1987.) 2 Chronicles 26

December 13, 2016
His pride proves to be his downfall.

His pride proves to be his downfall.

Uzziah Rules in Judah

1 All the people of Judah had crowned Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son, Uzziah, as king in place of his father. 2After his father’s death, Uzziah rebuilt the town of Elath and restored it to Judah.

3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. 5 Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.

I think I would have liked Uzziah. We read of him seeking God, building the nation’s strength, receiving tribute, winning in war, enjoying peace, and farming! Here is a man with the big picture in mind, and a wide range of interests.

6 Uzziah declared war on the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he built new towns in the Ashdod area and in other parts of Philistia. 7 God helped him in his wars against the Philistines, his battles with the Arabs of Gur, and his wars with the Meunites. 8 The Meunites paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful.

9 Uzziah built fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the angle in the wall. 10 He also constructed forts in the wilderness and dug many water cisterns, because he kept great herds of livestock in the foothills of Judah and on the plains. He was also a man who loved the soil. He had many workers who cared for his farms and vineyards, both on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys.

11 Uzziah had an army of well-trained warriors, ready to march into battle, unit by unit. This army had been mustered and organized by Jeiel, the secretary of the army, and his assistant, Maaseiah. They were under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. 12 These regiments of mighty warriors were commanded by 2,600 clan leaders. 13 The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.

14 Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. 15 And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful.

Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment

16 But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar.

Prophet — Priest — King

Azariah violated what had become a general principle in God’s dealing with Israel: that no king should also be a priest, and that the offices of prophet, priest, and king should not be combined in one man – until the Messiah, who fulfilled all three offices.

17 Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men. 18They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!”

19 Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the high priest and all the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him. 21 So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord.


His son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land.

22 The rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord . . . “

This connection between Isaiah and Uzziah is noted in Isaiah 6:1, when the death of the king contributed to the call of the prophet:  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne.

It is important to consider the reign of Uzziah in totality:

  • He began his reign at only 16 years of age.
  • He reigned for 52 years.
  • Overall, he was a good and strong king who led Israel to many military victories and who was an energetic builder and planner.
  • Despite all this, Uzziah had a tragic end.

Therefore, when Isaiah wrote that he was called in the year King Uzziah died, he said a lot. It is to say, “In the year a great and wise king died.” But it is also to say, “In the year a great and wise king who had a tragic end died.” Isaiah had great reason to be discouraged and disillusioned at the death of King Uzziah, because a great king had passed away, and because his life ended tragically. Yet despite it all, he saw the enthroned Lord God who was greater than any earthly king.

–David Guzik

23 When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors; his grave was in a nearby burial field belonging to the kings, for the people said, “He had leprosy.” And his son Jotham became the next king.

2chron26-burial_inscription_uzziah

In a Russian Orthodox monastery located on the Mount of Olives, an inscription was discovered in 1931 bearing the name of King Uzziah. The inscription reads: “To this place, the remains of Uzziah, King of Judah, were placed. Do not disturb.”

This is a valuable non-biblical reference to the existence of a king of David’s line. The plaque is now in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem Collection.

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Music:

It is my hope that during those last years, Uzziah repented of his pride and confessed it as sin to the Lord. God, of course, would have welcomed him back and perhaps worked further goodness and righteousness into Uzziah! And isn’t that a pattern for us all? We confess our sin, and God works in us to bring forth fruits of the spirit and the image of Christ!

HERE  is “Amen,”  by Bob Fitts, which expresses the same idea.  Who knows, maybe some day we will be singing AMEN to Christ together with Uzziah!

For every good thing
God is doing within me
That I cannot see
A – men
And to the healing virtue of Jesus
That’s flowing in me
A – men
For every hope that is still just a dream
By trusting You Lord it becomes reality
I stake my claim seal it in faith
I say amen

A-men (amen)
A-men (amen)
So be it Lord
Your Word endures
A-men

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Uzziah sturuck with leprosy.   https://obscurecharacters.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/uzziah-leper.jpg
Proverbs 16:18.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/proverbs16-181.png
“I saw the Lord.”  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/isaiah-6.jpg

1965.) 2 Chronicles 25

November 11, 2016

“Half-Hearted Cookies” are one thing! Half-hearted obedience to God is quite another.

2 Chronicles 25   (NLT)

Amaziah Rules in Judah

Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.

3 When Amaziah was well established as king, he executed the officials who had assassinated his father. 4 However, he did not kill the children of the assassins, for he obeyed the command of the Lord as written by Moses in the Book of the Law: “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.”

2chron25-moses

He obeys the law of Moses.  So far, so good.

5 Then Amaziah organized the army, assigning generals and captains for all Judah and Benjamin. He took a census and found that he had an army of 300,000 select troops, twenty years old and older, all trained in the use of spear and shield. 6 He also paid about 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 experienced fighting men from Israel.

7 But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim! 8 If you let them go with your troops into battle, you will be defeated by the enemy no matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up.”

9 Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”

The man of God replied, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” 10 So Amaziah discharged the hired troops and sent them back to Ephraim.

It is unsettling that he hires mercenaries and that he thinks first of the money he spent rather than faithfulness of God. But he obeys the prophet, even at a loss of profit! Good for him.

This made them very angry with Judah, and they returned home in a great rage.

11 Then Amaziah summoned his courage and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where they killed 10,000 Edomite troops from Seir. 12 They captured another 10,000 and took them to the top of a cliff and threw them off, dashing them to pieces on the rocks below.

13 Meanwhile, the hired troops that Amaziah had sent home raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder.

14 When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them!

What?!  An ungrateful, even irrational response!

15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?”

16 But the king interrupted him and said, “Since when have I made you the king’s counselor? Be quiet now before I have you killed!”

This further ungrateful response is a direct rejection of God.

So the prophet stopped with this warning: “I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel.”

17 After consulting with his advisers, King Amaziah of Judah sent this challenge to Israel’s king Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu: “Come and meet me in battle!”

He doesn’t like this counsel, so he goes elsewhere to get the advice he wants / to confirm his own intentions.  (Where have we seen this before in 2 Chronicles?  –or in my own heart?)

18 But King Jehoash of Israel replied to King Amaziah of Judah with this story: “Out in the Lebanon mountains, a thistle sent a message to a mighty cedar tree: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ But just then a wild animal of Lebanon came by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it!

19 “You are saying, ‘I have defeated Edom,’ and you are very proud of it. But my advice is to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?”

20 But Amaziah refused to listen, for God was determined to destroy him for turning to the gods of Edom. 21 So King Jehoash of Israel mobilized his army against King Amaziah of Judah. The two armies drew up their battle lines at Beth-shemesh in Judah.

Now let’s guess what will happen.  How about humiliating defeat and loss of national wealth?

22 Judah was routed by the army of Israel, and its army scattered and fled for home. 23 King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s king, Amaziah son of Joash and grandson of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. Then he brought him to Jerusalem, where he demolished 600 feet of Jerusalem’s wall, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. 24 He carried off all the gold and silver and all the articles from the Temple of God that had been in the care of Obed-edom. He also seized the treasures of the royal palace, along with hostages, and then returned to Samaria.

25 King Amaziah of Judah lived on for fifteen years after the death of King Jehoash of Israel. 26 The rest of the events in Amaziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

I must confess:  I have always thought it was unfortunate that these ancient books were lost.  However, now that we are deep into 2 Chronicles, I am thinking it is a good thing. How depressing to read even more of these records of half-heartedness, unfaithfulness, idolatry, revenge, disobedience, assassination, destruction, stupidity . . .

27 After Amaziah turned away from the Lord, there was a conspiracy against his life in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But his enemies sent assassins after him, and they killed him there. 28 They brought his body back on a horse, and he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David.

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Music:

It is a short distance from Amaziah’s half-hearted devotion to God —  to my own.  How grateful I am that I can find God’s grace and forgiveness “At the Cross.”  HERE.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
cookies.    http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0159/1210/products/half_hearted_cookies_lg_1024x1024.jpg?v=1343686898
Moses and the law.    http://www.clipartkid.com/images/837/clipart-moses-with-the-ten-commandments-2-YKygDg-clipart.jpg
money flying away.    http://coolsunlight.com/wps/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/money-flying-away-loosing-broke-bankrupt-100613674-primary.idge_.jpg
cat.    http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/what_are_you_doing.jpg
I did it my way.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/2b0ce-ididitmyway-proverbs16verse25.jpg
It won’t work.    http://lucyinnovation.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/failure.gif
sad face.    http://inlandpolitics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Sad-Emoticon.jpg

1963.) 2 Chronicles 24

November 9, 2016

“The Murder of Zechariah” by William Brassey Hole (1846-1917)

2 Chronicles 24   (NLT)

Joash Repairs the Temple (Joash’s Reform)

Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.  3Jehoiada chose two wives for Joash, and he had sons and daughters.

4 At one point Joash decided to repair and restore the Temple of the Lord. 5 He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions: “Go to all the towns of Judah and collect the required annual offerings, so that we can repair the Temple of your God. Do not delay!” But the Levites did not act immediately.

6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord, levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant.”

7 Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal.

8 So now the king ordered a chest to be made and set outside the gate leading to the Temple of the Lord.

2chron24-chest

9 Then a proclamation was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem, telling the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, the servant of God, had required of the Israelites in the wilderness. 10 This pleased all the leaders and the people, and they gladly brought their money and filled the chest with it.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8   (NIV)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

11 Whenever the chest became full, the Levites would carry it to the king’s officials. Then the court secretary and an officer of the high priest would come and empty the chest and take it back to the Temple again. This went on day after day, and a large amount of money was collected. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the construction supervisors, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the Temple of the Lord. They also hired metalworkers, who made articles of iron and bronze for the Lord’s Temple.

The reform of Joash was, in fact, one of the significant landmarks in the development of the upkeep of the Temple. This is not principally because of the apparent extent of the repairs, which was considerable. It can be imagined how much routine repair would have been necessary on a building as large, opulent—and by now as old!—as Solomon’s Temple. The importance of the change lies in the shifting of financial responsibility for the upkeep from king to people; the people recognized that the way of blessing was that of obedience.

–J. G. McConville

13 The men in charge of the renovation worked hard and made steady progress. They restored the Temple of God according to its original design and strengthened it. 14 When all the repairs were finished, they brought the remaining money to the king and Jehoiada. It was used to make various articles for the Temple of the Lord—articles for worship services and for burnt offerings, including ladles and other articles made of gold and silver. And the burnt offerings were sacrificed continually in the Temple of the Lord during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.

15 Jehoiada lived to a very old age, finally dying at 130. 16 He was buried among the kings in the City of David, because he had done so much good in Judah for God and his Temple.

Jehoiada’s Reforms Reversed (Joash’s Apostasy)

17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem.

Such a betrayal!  Such a fatal weakness of character!

19Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.

20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now he has abandoned you!”

____________________

Music:

by Mary Engelbreit

by Mary Engelbreit

“You have abandoned the Lord”; other versions say forsaken, or deserted.  The opposite is James 4:8, which says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  That verse and this song, “Jesus, Draw Me Close,”  HERE,  serve to counter the disgraceful attitude shown in Joash above.

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21 Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple. 22 That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!”

Joash did not seek God. So with his last breath, Zechariah asks God to seek Joash.

Hebrews 10:30-31   (NKJV)

For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The End of Joash’s Reign

23 In the spring of the year the Aramean army marched against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the nation. Then they sent all the plunder back to their king in Damascus. 24Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lord helped them conquer the much larger army of Judah. The people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so judgment was carried out against Joash.

25 The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed. Then he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery. 26 The assassins were Jozacar, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shomer.

27 The account of the sons of Joash, the prophecies about him, and the record of his restoration of the Temple of God are written in The Commentary on the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah became the next king.

Have you ever read the short story by the Southern American writer Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) called “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”? In the closing scene, an escaped convict, called “The Misfit,” kills the grandmother, a woman who has been more concerned about looking like a good Christian than being one. As he looks at her dead body, The Misfit remarks:

“She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

I think of this line in relation to Joash. He, like the grandmother, is a phony, and is good only under direction and pretense. Once Jehoiada dies, Joash has no godly character of his own to guide him.  Unfortunately, Joash does not get the opportunity for a deathbed revelation of truth, the way O’Connor’s grandmother does.

I do recommend the story to you!  O’Connor was a devout Christian whose works center on God’s mysterious grace.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Hole.    http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/The-murder-of-Zechariah.html
a chest outside the gate.   http://distantshores.org/images/rg/14/14_2Ch_24_02_RG.jpg
God loveth a cheerful giver.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/d9/08/2d/d9082d4b259c6bdaf4b9dd7941f81175.jpg
Solomon’s Temple.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/49/c6/27/49c6279f1d2c7c1aaadc11de64e2cccd.jpg
Engelbreit.   http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/specialagentoso/images/0/01/Draw_near_to_god_by_mary_engelbreit.png/revision/latest?cb=20140609100840
Flannery O’Connor.    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/4/22/1240415111859/Flannery-OConnor-001.jpg

1957.) 2 Chronicles 23

November 1, 2016

Little Boy Joash crowned king

2 Chronicles 23   (NLT)

Revolt against Athaliah

1 In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri. 2 These men traveled secretly throughout Judah and summoned the Levites and clan leaders in all the towns to come to Jerusalem. 3They all gathered at the Temple of God, where they made a solemn pact with Joash, the young king.

Jehoiada is the husband of Jehosheba, the woman who saved little Joash. It is likely that he was a father figure to the child. But he clearly saw his responsibility “as unto the Lord” to bring back a descendant of David to the throne. For all practical purposes, everyone thought that wicked Athaliah had killed off all of David’s line. What a wonderful surprise is in store for these godly men, gathered at Jehoiada’s invitation!

Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! The time has come for him to reign! The Lord has promised that a descendant of David will be our king. 4 This is what you must do. When you priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, a third of you will serve as gatekeepers. 5 Another third will go over to the royal palace, and the final third will be at the Foundation Gate. Everyone else should stay in the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 Remember, only the priests and Levites on duty may enter the Temple of the Lord, for they are set apart as holy. The rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7 You Levites, form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to enter the Temple. Stay with the king wherever he goes.”

Again we see how carefully Jehoiada has reasoned things out, so that the restoration of the throne to David’s line will be done decently and in order.

8 So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended. 9 Then Jehoiada supplied the commanders with the spears and the large and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of God.

It was fitting for these soldiers, who would set the heir of David’s royal line back on the throne of Judah, to use these weapons which had belonged to King David.

10 He stationed all the people around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar.

2chron23-joash-the-boy-king

11 Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws.

Deuteronomy 17:18   (ESV)  

And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.

They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”

_________________________

Music:

A little boy king!  HERE  is “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”  by Casting Crowns.

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The Death of Athaliah

12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and the shouts of praise to the king, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. 13When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar at the Temple entrance.

Revelation 5:6   (NIV)  

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Singers with musical instruments were leading the people in a great celebration. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”

“Irony!  Irony!”

14 Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.” 15 So they seized her and led her out to the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and they killed her there.

I am imaging her funeral (although of course she didn’t have one) . . .

“The reason so many people showed up at his funeral was because they wanted to make sure he was dead.”  
–Samuel Goldwyn, referring to fellow film producer Louis B. Mayer 

“The first thing you should do when you get up is read the obituaries. You never know when you’ll see a name that will just make your day.” 
–Ed Salisbury  

“Why is it that we rejoice at a wedding and cry at a funeral ? It is because we are not the person involved.” 
–Mark Twain
  

“You can have money piled to the ceiling but the size of your funeral is still going to depend on the weather.” 
–Chuck Tanner

“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” 
–Garrison Keillor 

Jehoiada’s Religious Reforms

16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people.

One commentator has written, “The climax is not Joash’s coronation but a covenant renewing the nation’s relationship with God.”

17And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

18 Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed.

Jehoiada goes back to the original instructions for worship, from God by way of Moses and David.

19 He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.

20 Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. 21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Joash with crown and scepter.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/joash-king2.jpg
Joash crowned king.   https://missionbibleclass.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/9_joash-the-boy-king.png
white flowers on casket.   http://prunellasonline.com/store/images/uploads/PRU195-3.jpg

1953.) 2 Chronicles 22

October 26, 2016
Saving the baby!

Saving the baby!

2 Chronicles 22   (NLT)

Ahaziah Rules in Judah

1Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.

2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.

5 Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined King Joram, the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded Joram in the battle, 6 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth. Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.

7 But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.

2chr22-black-obelisk

Jehu was a commander in the Israelite army who had accepted a charge from Elijah to seize the throne and eliminate Baal worship from Israel (2 Kings 9:1-10). Apparently there was widespread discontent with Joram’s rule, since Israelite troops readily took Jehu’s side (2 Kings 9:11-20). At Jezreel he killed Joram (2 Kings 9:21-28) and then went on to consolidate his power by killing Jezebel, the entire family of Joram, the ministers of Baal and 42 relatives of Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kings 9:30-10:28). No one was left to oppose him. Now bereft of allies, however, Jehu submitted to Assyria. He paid tribute to Shalmaneser III, as is recorded in the Black Obelisk from Nimrud, discovered in Iraq in 1846 (as pictured above:  Jehu kneeling before Shalmaneser).

–notes from The Archaeological Study Bible

2chr22-jehuobelisk_artistdepiction

When the ancient Assyrian Cuneiform inscription was translated the biblical world was shocked. The inscription reads, “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/07/top-ten-biblical-discoveries-in-archaeology-%E2%80%93-9-jehus-tribute-to-shalmaneser-iii/

8 While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. 9 Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.”

“The final movements of Ahaziah are difficult to trace but may perhaps be reconstructed as follows: he fled south from Jezreel so as to hide in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu, who fatally wounded him near Ibleam (between Jezreel and Samaria); he fled by chariot northwest to Megiddo, where he died (2 Kings 9:27); and his body was carried by Ahaziah’s servants to Jerusalem (2 Kings 9:28), where they buried him.”

–David F. Payne

But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah

10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family.

The King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, had married his son, Jehoram, to Athaliah, the morally bankrupt daughter of Israel’s wicked Ahab and Jezebel.  Politically, this alliance should have minimized the differences between north and south.  Theologically, however, it threatened the Lord’s guarantee that Judah should continue as a state at all.  And the end result is the death of all of Jehoshaphat’s descendants save one.

11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.

“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”  While Athaliah thinks she has everything under her control, there is a baby in a small bedroom in the temple, and God is caring for him! And God is caring for you just as tenderly as he is caring for that little boy in the temple!

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Music:

And how can this story of little Joash not remind us of baby Jesus? Both sons in David’s royal line — both hidden away from a monarch intent on killing them — both purposed to bring people to God.  HERE  Mariah Carey sings “Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child” and I hope you’ll be humming this cheerful number all day long!

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
saving the baby.    http://www.deafmissions.com/inc/devotions/1158994800.jpg
Black Obelisk and artist’s reproduction.       http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/07/top-ten-biblical-discoveries-in-archaeology-%E2%80%93-9-jehus-tribute-to-shalmaneser-iii/
baby boy.    http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/infant-boy-under-blanket.jpg

1944.) 2 Chronicles 21

October 13, 2016

2 Chronicles 21   (NLT)

Jehoram Rules in Judah

1When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.

2 Jehoram’s brothers—the other sons of Jehoshaphat—were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 3 Their father had given each of them valuable gifts of silver, gold, and costly items, and also some of Judah’s fortified towns. However, he designated Jehoram as the next king because he was the oldest. 4 But when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah.

You shall not kill.

Like Rehoboam, Jehoshaphat scattered his sons throughout the kingdom, away from the capital, to give the son who was now king, Jehoram, room to breathe in safety. But Jehoram was intent to strengthen his hand, so he slaughtered not only his brothers, but other leaders as well.

5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters.

Like mother, like daughter. Jehoram’s wife, Athaliah, was Jezebel’s daughter. The two of them are famous for their impiety and cruelty.

So Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 7 But the Lord did not want to destroy David’s dynasty, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever.

8 During Jehoram’s reign, the Edomites revolted against Judah and crowned their own king. 9 So Jehoram went out with his full army and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he went out at night and attacked them under cover of darkness. 10 Even so, Edom has been independent from Judah to this day. The town of Libnah also revolted about that same time. All this happened because Jehoram had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had built pagan shrines in the hill country of Judah and had led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to give themselves to pagan gods and to go astray.

I am the Lord your God.  You shall have no other gods before me.

Again we see such clarity from the Chronicler. The loss of tribute nations is not a result of changing times or some such thing, but is directly traced to Jehoram’s disobedience to God and particularly to his idol worship.

12 Then Elijah the prophet wrote Jehoram this letter:


“This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. 13 Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will suffer with a severe intestinal disease that will get worse each day until your bowels come out.”

16 Then the Lord stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians, to attack Jehoram. 17 They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including the king’s sons and his wives.

My mother used to say, “What you put into the lives of others, comes back into your own.” See how true it is here for Jehoram!

Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared.

18 After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with the severe intestinal disease. 19 The disease grew worse and worse, and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony.

This was a fitting judgment. There was a sense in which Jehoram was rotten spiritually from within; here, God simply caused the physical condition of his body to correspond to the spiritual condition of his soul – so he died in severe pain.

–David Guzik

His people did not build a great funeral fire to honor him as they had done for his ancestors.

20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.

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Music:

HERE  is a reminder of how much we need the Lord! “Nothing Without You”  by Bebo Norman.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Jehoram’s gravestone.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/jehoram_edited.jpg
Ten Commandment tablets.    http://www.gettysburgseminary.org/mhoffman/techxn/wd/Index_files/image008.gif
Jehoram reads Elijah’s letter.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/2_chron_21_12_there_came_a_writing_from_.jpg

1943. 2 Chronicles 20

October 12, 2016

2 Chronicles 20   (NLT)

War with Surrounding Nations

1 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)

This great multitude was a significant threat against Jehoshaphat, whose last experience on the field of battle was a narrow escape from death.

–David Guzik

3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. 4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.

Our son Devlin McGuire, currently in his final year at Princeton Theological Seminary (above), put this video clip together, using a bit of a sermon by David Platt (author of the best-selling book Radical) and the music “Untitled 3” by Sigur Ros.  The subject of the two minute message  HERE  is prayer.

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer

There is a conviction in Jehoshaphat’s prayer of God’s power to change any situation utterly, without the need of human cooperation.  This is still the essence of Christian prayer.  When people’s temporal hopes are gone—and dreams of perfect happiness on earth inevitably prove illusory—the best secular answer is an acquiescent, perhaps bitter, resignation.  Where there is faith  in God, in glorious contrast, the “we do not know what to do” merely leads into “but our eyes are upon thee.”  There is no excuse for Christian hopelessness.

–J. G. McConville

5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! 7 O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. 9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’

10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. 11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”

2chr20-v12

Adam Clarke called this “One of the most sensible, pious, correct, and as to its composition one of the most elegant prayers ever offered under the Old Testament dispensation.”

I have often prayed this last verse! Lord, I do not know what to do next, so my eyes are on You. And somehow the next step is made clear.

The Oracle and Response

Jahaziel the Levite declares that this victory will, in a special way, be God’s alone. Jehoshaphat and his army will have the role of onlookers on this occasion. The Lord will prove himself trustworthy to those who are wholly committed to God, to those who are staking wealth and welfare on the outcome and leaning entirely on the strength of the Lord.

13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.

15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

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16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.

20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

J. B. Rotherham’s translation (Emphasized Bible, 1902) of 2 Chronicles 20:20 has a word of joy for us all:  Trust ye in the Lord your God and ye shall be trusted. We shall be trusted with answers to prayer which are not what we desired, as well as with those which are. Isn’t it wonderful to be trusted like that, with just anything God wants and sees is best?

–Amy Carmichael

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:

“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”

They did not rest on their own merits or even the merits of Abraham, Moses, or David. They trusted and rested on the enduring mercy of God.

The Victory

The nation is restored to a state of blessing, characterized by riches, possession of her land, the inspiration of fear in her enemies, and joyful worship in the Temple.

22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.

25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.

Psalm 60:12   (NIV)

With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies.

27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies. 28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord.

29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

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Music:

Could God do it?  Yes, God could!  What a great story!  And what a fun song!  “Can He? Could He? Would He? Did He?  (Yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did!)” performed for you  HERE  with all good cheer by the Ernie Haase Signature Sound!

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Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign

31So Jehoshaphat ruled over the land of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.

32 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. 33 During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.

34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Jehu Son of Hanani, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Israel.

35 Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. 36 Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.

The Chronicler makes an explicit link between the foundering of Jehoshaphat’s ships, before they earned him a penny, and this unholy alliance with another wicked king of Israel. And so a reign that was in many ways glorious, ends on this sad and unsatisfying note.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Keep calm and trust God.    http://ih2.redbubble.net/work.5919464.3.flat,550×550,075,f.keep-calm-and-trust-god.jpg
verse 12.  https://airmiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/2011-12-261.jpg 
verse 15.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/66/f1/0d/66f10d8bb6a5d28124d8e5bfab1f9409.jpg