Synopsis 2Chron 26:16-27:2 4/28/2020
Although King Uzziah had been extraordinarily successful, he became arrogant. So much so, that he took for himself the role of a priest.
Specifically, one day Uzziah entered the Temple and went into the Holy Place. Once there, he began to offer incense at the altar. Of course, no lay person was allowed to even enter this part of the temple, let alone, offer incense. All of this was the exclusive work of the priests.
Now, the High Priest and several other priests rushed into the Temple to prevent the king from committing sacrilege. But Uzziah became frustrated at their efforts and lashed out in anger.
Immediately, God struck the king with leprosy. At this point, the priests rushed the king out of the Temple. As a result of his leprosy, the same law he violated now prevented him from entering the Temple court. And so, he had a house constructed where he could live outside his own palace. From that time forward, the king lived outside the community.
So, Uzziah’s son Jotham served as the acting king and the master of the king’s palace until Uzziah died. After this, Jotham succeeded his father as the next king.
God afflicted King Uzziah with leprosy after he expressed his anger toward the High Priest.
The Problem with Anger
Anger is the emotional response that proceeds from my own feelings of frustration. When I’m not getting what I want, I focus attention on what I perceive is preventing me from getting what I want.
And anger works – at least in the short term. I can very often bully or beat other people into submission. Through violence, I can remove the barriers that prevent me from getting what I want.
But the price is often very high. And the successful use of anger tends to become a dangerous and immoral habit.
My anger is dangerous because it legitimizes the use of anger. It tells other people that I believe anger is OK. And so, I can be sure it will come back to me as I have meted it out.
But it’s immoral because my anger tends to objectify the people I abuse. Other people are more than obstructions to what I hope to accomplish. And anything that tends to diminish the personhood of another person simply so I can is get what I want, is essentially immoral.
“It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Matt 15:11
Synopsis 2Chron 26:4-15 4/27/2020
Amaziah had a son named Uzziah. And so, when Amaziah died, Uzziah became the new king.
Uzziah was deeply devoted to doing God’s will for many years. During this time of his life, the southern kingdom greatly prospered. Through his military exploits, he regained control over the surrounding nations. And he built up the nation through massive infrastructure projects.
Uzziah also built up the standing army. In fact, his ranks included over three hundred thousand highly trained men who were well equipped by the kingdom with the most modern weapons available. What’s more, Uzziah was renowned for developing new weapons systems that could hurl large stones and arrows very long distances.
Uzziah lived a life of grace. He followed God. And, as a result, he led his kingdom well.
I have been commanded to love. And love is a process. I love when I act in a way that contributes to the eternal success of another for their benefit without regard to what return I may gain from the giving.
And it’s just that simple. No inward effort to make myself holy. No outward effort to discipline my members. Just a commitment to act in love simply because that is what God has asked me to do.
Everything that follows from that is a pure revelation of God’s will. It is a lived testimony by a guileless witness.
“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Matt 6:33
Synopsis 2Chron 25:19-26:3 4/24/2020
King Amaziah defeated the Edomites. However, he was ensnared by the beauty of Edomite idols. And so, he began to worship their false gods.
After this, Amaziah provoked a fight with Joash, who was the king over the northern kingdom. As a result, Joash and his forces invaded Judah. And the two kings fought with their armies at Beth-shemesh. King Amaziah was defeated. And King Joash plundered Jerusalem.
Although Amaziah remained in power for more than another decade, many Jerusalemites hated him because he had turned away from God. As a result, several men conspired against him. So, Amaziah fled to the city of Lachish. But, assassins pursued him there and killed him.
In the end, Amaziah’s son Uzziah became king in his place. He began his reign at the age of sixteen years.
Something happened when Amaziah defeated the Edomites. For, not only did he adopt their system of worship, but not long afterward, he unnecessarily provoked the northern kingdom.
Amaziah’s imagination seems to have swelled with his victory over the Edomites. And so, rather than following God’s plan, he imagined great military conquest.
Too big too fast. The ancient Greeks called overreaching ambition hubris. And it’s best understood as the kind of pride that blinds a person to real danger.
The tendency to overreach comes any time I imagine that I am the cause of my own successes. The moment that I forget service to God as my principle motivation, I am a candidate for ruin.
“Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18
Synopsis 2Chron 25:10-18 4/23/2020
King Amaziah invaded Edom. However, before he went, a prophet of the Lord told the king that God did not want Ephraimite mercenaries in the ranks. So, Amaziah disbanded the mercenaries and sent them back to Ephraim.
The mercenaries were frustrated because their pay was dependent on gaining spoils from the battle. So, they looted the Benjamite villages along their path back to Ephraim.
The battle against Edom and Mount Seir was a huge success. Amaziah’s soldiers brought back a large haul of spoils from the battle. And the king brought back Edomite idols from Mount Seir.
But almost immediately, the king began worshipping the idols that he had captured in the battle. So, the prophet returned. Unfortunately, he refused to listen and sent the prophet away.
Afterward, he provoked the King Joash of the northern kingdom with a challenging letter.
Amaziah’s Limited Reality
Amaziah was the king of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. And his glorious palace was right next door to King Solomon’s glorious Temple. Yet, he worshipped idols.
Just as the prophet wondered, we wonder how Amaziah could make this exchange.
In this way, we both forgot that the power of idols is in their tangibility and attractiveness.
The making of idols was a craft. And the best of the pagan’s worlds idols was also the best of the pagan world’s art. These idols were exotic. And they were crafted with great skill.
Of course, that doesn’t make them god-like. But it does make them enchanting and attractive.
The Tangible vs The Real
God is spirit. And those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
This is a hard claim. I live in a world of tangible things. Money. Power. Glorious or Inglorious fame. These are tangible.
This is the hardest part. I have struggled to comprehend that the things most real are invisible and the things that never really last are the things right in front of me.
So, my prayer – may we all see that which is real this day. May our sight be rightly ordered.
“as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2Cor 4:18
Synopsis 2Chron 24:26-25:9 4/22/2020
King Joash was assassinated by two of his servants. After his death, the people made his son Amaziah king in his place.
Now, Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-nine years. Once he was firmly established in power, he executed the men who had assassinated his father. He was interested in justice. And in general, he did what was right in God’s eyes.
Later in his rule, he determined to attack the inhabitants of Mount Seir and the Edomites. In order to assure victory, he prepared the men of Judah and Benjamin for battle. But, he also hired mercenaries from the tribe of Ephraim.
However, before departing for battle, a prophet came to him. And he told Amaziah that God did not want the Ephraimite mercenaries to join the battle. Amaziah accepted this word from God. And so, he sent the mercenaries home.
Amaziah Heard and Did
King Amaziah was responsive to the word of God that came through the prophet. He asked intelligent questions, but he accepted the command of the Lord.
Hearing and Doing
It’s fear that keeps me from doing God’s will. If I’m honest, I have to admit that I hear plainly enough. But, I fear.
I hear “Love”, but I fear being vulnerable.
If I was fighting for a mere psychological principle, I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather be a hell-bound monster who at least calls his own shots.
In truth, the only thing that really moves me is that my friend and my God has asked me to follow Him.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:13
Synopsis 2Chron 24:15-25 4/21/2020
Jehoida was the High Priest in Jerusalem. Amongst his many accomplishments, he saved King Joash from assassination as an infant child. And he raised the boy who was destined to become king. And afterward, he became the king’s most trusted advisor.
However, like all men, Jehoida grew old and died. Of course, his death was mourned by both the king and the people. And he was buried with great honor.
But after a short time, King Joash began taking counsel from princes of Judah. And they led him into idol worship.
Now Jehoida had a son who replaced him as High Priest. His name was Zechariah. And Zechariah confronted King Joash about the growing problem of idol worship. But Joash was offended by Zechariah. And so, Joash had him stoned to death.
The next year, the Arameans invaded the southern kingdom with a small force. However, despite the smallness of their forces, they defeated Joash’s army. And they plundered Jerusalem.
Although badly injured, Joash survived the conflict. Tragically, while he was recuperating in Jerusalem, two of his servants murdered him.
Joash Returned Good With Evil
After Jehoida died, Zechariah became the High Priest. He was Jehoida’s son. Together, Jehoida and Zechariah had risked their lives to save Joash when he was a helpless infant.
Yet, after Jehoida’s death, King Joash ordered Zechariah stoned to death.
Returning Good With Evil
Returning good to those who’ve done good to me is obvious. Jesus pointed out that even non-believers do this much. It’s a fair exchange.
So, what could cause me to want to do evil to someone who has done good to me?
I suppose the short answer is: spite and envy. Envy is the emotion I conjur when I believe that some other person has more than they rightly should. And spite is the destructive emotion that drives me to want to deprive someone of some legitimate possession.
These emotions show up when I overfocus on my own personal desires. I’m especially vulnerable when I compare my present circumstances with those of others. Interestly, both these emotions form out of the belief in scarcity. They come from my believing that the world only has so much good to offer. And the belief that I’m not getting my fair share compounds these already negative emotions.
Of course, the truth is free-setting. First, God has filled the universe with goodness. There is more than enough. And second, He has committed to give me all that’s needful for life and Godliness.
So, if you need something, then just ask. If you intend to serve Him, then He won’t withhold any needful, good thing.
“If you return evil for good, evil will not depart from your house.” Prov 17:13
Synopsis 2Chron 24:5-14 4/20/2020
As he grew older, King Joash desired to repair the temple to its original glory. So, he determined to impose a tax on the people that would provide the resources necessary to conduct the repairs. However, the initial efforts were handled poorly by the priests and the Levites.
So, together, Joash and Jehoida made a chest that was positioned outside the temple. As Israelites came to worship, many chose to deposit a freewill offering into the chest. After some time, a great amount of money was collected.
So, King Joash and Jehoida the High Priest gave the money to workers who did the work. After the work was completed, Joash and Jehoida had the extra money fashioned into new utensils for temple service.
After all of this, they sacrificed to celebrate the completion of the work.
The People’s Freewill Offering
After years of abuse and neglect, King Joash determined to bring the temple back to its original condition. So, he reminded the people how Moses had collected the resources necessary for the original tabernacle through a freewill offering.
And so, he harkened back to Moses’ original request by setting a chest at the temple gate. And there, the people freely offered the money necessary to complete the project. In this way, the people gave more than what was necessary for the repairs.
God’s will is to love. And, the satisfaction of giving to God is knowing that I am participating in His will.
“Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2Cor 9:7
Synopsis 2Chron 23:14-24:4 4/17/2020
Now that Jehoida had publically declared the boy Joash to be king, there was a stand-off. When Queen Athaliah realized that she had failed to kill all of the heirs to the throne, she declared the assembly to be a treason. So, someone was going to prevail. And under the circumstances, the loser was obviously going to be executed.
Accordingly, Jehoida the high priest directed the Levite guards to immediately execute Queen Athaliah outside the temple. And this is what they did. After this, the entire assembly went to the Baal temple where the queen had worshipped. And they destroyed the Baal temple completely.
Finally, they led Joash to the throne. Once there, they seated him on it in the presence of the leaders and nobles of the kingdom. And so, Joash was established as king over the southern kingdom.
Afterward, he grew up, married and had children. And all of this happened under the watchful eye of Jehoida who served as the high priest and the king’s advisor.
Jehoida Acted Decisively
Jehoida acted decisively at several critical moments in his ministry. As a result, he prevailed over his adversaries.
Action is one of the greatest keys to success. This is true even though I often make mistakes and take wrong actions.
The opposite of action is inaction.
I avoid things that I don’t want to deal with. And I avoid taking action when I don’t to deal with the possibility of failing. Or, when I don’t when to expose myself to the possibility of being wrong.
But success is always more than error avoidance.
I will never be truly successful simply because I avoided making a mistake. I will never love simply because I avoided my natural tendency to hate.
No, I have to be vulnerable to the possibility of failure in order to achieve success.
“Indeed someone may say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” James 2:18
Synopsis 2Chron 23:4-13 4/16/2020
Jehoida served as the high priest in Jerusalem. And he was married to Jehosheba, who was the princess daughter of King Jehoram. After Jehoram died, her brother Ahaziah became king. But he served for only one year before Jehu assassinated him at Jezreel.
When news came of Ahaziah’s murder, his mother took action. Her name was Athaliah. And she attempted to murder all of Ahaziah’s children in order to remain in power. With no apparent heir, she declared herself queen over the southern kingdom.
However, Athaliah failed to kill all of the heirs. In fact, Jehosheba and Jehoida had hidden away one remaining son from the king’s line. This child’s name was Joash. And, because Jehoida was the High Priest, they hid Joash in the temple. They raised him there until he was seven years old.
After this, Jehoida realized he could no longer hide the child. So, he formed a conspiracy that included the priests and the Levites. Together, they planned to declare Joash king and depose Queen Athaliah.
Prior to the coup, he made a secret covenant with co-conspirators from around the kingdom. He organized the coup by ensuring there were extra temple serving Levites and priests in Jerusalem. And then, on the fateful day, he risked his life by revealing Joash at the temple. He quickly anointed the new king and put a crown on his head. Thankfully, the people embraced Joash as their new king.
Now, the palace was located next to the temple. So, Queen Athaliah heard the commotion and came to the temple. Once there, she witnessed the child Joash with his crown. And she declared treason. In this way, she condemned the entire assembly.
God promised to King David that one of his sons would remain in kingly succession forever. Jehoida and Jehosheba knew the promise. And so, they acted in a way that agreed with what they knew God intended.
It was simple obedience.
Still, if their actions had been discovered too soon, Queen Athaliah would have killed them. So, the demand of obedience was that they risk everything to agree with God’s promise to King David.
I’m a leader. I’m a father, so I don’t really have a choice. I have to lead at least my children.
As such, I sometimes feel the pressure to make things happen. Additionally, whether by my wit or my effort, my personal tendency is to want to understand everything before taking any action. My self-awareness wants to avoid making a mistake.
As a result, I’m the guy who says to Jesus, “And just who is my neighbor?” after Jesus has said, “love your neighbor”. It feels cluttered and unnecessarily complex. More importantly, this natural way of responding keeps me in power. And it justifies my inaction while it simultaneously inflates my pride.
Even though God intends for me to lead my family, this is clearly not the way.
God is interested is in obedience.
Like so much of God’s wisdom, it all boils down to a simple but culturally contradictory adage: obedient action is true leadership.
“I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another.” 1Cor 4:6
Synopsis 2Chron 22:7-23:33 4/15/2020
King Ahaziah made the decision to visit King Jehoram, son of Ahab. Now, King Jehoram was recovering from his wounds at Jezreel. But God had ordained Jehu as king over Israel. So, Jehu came to Jezreel. And there he killed both Jehoram. But afterward, he also killed King Ahaziah of Judah.
Athaliah was the daughter of the wicked king Ahab. And she was also Ahaziah’s mother. So, when she heard that Ahaziah was dead, she determined to kill all of Ahaziah’s sons. In this way, she meant to eliminate every heir to the throne.
After this, she assumed the throne of Judah and ruled as queen. However, she did not realize that she had failed to kill Ahaziah’s youngest son Joash. And so, Ahaziah’s sister, along with her husband, hid Joash until he was seven years old.
Joash: Token of Faithfulness
God had promised King David that his sons would remain on the throne of Israel forever. However, the sons became entangled in earthly ambitions that wrecked their kingdoms. Amongst the royals, brother murdered brother in the desperate effort to protect their various claims to the power and authority of the throne.
Finally this dissipation climaxes with Athaliah. She murdered her own husband’s grandchildren to ensure her ongoing claim to power and privilege.
But God was faithful to the promise he made to David. And so, He preserved the helpless life of an infant named Joash.
Token of Faithfulness
God’s faithfulness remains. He has given all that’s needful for life and for godliness. And He does this daily. He has given us His Word, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. And none of it is ever withdrawn.
I am rich indeed! And God is always faithful.
“Through all generations your truth endures; fixed to stand firm like the earth.” Psa 119:90