Friday, May 16, 2014

2 Chronicles 21-24 May the LORD see and avenge

From 2 Chronicles 21-24


2 Chr 21.1-20; Jehoram; Jehoram Reigns in Judah
2 Chr 22.1-9; Jehoram; Ahaziah Reigns in Judah
2 Chr 22.10-12; Athaliah; Athaliah Reigns in Judah
2 Chr 23.1-11; Jehoash; Joash Made King
2 Chr 23.12-15; Jehoash; Athaliah Executed
2 Chr 23.16-21; Jehoash; Jehoiada’s Reforms
2 Chr 24.1-19; Jehoash; Joash Repairs the Temple
2 Chr 24.20-22; Jehoash; Joash’s Treachery
2 Chr 24.23-27; Jehoash; Joash Assassinated

Passage and Comments

Jehoshaphat dies, he did right in the sight of the LORD but he did not remove the high places of foreign worship. His son Jehoram. Jehoram adopts the worship of other gods like Israel did. He did evil in the sight of the LORD. But the LORD remained faithful to the promises he made David and would not destroy his house. Following Jehoram was Ahaziah. He also walked as the house of Israel did. Ahaziah was killed by Jehu and his house had no one to rule (2 Chr 22.7-9). His mom Athaliah takes control. She goes nuts and tries to wipe out the whole house of Judah. A young boy Joash was secreted away and protected.

Joash is taught by a faithful priest named Jehoiada. When Joash  grows up he is made king. He promptly puts Athaliah to death. Jehoiada makes a covenant with the people and king Joash that they will follow the LORD. The people then begin to clean up all the foreign worship in Judah. The following passage describes what happened after Joash had repaired the temple and Jehoiada dies.

15 But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died. He was 130 years old at his death. 16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house. (2 Chr 24.15-22)

Joash’s mentor Jehoiada is dead. He lives a very long time. A sign of the LORD’s favour. He is commended for his life and the good he has done. What will Joash do?

17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. 18 And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19 Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention. (2 Chr 24.17-19)

Joash, eager to please the princes of Judah (I suspect the leaders of significant families) abandons the LORD, his house and serves other gods! What a shocker. The LORD sends prophets to turn him around. He ignores them.

20 Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’ ” 21 But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. (2 Chr 24.20-21)

The Spirit works in Zechariah and he stands up for the LORD. He speaks out against their apostasy. But, they stone him to death. Stoning does not have to be quick. People can slow down the torture by avoiding the head. Being stoned is a horrible way to die.

22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!” (2 Chr 24.22)

The prophets calls out for justice and vengeance. Joash will eventually be assassinated.

Story of Israel

Looking back to Israel’s past Jesus condemns the religious of his day describing events like this.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Mt 23:29–33)

There will be vengeance for those who kill God’s people. But God will continue to send his prophets to command people to repent. How will they be treated?

34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Mt 23:29–36)

Story of Jesus

Is there hope? Yes. At the time one might least expect. When the prophet Zechariah died he called upon the LORD for vengeance. That justice be served. But when Jesus was crucified. Another form of torture, what did he say?

33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Lk 23:33–39)

Jesus took upon himself the punishment we deserve for living in rebellion against the LORD. When he was about to die, he didn’t call for vengeance. He called out for forgiveness. God’s just vengeance and loving salvation come together in Jesus. Is this the person you would call your Christ? Is he the Chosen One? Is he your King? He is risen from the dead, will you follow him?