the author again places importance on the fact that Israel is united. After hearing about Solomon and his request for wisdom (2Chr 1:10), we jump to the building of the temple (2Chr 2:1) and have several chapters detailing the project.

What I think is important here is not so much the details of the temple but that the temple was built. This was something that made the reign of Solomon great and the nation of Israel prospered in unity.

Obedience is Key
Who does not expect their instructions to be followed when they are given? After completion of the temple, God reminds Solomon about obedience and the consequences of failing to be obedient to Him (2Chr 7:17-22).

After Solomon passes away, his son Rehoboam becomes king. Initially he is king over all of Israel (2Chr 10:1), but many of the Israelites came to him to seek a lighter work burden that had been given to them by Solomon (2Chr 10:4). Rehoboam, however, responded to them harshly based on the counsel of some young friends rather than the elders (2Chr 10:13-14). This act of poor judgement ended up causing the division of Israel into the ten northern tribes and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south.

A Divided Nation - Remember to Obey
Things went well for Rehoboam for three years (2Chr 11:17) until he walked away from the Lord (2Chr 12:1-2) and they were invaded (2Chr 12:5).

After Rehoboam had passed, his son Abijah took over. We are told of a big victory for Abijah over Jeroboam and the northern tribes (2Chr 13:16-18).

After Abijah had passed, his son Asa took over (2Chr 14:1). Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and prospered for many years until he established a treaty with king Ben-hadad of Aram to help with a battle against King Baasha of the northern tribes (2Chr 16:2-3). This was foolish because he should have sought the help of the Lord instead (2Chr 16:7-9).

After Asa had passed, his son Jehoshaphat became king (2Chr 17:1). Jehoshaphat was also successful for a long time. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and as a result peace was had (2Chr 20:30)

After Jehoshaphat passed away, his son Jehoram became king (2Chr 21:1). Jehoram, however, did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Jehoram led Judah astray and was punished as a result of it (2Chr 21:12-15).

Ahaziah became king after his father passed away (2Chr 22:1) but did not reign long (v.2). He did evil in the sight of the Lord and was killed by Jehu (2Chr 22:9), at which point, his mother Athaliah steps up and starts killing off the heirs to the throne (2Chr 22:10). Now Joash was one of the heirs but was hidden away (v.11).

Once Athaliah had been disposed of, Joash, at a young age of seven, became king but did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2Chr 24:1-2) for many years even taking efforts to rebuild the temple, but died shortly after when he walked away from the Lord after Jehoiada the priest died.

Amaziah, son of Joash, became king after Joash was assassinated (2Chr 24:27). What is interesting to note here is that the author states that Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord but not completely (2Chr 25:2).

**Okay - for the record - partial obedience is not good enough. Ever had a moment with one of your children or perhaps an employee where you confront them about something that was not done correctly and they try to justify or rationalize it away because of all the other stuff that they did right or perhaps compare to a sibling or coworker about their mistakes?
"Yeah, but I did this and this and this...!"
"Well, at least I did this and so-and-so didn't do that."
"But Jimmy did that and He didn't get in trouble..."
You get the idea... It simply is not OK to do what you feel like doing and to try to cover up when you know it doesn't measure up.**

So Amaziah sometimes listens and sometimes does not and this warrants consequences just as disobedience among children or employees warrants consequences. Amaziah slips into idolatry and a prophet asks a great question about why he would want to worship a god of a nation he just defeated since that nation's god did not deliver them from his own hand?... (2Chr 25:14-15).

After Amaziah, Uzziah became king in place of his father (2Chr 26:1). In verse 5 we read that Uzziah sought God during the lifetime of Zechariah. This is not unlike Joash who sought God up until Jehoiada died. Now Uzziah was only 16 and Joash was 7 when they took the throne. It was good that they had strong mentors that kept them seeking God. Too bad that they fell away when their mentors passed. In 26:16 we read of Uzziah doing a foolish thing and becoming afflicted with a skin disease.

Uzziah's son Jotham became king in his place (2Chr 26:23). Jotham did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and was strengthened despite the people still being corrupt (2Chr 27:2,6). When he passed away his son Ahaz became king.

Ahaz was evil in the sight of the Lord by worshipping other gods. When he passed away, his son Hezekiah became king.

Here we read about the good that Hezekiah had done by removing false gods and idols, giving offereings, worshipping God at the temple, and celebrating Passover. We also learn of the victory that Hezekiah had over Sennacherib who scoffed at them (2Chr 32:17).

Manasseh, Hezekiah's son, became king in his place and was evil in the Lord's sight. In fact, 33:9 tells us that they did worse evil than the nations that were destroyed before the Israelites. It seemed that Manasseh learned the hard way about who was the real Lord (2Chr 33:10-13).

When Manasseh died, his son Amon became king and did evil. He did not reign long before his own servants killed him (2Chr 33:21,24).

Josiah, at the young age of eight became king when Amon died. Josiah did what was right and began getting rid of the altars and idols, he repaired the temple, and found the Book of the Law. Josiah was immediately distraught and felt bad but it was too late for Judah. (At this point in time the northern tribe had fallen to the Assyrians about 100 years earlier). Judah was going to fall too, but not during Josiah's reign (2Chr 34:26-28).

After Josiah died, his son Jehoahaz became king for three months followed by his brother Jehoiakim who reigned for 11 years doing evil (2Chr 36:5). He was captured by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (2Chr 36:6).

Jehoiakim had a son named Jehoiachin who took his place for only a few months. Nebuchadnezzar captured him and made his brother Zedekiah king (2Chr 36:10). Zedekiah did evil in the eyes of the Lord and later rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar which did not turn out so well for him. The Chaldeans came and wiped them out and destroyed Jerusalem, temple and all (2Chr 36:19-20) and took all the survivors to Babylon where they remained as servants for 70 years (v21).

We finish with King Cyrus after the 70 year period allowing the Israelites to return and rebuild.

**Notice that 2 Chronicles focuses on the tribe of Judah with little mention of the northern tribes. Remember that Jesus is to come from this line. Notice how despite all of the wickedness committed by the people of Israel and Judah that God still remains faithful. 2 Chronicles is more than just a review of history - it is a reminder of the hope and blessing we can have if we are just obedient to the Lord. Fully obedient and not just half-way.

Next week we will take a look at Ezra.

No comments: