II Chronicles 33-36
While the book of II Chronicles outlines many kings and shows the power of a king to move a people to either obedience or disobedience, at the end of II Chronicles we read these words, “ The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.  But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15–16). There are many evil kings that influenced God’s people to walk in an evil way, but the people themselves are equally to blame. In the last chapters of II Chronicles we read of good and bad kings, but in the middle of these chapters we read that the people of Judah and Jerusalem had traveled so far from the Lord that they had lost/forgotten the Book of the Law. When king Josiah found this out, we hear a sentence that saddens the heart, “And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes” (II Chronicles 34:19). Christianity has always been a bookish religion, because ancient Judaism was always a religion of the book. God created by his Word (Gen. 1), and by that same word he gave his law to Moses, and consequently to us. Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1), who dwelt amongst us. To forget God’s word is to forget God, which is why Josiah tore his robes. This is God’s response to Josiah by the prophetess, “because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Behold I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring up on this place and its inhabitants.” God is extraordinarily gracious to those who are tender of heart and willing to repent, nevertheless, the damage had been done and the people would not return. Therefore, we read about the incoming forces and consequential exile of Judah and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the oppression by Neco of Egypt. The land sat barren for 70 years, a sabbath of rest. Hope remains, for God will work through Cyrus the king of Persia as well as Ezra so that God’s people may return.
Reflect: We will always be ruled by someone and we will always worship something. Who rules us and what we worship remains the question, not if we are ruled and if we worship. The ability for man’s heart to go after the security and provision of a ruler remains just as strong today as it was then. What we worship, therefore, reflects where we are putting our hope, the two are tied together. Good kings bring the people to worship the true God, and bad king lead the people to worship idols. Josiah remains the last of the good kings and with him is a great lesson: To be tender of heart. A tender heart is a moldable heart, willing to repent and turn to the Lord. A tender heart receives the word of God and when faced with sin, tears the robe. Now that you’ve finished II Chronicles, do you find your heart tough or tender? Do you find yourself saddened when you forget the Lord, or hardened? Is there a mix? Pray that the Lord might give you an increasingly tender heart, for this tenderness is the Lord’s heart for you.
Matthew 9:36 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
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.