2 Chronicles 34-36: With God, Failure Is Never the End of the Story
July 25, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
2 Chronicles 34-36, Psalm 150, Luke 12:49-59, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-18
The story finally ends on a note of strange hope—Cyrus proclaiming the rebuilding of the temple (36:22-23). But in the meantime, we must wade through the good, the bad, and the ugly in terms of further kings. Josiah was a good king (34:2). He started young: a mere eight years old (34:1). Let us not think that the young can do nothing for God. Out of the mouths of babes comes truth on occasion, and an eight-year-old can witness to God as well as any of us, sometimes better than the rest of us.
Josiah “purged” Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry (34:3), and then began to repair the temple (34:8). In the midst of the repairs, a book is discovered (34:14-15). Think how degraded the worship of God was when The Book, the Word of God, is so neglected that it is shoved in some forgotten corner and only stumbled upon by happenstance. Shaphan, at any rate, seems not to even know that there is anything particularly special about this book. He just says he has been given a book (34:18). But he reads it to the king, and the king repents (34:19).
Josiah is forlorn that these words have been so long ignored, and he realizes that God’s wrath must stand against his people (34:20-21). He inquires of a prophetess of God to see what the real situation is and discovers that yes, indeed, disaster is coming (34:24), but because he himself repented and humbled himself, it will not come (34:26-28). Even when all around lose their faith, we must not lose ours; the stakes are too high—nothing less than our real soul and eternal destiny. If you can keep your faith when all others are losing theirs, then you are a Christian—and a powerful witness to succeeding ages, as Josiah was here.
Josiah makes a covenant (34:31), keeps the Passover (35:1), and then (as predicted) is killed before disaster comes (35:23-24). He is protected from experiencing it himself.
After Josiah, Judah rapidly declines. But the reasons for that decline are not hard to find. They do what is “evil” (36:5, 9, 12); they refuse to “humble” themselves before God (36:12); they harden their hearts to refuse to listen to God’s word through his prophets (36:13). Jerusalem is captured and burned, to fulfill the word spoken through Jeremiah (36:17-21).
And yet, still, with God’s people refusing to do God’s will, there is a pagan king, Cyrus, who will through God’s sovereignty be used to return his people from exile. With God, failure is never the end of the story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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