Synopsis 2Chron 35:21-36:5 5/28/2020
During much of Josiah’s reign, Israel was at peace. But there were major shifts going around them between the larger regional powers. And Egypt was a part of this.
Josiah made the decision to engage Egypt. And, even though Egypt actively avoided the fight, the king of Jerusalem engaged. Unfortunately, Josiah was killed as a result of the battle. Naturally, he was buried with honor. And the people lamented his death.
The people chose Jehoahaz as the next king. So, when he was twenty-three years old, he began his reign. However, he reigned for only three months. After this, the Egyptian King Neco, deposed him. In fact, Neco imprisoned Jehoahaz in Egypt. And, he made Jehoiakim, Jehoahaz’s older brother, king in Jerusalem. Neco also took a large sum of money as tribute.
Josiah disastrously fought against Egypt. In making this decision, he allied himself with Egypt’s enemies. And this alliance cost him his life.
I suppose that everyone, at some time in their life, seeks an ally. But aligning myself with other people who are motivated by their own ambitions always carries risks. Once an alliance is made, it can be tough to break. Especially if I’ve benefited from the relationship.
And this is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of relationship with God. The wisdom of God is imparted through His word. For this reason, I have a special opportunity – I can know God’s word.
Knowing God’s word means I have access to God’s wisdom. And acting through God’s wisdom is what it means to align myself with God.
This is an alliance in friendship and followership that never fails.
“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14
Synopsis 2Chron 35:11-20 5/27/2020
Josiah’s Passover was an overwhelming success. Not only did the people repent, but the priests and Levites regained their full station, as King David had originally established.
In fact, concerning Josiah’s Passover, the people said no king had ever celebrated the feast so well.
Josiah’s Empowering Vision
God gives vision for the things that could be. In Josiah’s case, God conveyed this vision through His written word.
And when Josiah’s grasped this and made the vision his own, God was able to work miraculously through the faithful king.
It’s interesting to me to think that I am no less empowered than the great King Josiah. I have His word. And, His word is filled with a vision for what might be.
“His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.” 2Peter 1:3
Synopsis 2Chron 34:32-35:10 5/27/2020
After the law of Moses was discovered in the Temple, Josiah led all of Jerusalem in repentance. As a result, the people removed their idols and purified the nation of false religion. And, as had been done on numerous occasions in the past, King Josiah reappointed the priests once more.
After these things, Josiah prepared the city to celebrate the Passover once again. In fact, Josiah hosted a great Passover celebration. To this, he contributed thirty thousand lambs and goats plus three thousand oxen. So, the people celebrated a wonder and joyous Passover in Jerusalem.
Josiah’s Joyful Returning
It was a joy for Josiah and the people to repent and return to the Lord. Clearly, they enjoyed celebrating the Passover. But more importantly, they enjoyed reconnecting with their ancestors in the tradition.
These were the chosen people. Because of the tradition established by God with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, the meaning of Israelite life was tied to this tradition. So, repentance brought them back to the very meaning and significance of their lives.
My meaning comes from God. So, repentance is both a restoration of my relationship with God and reconnection to the meaning of my life.
In humility and in sacrament, I come to be renewed. And renewal is joy.
“For I will slake the thirst of the faint; the appetite of all the weary I will satisfy.” Jer 31:25
Synopsis 2Chron 34:22-31 5/26/2020
There was an uproar in Jerusalem. King Josiah had ordered the Temple to be repaired. In the process, the long-lost Law of Moses was discovered. So, the king had a scribe read the book to him.
Not surprisingly, he was shocked by what he heard. Immediately, he realized that the people were not behaving in accordance with the law. And so, he directed the priests to inquire from God what to do.
For their part, the priests went to a prophetess named Huldah. And she reported that God had determined to inflict the curses that had been written in the book. However, because of Josiah’s heart of repentance, the curses would not begin until after his time.
After this, the king called the leaders, and all the people of Jerusalem together. So, they met at the Temple. And there, Josiah had the law read to all the people. What’s more, he made a covenant with God to always obey the commands found in the Law of Moses.
Josiah Humbled Himself
The key to Josiah’s repentance was humility. Even though he was the king, he humbled himself before the Lord. Because of their position and power, many of his predecessors responded in the exactly opposite way.
Humbled and Heartsick
There are so many ways that a person might respond to the sudden realization that they have done something wrong. But Josiah’s example avoids all the justifications or academic speculations that I am personally prone to. Instead, he owned the failure and committed to repairing the damage.
His way was direct and actionable. And God honored that.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” James 4:10
Synopsis 2Chron 34:11-21 5/25/2020
Josiah was king over Israel. During the course of his reign, he decided to renovate the Temple. So, he put the Levites in charge of the repairs.
As the work progressed, Hilkiah the priest discovered a book. And, it turned out, this was the long-lost Law of Moses. The book of the law had been misplaced many years before. Now that it had been rediscovered, Josiah wanted to know what it said. And so, a scribe named Shaphan read the book of the law to the king.
Josiah immediately realized that the nation was not following the way of the Lord. As a result, he tore his cloths in lament. Afterward, he directed the priests to make an inquiry with the Lord. As a result, he desired to repent and make restitution as the Lord might require.
Josiah was ignorant of the law. God’s word had been misplaced. So, presumably, only the oral tradition remained.
However, once he became aware of the law, Josiah immediately repented.
In a similar moment of revelation, Paul once quoted the prophet Isaiah. Specifically, he wrote, “…Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
The question is never one of whether or not God will speak to me. The question is whether or not I will respond when he speaks to me.
“For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2Cor 6:2
Synopsis 2Chron 34:1-10 5/20/2020
After his prison internment, King Manasseh made good his repentance. So, he followed through on his commitment to remove idols from the Temple. Even so, the people had once again begun worshipping on the high places throughout the nation.
After this, Manasseh died. And he was replaced as king by his son whose name was Amnon. However, King Amnon was renowned for doing evil against God and the people. As a result, his own officials assassinated him after only two years.
But, the people reacted against the assassins. In a popular revolt, they killed the high officials who had plotted against the king. And then, the people made Amnon’s young son their new king. His name was Josiah.
The Power of the King
Amnon was killed as an act of the will of one group of people. And Josiah was made king by an act of another group of people. No one involved feared killing of the Lord’s anointed. And no one in opposition, sought out the will of God in naming a new king.
It was a negotiation in violence. This is social contract.
Moral Authority and Social Contract
Even for men who reject revelation, there is typically an acknowledged difference between legitimate authority and moral authority. So, what we typically describe as “legitimate authority” is that which is derived from the nature of our relationship to other people. This kind of authority is the result of a transaction. It comes from giving and taking.
This is our social contract.
But, moral authority springs forth from a person’s response to their circumstances based on the light of truth alone.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Synopsis 2Chron 33:3-13 5/19/2020
King Manasseh replaced King Hezekiah after his death. But Manasseh did not follow in his father’s ways.
Instead, he reinstituted idol worship throughout Jerusalem and the southern kingdom. Eventually, he was arrested and chained. During his imprisonment, he repented of his idolatry. And so, God restored him to his throne.
Manasseh’s Sin & Repentance
Manasseh repented from evil practices after a devasting loss of freedom and power. Yet, even though it took near ruin before his repentance, God still forgave him. And, God still had mercy on him.
My Sin & Repentance
So, maybe you’re like me. Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling like I have let God down. “In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…”
But what is even more real is the assurance that God is ready to forgive. In fact, He has already forgiven. So, take heart my soul. Your redeemer is never far away.
“He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke7:48
Synopsis 2Chron 32:24-33:2 5/18/2020
Sometime after the Assyrians retreated from Jerusalem, King Hezekiah became ill. He prayed to the Lord for healing. And God responded by giving him a sign.
Despite God rescuing Jerusalem and healing the king from his disease, Hezekiah became prideful. Over the course of his reign, he had amassed a great fortune and vast resources. So, he built cities and acquired even more wealth. And, he also invested in major infrastructure projects. This included the famous underground watercourse he constructed in Jerusalem.
But he was frivolous with Babylonian emissaries when they came to visit him. And this injured the kingdom in ways that he did not comprehend.
In the end, he died and was buried with great honor. Afterward, his son Manasseh became king.
Because Jerusalem had successfully resisted the Assyrians, Hezekiah became an international celebrity. So, when visitors came from distant lands, he eagerly revealed the extent of his personal fortune as well as the great strength of his kingdom.
Because of this, his visitors esteemed him greatly. But his desire for their esteem had caused him to reveal too much.
It is written, “Pride comes before a fall”. So, I feel vulnerable because I am a naturally prideful person.
So, what’s the answer? I think celebrating God’s goodness in my life is the only sure-fire antidote to pride. If I want freedom from pride, I must consistently acknowledge that God alone is the giver of every good thing.
“all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” James 1:17
Synopsis 2Chron 32:13-23 5/15/2020
King Sennacherib was a great Assyrian king. As he prepared to attack Jerusalem, he sent envoys to warn the Israelites not to resist. Specifically, he told them not to trust in Hezekiah or in the God of Israel.
In response, King Hezekiah cried out to God. Both he and Isaiah the prophet went before the Lord and prayed to God for relief. And God heard their prayer from the Temple.
In response to Hezekiah’s prayer, God sent angels to afflict the Assyrian army with a great loss inside their camp. As a result, Sennacherib was forced to withdraw from Jerusalem. He ended up returning to Assyria. And once home, he was assassinated by his own sons.
For Hezekiah’s part, God gave his kingdom peace on every side. And many nations brought gifts to Hezekiah to celebrate God’s defense of Jerusalem. In fact, Hezekiah became an international celebrity because of this victory.
God Fought for Hezekiah
Sennacherib was both a great warrior and a ruthless tyrant. He was bent on destroying every nation within his realm that resisted his rule. And no nation had ever successfully resisted his devastating army.
But Hezekiah knew God. And he faithfully served God. So, when Sennacherib invaded with an overwhelming force, Hezekiah knew that only God could save him and the kingdom. So, he took what action he could to prepare. But most importantly, he prayed to God for deliverance.
And God fought for him. In the end, the Israelite army never even engaged in battle. God single-handedly defeated the Assyrians.
Jesus once said to Simon Peter, “Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail…”
Hearing this brings the sudden reminder of my own vulnerability.
God delivers me every day from satanic deception, sin and death. The God of all Creation knows my weakness and sin. And yet, he saves me anyway.
“The LORD goes forth like a warrior, like a man of war he stirs up his fury; He shouts out his battle cry, against his enemies he shows his might” Isaiah 42:13
Synopsis 2Chron 32:3-12 5/14/2020
Assyria was growing as an empire centered to the north and east of Israel. And Sennacherib was its king.
Earlier in Hezekiah’s reign, the Assyrians had overrun the northern kingdom. But now King Sennacherib decided to invade the southern kingdom of Judah as well.
As the invasion began, King Hezekiah gathered his leaders. Together, they decided to stop-up the springs of water outside the city. Additionally, they reinforced the battlements of the city.
As the warriors of Jerusalem made preparations, Hezekiah called all the people together. He encouraged the people by reminding them that God could protect them no matter what.
The Lord might work through the military fortifications they were working on. But, as Hezekiah knew, the Lord might also use unseen forces. And he reminded the people that God was greater than any human force.
As they completed their preparations, Sennacherib sent envoys. And, these men spoke to some of the high officials of Jerusalem. The Assyrian envoys threatened Hezekiah’s high officials. Their words caused many of the Israelites to feel great anxiety.
Hezekiah and The Unseen
Hezekiah was aware of God’s powerful but hidden powers. And so, just as King David had done, he trusted in God’s unseen forces.
So, even though it didn’t look like he stood a chance against the great Assyrian horde, he remained confident.
Walking Among the Unseen
Sometimes the news of our time can feel overwhelming. In fact, I’m often tempted to think that maybe evil is winning the day.
But take heart. It’s never really like that, because God is always in control. And even though He has a purpose that isn’t necessarily obvious, He has already won our victory.
Remember, Jesus has no rival. And evil is never the equal of the God of all creation.
It is the un-obvious that drives the obvious. Or, it is the unseen that drives the seen. But, it is never the other way around.
“Elisha answered, ‘Do not be afraid. Our side outnumbers theirs.’ Then he prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes, that he may see.’ And the LORD opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw that the mountainside was filled with fiery chariots and horses around Elisha.” 2Kings 6:16-17