We covered 286 years (872 B.C. – 586 B.C.) and 16 kings this week as we wrapped up 2 Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 17-20 were dealing with the very good, but not perfect, King Jehoshaphat of the southern kingdom, Judah. When he became king, he trained and sent out men to teach God’s laws and commands to the people throughout the land. He seemed to understand that knowledge of God’s commands is the first step of obedience. He fortified their cities and build up a great army. The surrounding nations were afraid of Judah and there was peace in the land.
Later on, he made an alliance with King Ahab, the evil king of Israel. This was a big mistake and it angered God. But then, Jehoshaphat set his heart to seek God, instituted some reforms, and brought the people back to God.
A time of faithfulness, peace and prosperity follows, but then the nations of Ammon and Moab decide to bring a hug horde of an army against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah. King J was concerned and afraid. He sought the Lord, assembled all the people together in Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast, and led the people in prayer. In this prayer, he praised God, acknowledged His help and deliverance in the nation’s history, and professed complete dependence on God. He said, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You,” (2 Chr. 20:12). I LOVE THAT!!! Then a prophet spoke up and said, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is the Lord’s,” (2 Chr. 20:15). “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf,” (2 Chr. 20:17). So the next morning they go out to face their enemies and King J puts his biggest, baddest boys on the front lines, right? Wrong! He put the choir on the front lines and they led out in singing praises to God!!! Praise proceeded the victory. This confused their enemies who turned on each other and wiped each other out. Judah did not have to lift a finger. God gave them the victory because the battle was His!
After King J died, his son, Jehoram became king and was evil. His evil mother (Athaliah) killed all his sons (she thought) and made herself queen. His youngest son was hidden and brought out 6 years later and anointed as king and Athaliah was executed. Joash was a good king. He took down idol worship and restored the temple. After he died, his son Amaziah became king. He outwardly did what was right, but did not serve God wholeheartedly. He was defeated and killed in battle.
Next came Uzziah, who reigned 52 years and was good. He sought the Lord and prospered and so did the nation. (Seeking God seems to be pretty important, huh?). After he died, his son Jotham reigned 16 years and was a good king, but the people were corrupt and would not follow him. When he died his son, Ahaz reigned 16 years and was very evil. He brought in idol worship and child sacrifices.
Next came the very good King Hezekiah. He destroyed the idols, repaired the temple, got the Levites and priests back doing the worship and sacrifices properly. Reinstated the Passover Feast. King Hezekiah obeyed God and prospered. King Sennecherib of Assyria came with his mighty army against Judah. Hezekiah led the people in prayer and God sent an angel to defeat the Assyrian army (2 Chr. 32:20). God plus any number is a majority. Battle won.
After Hezekiah died, his son Manasseh became king, reigned 55 years and was super duper evil. He was taken captive and cried out to God for help. He sincerely repented and God forgave him and restored him back to Jerusalem as king. There is no sin too big for God to forgive. His grace is amazing. (I think there might be a song about that.)
After Manasseh, his son Amon became king, reigned 2 years and was killed by his servants. His son Josiah became king at age 8. While still a young man, he began to seek God. He tore down the idols, cleaned and restored the temple and read the word of God to the people. The people renewed their covenant with God. Josiah went into a battle against King Necho of Egypt at Megiddo. God had told him not to go. He was killed.
The in the last chapter, we went through the last 4 kings of Judah and they were all evil. King Nebuchanezzar from Babylon sweeps through Judah and begins conquering and taking some of the Jews captive in 605 B.C. In 586 B.C., he leads the Babylonians through Jerusalem burning down and destroying the temple, the palaces, and the city wall. Those who were not killed were taken captive to Babylon.
Two reasons are given for the fall of the nation: continued idolatry and failure to give the land 70 sabbatical years. 608 times in 17 books of the Bible, God told the people that this day of captivity would come. Once again, God kept His word.
But the book does not end without hope. We are told that after 70 years the faithful would be allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.
There were so many lessons in this book about seeking God, obeying God, trusting God. Over and over we saw God keep His promises. He always does. Count on it!
Are you facing a battle in your life? I would encourage you to pray and seek God with all your heart. Remember: “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him,” (2 Chr. 16:9). Let Him take charge. The battle is the Lord’s.
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