Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 21-23:21; Romans 11:13-36; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 20:7
There are two ways a leader can establish and retain his power. He can lead with love and serve those he leads, or he can instill fear in his followers through force. Unfortunately Jehoram, who became king of Judah after the death of his father Jehoshaphat, chose the latter (2 Chronicles 21:4).
Jehoshaphat was such a good king we have to wonder why his son was so evil. We read the answer in 2 Kings 21:8 where Jehoshaphat made the mistake of marrying Jeroham to Ahab’s daughter. When good and evil combine, evil wins. Every time.
Some wonder why God doesn’t punish evil immediately. God was well aware of Jehoram’s sin. But God had made a promise and He wasn’t going to break that promise (2 Chronicles 21:7). Similarly God has promised to come back and get us and take us to heaven with Him someday. That will happen. There is no doubt. In the meantime, we have to endure all the hardships that the world has to offer.
As we have seen many times this year, God allowed enemies to be victorious over Israel and Judah because of their sin (2 Chronicles 21:10). If Judah had followed God, God would have protected them. Its all very simple. It is the one and only foreign policy any country needs, even today.
In 2 Chronicles 22:10-12 Queen Athaliah takes control of Judah by killing off all the heirs to the throne except for her infant nephew who escapes. This is the same woman who godly King Jehoshaphat chose to be his son’s wife. She was the daughter of the evil King Ahab and Jezebel of Israel. What Jehoshaphat planned to be a political alliance that brought peace instead brought death and destruction to his sons and grandsons.
This is what happens when we try to make peace with evil and is exactly why God tells us to flee from evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). We are too weak to stand up to it. Sometimes we rationalize having ungodly friends or some ungodly behavior thinking we have it under control. That is never true. Sin always has us under control.
Athaliah had tried to kill all the heirs of David and thereby thwart God’s plan. Silly queen. Nothing is going to stop God. But she is not the only one who thinks that. So many people today think they are dealing a blow to God when they lead efforts to remove God from society. Silly people. God will have the last word. And for Athaliah and people like her, it will not be a pleasant one.
We read the events in 2 Chronicles 23 about a month ago in 1 Kings 11.
When the Jews rejected the Gospel it gave a chance for Gentiles to hear it too and be saved (Romans 11:15). But this was always God’s plan and even in the Old Testament non-Jews were saved. We can think of Ruth who was from Moab. Or the Egyptians to left Egypt with Moses. Or the peoples living in Canaan who recognized that the true God was the God of Israel.
God uses the metaphor of grafting to explain how Gentiles are brought into His family in Romans 11:17. But that is nothing for us to brag about (Romans 11:18). Jew or Gentile, we are only the branches. We are not the root which provides nourishment. We are not the trunk which provides strength. We are the most fragile part of the metaphor and need to remember that. It is only by God’s grace that we have been grafted in and can now partake of His nourishment and strength.
Romans 11:28 is such a great picture of God. Just because the Jews (most of them, anyway) are enemies of God they are still loved. Obviously this extends to anyone today who is an enemy of God: atheist, Muslim, Hindu, etc. God loves all people whether they love Him or not. God loved us before the world began and nothing we do – even denial of His existence – will change that.
When we understand something it loses its awesomeness. It becomes so familiar we take it for granted. But that is not possible with God (Romans 11:33). There is always something new to learn about God. This fact makes God even more wonderful and worthy of our praise!
Psalm 22 is reminiscent of Christ on the cross. When Jesus hung there dying He was abandoned by God. The perfect fellowship the Son and the Father enjoyed since eternity past was broken so that we could be saved. Crucifixion was a slow, exceedingly painful, and humiliating death made even worse by the mockers (Psalm 22:8). Sometimes we feel just the same – like God has abandoned us just when life is the hardest. We feel like we are being torn to pieces by lions while our life bleeds out of us (Psalm 22:13) and those around us do not care (Psalm 22:18).
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