Ahaz became the downfall of Judah. One theme that arises in chapter 28 is the language of “provoking the Lord to anger” (e.g 28:25). It is one thing to disobey God or to reject him, but it seems that Ahaz goes out of his way provoke God’s anger. Appallingly, v.3 says that he even sacrifices his own sons to his idols. God clearly responds by allowing Judah to be defeated by king Ahaz of Israel. In addition to this, in 722 B.C. during the reign of Ahaz, both Israel and Judah had become vassals of Assyria. Ahaz provokes God’s anger and dies in rebellion against God. As startling as these events are, so equally surprising is the entrance of a good king, Hezekiah. A theme we see throughout Chronicles is that whether a king is good or bad doesn’t necessarily depend upon the actions of his predecessor. So here, Hezekiah as a good king appears out of thin air. There is no explanation as to why he “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (29:2), but what is clear is that no one expected a good king. Hezekiah works miracles for God’s people and the words of chapter 30 end with, “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem” (30:26). The author devotes more time to Hezekiah than any king in II Chronicles except for Solomon. It is as if the nation is turning back to the Lord, but there are still problems. The people are scattered, some are in rebellion, and other’s mock the invitation to return to the Lord (30:10). The work that Hezekiah performs to restore Judah and the whole assembly that came from Israel is outlined in great detail to show how far God’s people had fallen. The repentance of a nation was not a quick event, but required cleansing, appointments, remembrance, sacrifice, and celebration. Once again God’s people celebrated the Passover together.
Reflect: Any time we read of child sacrifice, our hearts grow weary and we think, “How could this happen?” or “Who could do such a thing?” More than this, “how could a nation be restored after falling so far away from God?” The most immediate comparison today is the issue of abortion. Roughly 900,000 babies are still aborted yearly in the United States of America, and the issue remains at the forefront of the Christian’s heart and mind. Abortions are not the main link in chapters 28-30, but the connection is the same, idolatry. While idols today look different, the results can often be the same sins we read about in the ancient scriptures. Whole societies can be led astray by evil leaders, causing many to turn away from the Lord. The great and wonderful news, is that with God is restoration. God does not leave or forsake his people. God took a nation in great sin, and through a great leader, brought them to repentance. “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still” (Corrie Ten Boom). Take some time and pray against the practice of abortion in our country, but more so, pray against the idols behind these actions. Pray that God might raise up godly leaders to address issues like these.. Pray for repentance and restoration of our nation. If you have had an abortion, know that just as Hezekiah led God’s people in repentance and restoration, in Jesus Christ there remains grace and forgiveness for anyone who comes to him.
Connect: Hezekiah cleanses the house of the Lord, but today the temple of God is his people. What might cleansing the house of God look like today?
Reflect on 1 Peter 4: 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you.15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[c] 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- Rev. Joseph Bianco
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.