The kings of Israel and Judah serve as an example of what God loves and hates, and depending on how their lives are bent—either toward Him or away—the scales of justice will accordingly be swayed.
In these chapters of the Chronicles we see more of the same old song and dance of one king doing what is right in the sight of the LORD and one king doing what is evil before the Creator. God honors obedience and punishes idolatrous hearts. Few kings of Israel from the start to the end of their reign sustained a faithful dedication to the God of the covenant. Why, because the Spirit of the LORD did not reside in their souls (only few under the Old Covenant experienced this). It’s under the New Covenant, inaugurated by the blood of Christ, after the Day of Pentecost, that God unleashed His Spirit for “new birth” to be realized in the saints.
Yet, New Covenant people also sin and at times horribly. Paul, as he’s unpacking the meaning of the Gospel and its implications, addresses this in Romans 6-8 especially in 7 does he consider the war of sin within believers that the non-believer does not experience.
I’ve had my share of dark times and hardness of heart toward the things of God caused by my own idolatrous battles in the soul. Such downfalls often affect our desire to keep on living. I know that’s been true in my journey, how about you friend?
Sometimes the obvious is hidden from us, which among other things, reveals the foolishness within. The Chronicles are coming to a conclusion and several themes are stark. In space time history kings, kingdoms, and God’s activity is not unlike what we today experience. In the Ancient world, they did not have the “news” sources and means of dispersing the latest happenings as we obviously do today, and yet today with so much access to information events and their meanings are too often heralded in a slanted, ambiguous, emotional way that leaves the hearer in a stupor.
If you are like me, it’s difficult to trust what the media, papers, and talking heads bring to us daily. The fact remains that after the “Fall” in Genesis humans are bent to suppress the truth of God (which is all that is true) in unrighteousness. When the text says, “Let God be true and every man a liar” so be it! Why can I trust this statement? Because in every book of the Bible, especially in the Chronicles, the writer recounts the names of kings, their deeds, their triumphs their defeats and then there’s always God in the background who is constantly weaving His divine sovereign will through the significant choices of image bearers. It’s amazing to me.
Moreover, it’s very obvious that the land and worship are intricately connected. Depending on the peoples response to God, be it favorably or negatively, what follows is either blessing or cursing, the latter of which is the result of idolatry in Israel. This roller coaster ride evidenced in redemptive history (as is witnessed in the Old Testament) is a warning to the listening ear to beware, lest the same peril and perdition take place in our individual lives.
The Scriptures are clear that Israel’s faithfulness more often than not waned miserably as she went from idolatry, to captivity, only to be rescued by God’s tender mercies because of the covenant He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All this is a sober reminder that as Israel’s choices, whether negative or positive, correspondingly impacted the community. So do mine and yours friend. Often when we make a mess of things, God is there to clean up the mess through either rescue or judgment. That’s sobering.