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2 Chronicles notes

Daily Bible thoughts 571: Wednesday 12th March 2014:

 2 Chronicles 36: 22, 23

Our long journey through Chronicles concludes with these two verses. As we take the final steps towards the finish line I want to make these points:

  • God is the Lord of history. ‘History is His story.’ Someone said that He stands behind all the scenes, and He moves all the scenes He is behind. ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’ and He can give it, or a part of it, to any ‘Cyrus’ He chooses. As the hymn says, This earth belongs to God, the world, its wealth and all its peoples.
  • God is in charge of political changes. He raises up kings and queens etc and he removes them from office. On the chess board of life, the kings and queens are moved by a grand master to wherever He wants them to be. He is able to ‘checkmate every alien purpose that seeks to thwart His plans. The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Prov.21:1
  • God’s Word will come to pass (Jer.29:10). It stands sure. We may have to hold on to it and stand on it through long years of pain, hardship and disappointment; times when it looks like the promises of God have failed. But let us be patient and persevering, saying to ourselves, ‘Let God be true and every demon a liar!’ A time will come when what our Jeremiah’s have sown in tears will spectacularly come to fruition. Just you wait and see. ‘God says it; I believe it; that settles it!!’
  • God, in His mysteriously wonderful sovereignty, is free to use anyone He chooses to bring about His purposes. He may even use people I don’t like or personally approve of! That’s His right and He doesn’t need my permission!
  • Whatever God gives you, recognise that it is God’s gift, and seek to use it accordingly, as a good steward of the divine generosity. It’s a sacred trust and you will be held accountable for doing whatever God appointed you to do.

While we wait for God’s Word to be fulfilled it is easy for us to get stuck in a rut (and the only difference between a groove and a grave is one of depth). We can settle down into a comfort zone. This is what it was like for many of the exiles in Babylon when the urgent summons came to leave and return home. They had settled down in a new land and built flourishing and prosperous lives there. The call to go back home was challenging and costly. What might God be asking you to do this day that is really threatening your alliance with ease?

All who belong to GOD’s people are urged to return – and may your GOD be with you! Move forward! The Message.

 Prayer: I recognise, Lord God that it is a priority to hear what you are saying and obediently move forward at your Word. Don’t let me cling on to any comfort zone, however cosy it feels.


Daily Bible thoughts 570: Tuesday 11th March 2014:

2 Chronicles 36: 15 – 21

People may not want to hear a message about the judgment of God, but if you discard this truth you disembowel the Bible. God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. So note in today’s reading:

  • Judgment can be delayed (15). It regularly is because God is so gracious and merciful to sinful people. Peter tells us that The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). The again and again in 2 Chron. 36:15 emphasises God’s relentless love for His people and His determination to pursue them and give them every opportunity to repent. In His love and mercy God gives people time (2 Peter 3:15). GOD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent warning messages to them. Out of compassion for both his people and his Temple he wanted to give them every chance possible. The Message.
  • Judgment will eventually fall (16). Even though it may be a long time coming, it will arrive, if there is no repentance.  But they wouldn’t listen; they poked fun at God’s messengers, despised the message itself, and in general treated the prophets like idiots. GOD became more and more angry until there was no turning back… The Message. The door of the ‘ark’ may remain open for a long, long time; but eventually the Lord will close it and it will be too late to change minds and mend ways.
  • Judgment is terrible (17-20). Its reality is almost too awful to consider, but face it we must. The judgment Jesus died to save us from is far worse than that depicted here. This is just a pale foreshadowing of the ultimate judgment, in Hell, when people find themselves eternally separated from God. …GOD called in Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who came and killed indiscriminately – and right in the Temple itself; it was a ruthless massacre: young men and virgins, the elderly and weak – they were all the same to him. The Message.

Remember that God’s Word always comes true. Jeremiah was probably the most prominent of those rejected prophets (16). Despised as he was, his inspired words came to pass (21). This is exactly the message of GOD that Jeremiah had preached: the desolate land put to an extended sabbath rest, a seventy-year Sabbath rest making up for all the unkept Sabbaths. The Message.

Prayer: Dear God, keep us from diluting your Word to suit our own tastes.

Daily Bible thoughts 569: Monday 10th March 2014:

 2 Chronicles 36:11-14

So we come to the last in the line of the kings of Judah. The ‘puppet’, Zedekiah, does not offer us any cheer. The sad refrain continues: He did evil in the eyes of the LORD… (12; see also 5 and 9). This short passage tells us four things about his wickedness:

  • He was not humble (12): He was given the chance to repent, but he did not bow to God and to the Word of the Lord that came through His mouthpiece Jeremiah: There wasn’t a trace of contrition in him when the prophet Jeremiah preached GOD’s word to him. The Message.
  • He lifted up his hand against Nebuchadnezzar (13a): In fact, it was more a fist he raised, endangering both himself and his people. Then he compounded his troubles by rebelling against King Nebuchadnezzar, who earlier had made him swear in God’s name that he would be loyal. The Message.
  • He hardened his heart (13b) – and stiffened his neck! Notice that he would not turn to the LORD, the God of Israel. It doesn’t say that he ‘could not’, but that he would not. I am convinced that this is the main reason why people are not Christians. They may say they cannot believe, for a whole variety of reasons, but the truth is they will not believe. They don’t want to turn with all that it will mean for their lifestyles, and make the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, their God. They just won’t have Him to reign over them. They want to remain captains of their own ships and masters of their own fates. (Please turn to John 12 and read verses 37 – 41. Consider the fact that behind the could not believe (39) there lies the would not believe (37). ) So Zedekiah hardened himself both inwardly and outwardly against God and His Word, and there were tragic consequences for him and for many others. He became set in his stubborn ways – he never gave GOD a thought; repentance never entered his mind. The Message.
  • He ‘helped’ many other people to go the same way he had gone (14): He was wicked, and led the people deeper into wickedness. He ascended ‘the hill’ of kingship, but he ‘fell down and broke his crown’ and many more ‘came tumbling after. ‘ The evil mindset spread to the leaders and priests and filtered down to the people – it kicked off an epidemic of evil, repeating the abominations of the pagans and polluting the Temple of GOD so recently consecrated in Jerusalem. The Message. If you’re called to leadership, you have to realise that your influence is ‘catching’. Determine to use it to lift people up morally, and not drag them down to the gutter. Sadly, Zedekiah ended up there, and he was not short of company.

While Nebuchadnezzar was taking Jerusalem to Babylon, the Jewish leaders were bringing Babylon to Jerusalem! Warren W. Wiersbe: With the Word, pp. 252, 253


Prayer: Lord, whenever I hear your Word, may you find my heart soft and responsive. Make me sensitive to even your faintest whisper. Let me not miss anything you are saying to me.

Daily Bible thoughts 568: Friday 7th March 2014:

 2 Chronicles 36:9-10

  • There isn’t a lot to say about this man Jehoiachin except, ‘Don’t be like him!’ Aim to walk in a totally different direction by God’s power. He clearly did not have God’s approval. That is reflected, in part, by the statement that: he reigned in Jerusalem for three months and ten days (9b). I suppose, with a reign so short that every day counts! Don’t be like him in sin: He did evil in the eyes of the LORD (9b). It was a case of ‘like father, like son’ (see 5). Instead, endeavour to be like the apostle Paul who wrote: So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it (2 Corinthians 5:9). If you read on into the next verse, you will see that Paul was motivated by thought of the judgment day when he would be held accountable for the life he lived on earth. Jehoiachin again says to us that we can’t sin with a high hand and get away with it. Maybe Jehoiachin didn’t reckon with a day of reckoning, but it always comes. Thou God seest me.
  •  Don’t be like him in captivity (10a). Jehoiachin was at the beck and call of another king who had the final say in his life. For ourselves, we who are ‘kings’ in Christ, we need to ensure that we are not being ruled by the one called in the Bible the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air. When he beckons you to ‘Babylon’ don’t follow. Don’t listen; don’t take any notice. You don’t have to. He has no authority over you. As Peter urges, Resist him, standing firm in the faith… (1 Peter 5:9; see also verse 8 and James 5:7). Dig your heels in and refuse to go with him.
  • Don’t be like him in letting go of your valuables (10b). Don’t surrender the precious things of the life of faith into the hands of Your enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8), who is always on the prowl. He is the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy… (John 10:10). So put a good security system in place. Stay alert and on guard, and don’t allow yourself to be mugged. Hold on to your valuables.

So remember:

  • The devil promises you ‘the good life’ but he leads you into the bad life;
  • He gives you the illusion of freedom whilst making you his slave;
  • He pretends that he will give to you, but he is on the take.

We have been warned. Let’s keep watch ceaselessly. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

 Prayer: Although the temptations of sin may be powerfully persuasive and momentarily appealing, let me always remember Lord that they will lead me somewhere I don’t want to be.

Daily Bible thoughts 567: Thursday 6th March 2014:

 2 Chronicles 36:5-8

If you remember from yesterday, Jehoiakim, was Jehoahaz’s brother. Pharaoh Neco of Egypt made him king in place of his brother, changing his name from Eliakim. If Jehoiakim began his reign under the dark cloud of Egypt, it continued under the even more ominously foreboding one of Babylon. With the double mention of that gigantic, evil super-power (6, 7) the Chronicler signals the approaching end for the kingdom of Judah.

In GOD’s opinion he was an evil king (5b). The Message. This is the only opinion that really matters. The obituary that counts is the one written by God, and not those penned by members of your fan club. How anyone appears in the eyes of the LORD matters so much more than how they are viewed by people. There are those considered heroes in this world who in fact do detestable things (8), yet they are lauded and esteemed. But there will come a judgment day on which the record will be set straight. All the chickens will eventually come home to roost. If the Lord was Jehoiakim’s God, then he chose to live in a way that was incompatible with his beliefs. God saw how he lived and totted up the account. Here are some points to note about sin:

  • Sin will be punished. A farmer once said words to the effect that God doesn’t necessarily settle his bills at the end of the financial year, but He always settles his bills. It may take a long time for the paperwork to plop through your letterbox, but be sure that the brown envelope with a window in it will appear. The Chronicler means for us to understand that Jehoiakim (and his kingdom) paid for his sin. We are witnessing cause and effect here in the sin and captivity.
  • Sin will be punished without exception. You might be a great person in the world, but you will not be given an exemption when it comes time to pay your sinning bill. You will have to ‘cough up’ like everyone else.
  • Sin puts you in chains. Yours may not be as solid as Jehoiakim’s, but they are just as real. You may have the illusion that you are free. That is because there is a real devil who is good at lying, and he may well persuade you that you are at liberty. However, the truth is otherwise. (See John 8:31-36). Only Jesus can set free from such shackles. Thank God that He can, and He will if you want Him to. So a Christian can sing very meaningfully: My chains fell off…
  • Sin takes you to places you don’t want to go. Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon (6). In one sense we can say that sin transports everyone there: to a place of captivity.
  • Sin affects others. That may not be your intention, but it is regularly the result. ‘No man is an island.’ In (7) we see something of the impact of sin on the land of Judah. Jehoiakim’s sin put a knife through the very heart of the nation. It did great damage to the temple, the sacred place of worship. In the same way, one person’s private and personal sins may have a ‘knock on’ effect on the whole church.
  • Sin will be found against (8) us. It’s like you’re in the dock and there is a case for the prosecution levelled against you. You don’t have a leg to stand on. But what has been found against us was counted against Jesus when he died on the cross. The charges against us were ‘written’ over His cross. He bore our punishment so that we would not have to, if we will put our trust in Him. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 13b,14).


Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for all the ‘knots’ I have tied through my sinning. Thank you that your cross can untie them all.

Daily Bible thoughts 566: Wednesday 5th March 2014:

 2 Chronicles 36: 2 – 4

As we come towards the end of our long journey through Chronicles over the next few days, we are going to find ourselves disappointed with the last kings we encounter. The remaining monarchs of Judah, before the exile, went out with a whimper and not a bang. (It’s been said that 2 Chronicles opens by telling how the temple was built. It closes showing how and why that temple was destroyed.)

  •  Jehoahaz had a short reign (2)
  • Jehoahaz was shamed (3,4a). How humiliating it was to be replaced by his brother; to have the crown forcibly ripped from his head and placed upon the brow of a sibling.
  •  Jehoahaz became a slave (4b). Effectively, it would appear, that’s what happened.

The point I want to make is that the next generation picked up the bill (see 3b particularly) for Josiah’s disobedience to God. Josiah, as we have seen, ran an almost ideal race, but then he fell at the final fence. It looked like he was going to win the ‘National’, but then he didn’t. Off his horse he came. And other riders following immediately behind him tripped and fell too.

We are going to leave something to the next generation; for the next generation. It can be good or bad (or mixed). Let’s ensure that we are sowing good seeds today, and every day, that will grow into a beautiful harvest and provide a bumper crop. So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. (Galatians 6:9). The Message.

All sin is sin. All sin has consequences. We cannot say that all sins will be equally damaging, but some will have ‘knock on’ effects into future years; they will carry generational consequences. It’s no use kidding ourselves that we can be careless about doing wrong. I remember sitting on a rock by Lake Derwentwater, near Keswick. As a boat passed by, it left a ‘wake’. Human lives do that, and sometimes it can be disturbing and damaging.  As a song says, ‘May all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our obedience light their way.’

Prayer: Lord let me so live that those who follow on after me have something good to emulate.

Daily Bible thoughts 565: Tuesday 4th March 2014:

2 Chronicles 35: 20 – 36:1

We find an unexpected twist at the end of Josiah’s story. It comes as a total shock. But it has to make us look at ourselves and apply the obvious lesson. If you go against God, however successful and effective you’ve been in ministry/service, you will not be able to don a disguise that will protect you (22a). No-one can rebel against God and expect to get away with it.

Regrettably, there can be an After all this (20a) in anyone’s life. Someone can live well and do good works, and then have a great fall. It can seem to them, and to us, like they’re standing, and then we watch the crash through horrified eyes. Josiah was like a show jumper who had a clear round until he got to the last fence, which he clattered. The rest of the history of Josiah, his exemplary and devout life, conformed to The Revelation of GOD (26). The Message. But that doesn’t alter what happened at the final fence, and, in a sense, we join with all Judah and Jerusalem in mourning him, and accompany Jeremiah in his lament. It’s a tragic and wasteful ending to a wonderful life.

Let’s be open to hearing from God through anyone. Maybe the fact that Neco was a pagan Egyptian made it easier for Josiah to dismiss him. But as unlikely as it may have seemed, this Egyptian king was being directed by God. May the Lord give us such humility and openness to Him that we do not miss anything he might be saying. (For another example of God speaking through an unexpected individual see John 11:49-53).

If God defeated Egypt in the days of Moses, surely He could do it again for Josiah! Without seeking the mind of the Lord, Josiah meddled in a war that had nothing to do with Judah, and it led to his death. A disguise is no protection if we have disobeyed God (v.22; 2 Chron.18:29). Judah was back in bondage to Egypt! We wonder what the future of Judah might have been had Josiah heeded the warning God gave him. Strange as it seems, God can speak through messengers who may not even know Him. Warren W. Wierbe: With the Word,p.252.

At the age of 57, I am increasingly aware that I am just a decade away from the official retirement age. Although I want to go on serving God for as long as he grants me life and breath, I have a growing concern to finish well. Reading Josiah’s story only serves to reinforce the desire, as I consider what could happen.

Paul told Timothy to Watch your life and doctrine closely (1 Tim.4:16). Theological purity is important. It is vital to hold correct beliefs. But you also need to ensure that your living always corresponds to your believing. Josiah shouts to us across the centuries that you do indeed need to keep a close eye on your life, and stay vigilant to the very end. You may have been sailing around the venue so far, but there are some big fences still to come!

Prayer: Lord God, help me to finish well.

Daily Bible thoughts 559: Monday 24th February 2014:

2 Chronicles 35:15-19

In (15) you get the impression of a mutually supportive team. They pulled together and did their jobs so that everyone could enjoy the Passover. As with the Musketeers, you get a sense of: ‘All for one, and one for all’ in their attitude. They were helpful to one another. Each knew that they needed the other: The security guards were on duty at each gate – the Levites also served them because they couldn’t leave their posts. The Message. That picture paints a thousand words. It speaks of a thoughtfulness that is so important for lubricating the ‘wheels’ in human relationships. Such sensitivity tends to bring people closer together. It is also interesting to note the statement about the musicians being in their prescribed places. I read a review of a book published last year by ‘Moody’, entitled ‘Worship Leaders, We are not rock stars.’ It is written by Stephen Miller. He makes the point that worship leaders are simply Christians, using their particular gifts and passions to worship God and bless Christ’s body. But the glare of the Sunday-morning spotlight has obscured the true nature of such a leader’s calling. As I have suggested before, we can get the very real place of music (and it does have such an important role in church life) all out of kilter in our minds and hearts. Let’s make sure that whatever our gifts, we are using them to glorify God and serve the body of Christ. No wonder it goes on to say in (16): Everything went without a hitch in the worship of GOD that day… The Message. People were working co-operatively with a good heart.

The challenge I both see and feel here is that of spending quality time worshipping God. It can be applied corporately and personally (16, 17). Obviously, we don’t have these Jewish Feasts as part of our worship. Their meanings have been fulfilled in Christ. But there is the abiding inspiration, I believe, of the willingness of those worshippers to devote chunks of time to come before God along with others. This seems to stand in marked contrast to the prevailing attitude where many believers seem reluctant to devote much time to worship gatherings.

So they pulled off something very special (18, 19). It was a Festival the like of which had not been seen in the land for many a long year. It happened because, under godly leadership, the people had a desire to honour the Bible, a willingness to work together, and a heart to glorify God. They were prepared to put selfish desires to death and work together for a greater cause. We too may achieve something remarkable in our day, if such attitudes and motives drive us also.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that I do not stand alone, but I am part of your family. Help me to consider others better than myself.

Daily Bible thoughts 558: Friday 21st February 2014:(sorry, I forgot to post on Friday!!)

 2 Chronicles 35: 11- 14

As we have already noted, the Passover lambs foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. So as we read about them let’s think about Him and some of the blessings that come to us through His violent death:

  •  Sprinkling (11a): This speaks of the cleansing that comes to us freely through Christ’s blood. In the New Testament, the apostle John writes: But if we walk in the light , as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7). Take comfort in that ‘big’ little word all. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven if we confess it and don’t try to hide it (see also 1 John 1:9 – a verse that has been called ‘the Christian’s bar of soap.’) Let’s bring it into the light of God’s presence, where the stain can be clearly seen, and wiped away with the world’s most powerful cleansing agent: the blood of Jesus.
  • Clothing (11b): The skinning of the animals reminds me that Christians are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. As one hymn writer put it: Jesus thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my spotless dress. God no longer sees us in our sin but in His Son, once we trust in Christ. This is a great wonder, and it is true.
  • Sacrifice (12): One of the blessings that is ours, is the opportunity and privilege of offering to God our lives as whole-burnt offerings. This is the Old Testament picture behind the urgent call to consecration in Romans 12:1, 2. We bring our bodies as living sacrifices to God in accordance with what is written in His Word. We give him lives of dedicated obedience. So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12:1). The Message.
  • Nourishment (13, 14): We continually ‘feed’ on Christ by faith and are spiritually nourished by Him; the Christ who was crucified for our sins, but who now is alive forevermore lives in us and we in Him. We can continually draw from Him all we need to live the Christian life. Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread – living Bread! – who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live – and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self… Only insofar as you drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you…the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always. The Message. These words, spoken by Jesus and recorded in John 6, are full of wonder and deep mystery. But this much is certainly clear: we take the crucified Lord of glory to be inside us by faith, and we continue to enjoyably feed ‘on’ Him by faith. We need never feel ‘empty’ and dissatisfied again, but always ‘full.’

Prayer: Jesus keep me near the cross.

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