Posts Tagged ‘II Chronicles’

Great Mercy

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:  But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.  For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.  Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.  And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.  Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.  And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.  Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.

II Chronicles 33:1-4,  9-13

I was encouraged by reading these verses, not because of all the horrible things Manasseh and the Israelites did, but because it shows the nature of the great mercy of the Lord. 

Manasseh was an evil king.  The first several verses of this chapter detail his evil doings.  He behaved like the heathen.  He worshipped Baalim, even going so far as to build altars to him in the Lord’s house- imagine the sacrilege!  He sacrificed his children to Baalim.  He dabbled in witchcraft and with wizards and “familiar spirits.”  He set a carved idol in the Lord’s house.  And he caused the people to reject the Lord as well.  All of these things are detailed in the first nine verses. 

After all of this great wickedness, in verse ten we still find the Lord speaking to him and the people.  That, in itself, is great mercy and compassion.  Even after all their evil, God is still trying to get them to return to Him.  But Manasseh and the people “would not hearken.”

The Lord then brought judgment on them in the form of the Assyrians.  In this affliction, Manasseh finally prayed unto the Lord and humbled himself.  And guess what?  The Lord heard him and answered him and “brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.”  One of the most wicked kings in the history of Israel, after years of pure evil, turned to the Lord and the Lord had mercy on him.

Sometimes we may think that we are beyond the mercy and goodness of the Lord, but Romans 5:20 still says “… But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  We truly do serve and good and merciful God!


Learning From Mistakes

Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the Lord.  And the people did yet corruptly.

II Chronicles 27:1-2

Jotham became king after his father, Uzziah died at the end of chapter 26.  Uzziah started out to be a good king and the Bible does say that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.  The Lord blessed him and he became a powerful king.  However, this prosperity led to his downfall because it filled him with pride and he went into the temple to burn incense.  That may not seem like a big deal, but it was not his job to do that, chapter 26, verse 18 tells us that the priests told him not to do it: “it appertaineth not the thee.”  Even though he wasn’t supposed to do it, he did it anyway and God immediately struck him with leprosy and he died a leper.

Fortunately, his son, Jotham, learned something from his mistake.  I like the way the Bible words things.  It tells us that he did “that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah did.”  Uzziah was a good king and served the Lord, until he became prideful.  Jotham copied his father’s good example.  But it also tells us that “he entered not into the temple of the Lord.”  Not only did Jotham copy his father’s good example, he also learned from his father’s mistake and the Bible specifically points out that he did not make the same one. 

Some people we can look at and follow as wonderful examples of the way a Christian should live.  Other people we can look at and learn from their mistakes.  And, often, we can look at another Christian (or ourselves, for that matter) and find both good things to copy and not so good things to avoid.  And, in those ways, we can help each other to follow the Lord.

The Test of Success

But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

II Chronicles 26:16

This verse is referring to King Uzziah, who, in verse four, is said to have done “that which was right in the sight of the Lord.”  Verse five tells us that “he sought God in the days of Zechariah” and that “as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.”  He was a good king, a prosperous king, and a powerful king.  But his power and success turned out to be his downfall.

The Bible tells us in this verse that “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction.”  It is easy to get proud.  It is easy to let pride creep into your life even as the Lord is blessing you.  The Lord is good to us and He blesses us.  He “daily loadeth us with benefits”, Psalm 68:19 tells us.  But it is easy to look at all we have and begin to forget where we got it.  It is easy to start to think that maybe we are where we are because of something great or good that we ourselves have done.  That is where king Uzziah found himself.

When his heart was “lifted up” with pride, he fell.  Proverbs tells us that “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18)  Uzziah failed the test of success and prosperity.  The Lord blessed him, and his heart filled with pride instead of thankfulness and gratitude.  How will we do or how are we doing on our own “tests of success?”  Let us allow king Uzziah’s example to help humble us and keep us from sinful pride!

Made to Prosper

Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah did.  And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.

II Chronicles 26:2-5

As the Bible records the history of the nation of Israel, with every mention of a king comes a very brief account of what he did.  Usually the Bible will tell us if a king did “that which was evil” or “that which was right.”  It is interesting to note that even those kings who “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” made mistakes and had problems.  Good kings such as David, Asa, and in this case, Uzziah all had their problems.  There was never a “perfect” king of Israel, except obviously Jesus and the people said that “we will not have this man to rule over us.”  Anyway, I digress. 

 Uzziah was, according to these verses, a good king.  He “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.”  Verse five tells us that he “sought God.”  And do you know what happened when he “sought God?”  “God made him to prosper.”  Think about that: God made him prosper.  It doesn’t say that God “allowed” him to prosper.  He made him to prosper.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to be “made to prosper” by the Creator of the universe?

But there was a condition on this prospering: “as long as he sought the Lord…”  Later in the same chapter, he decided not to seek the Lord, and, sure enough, he stopped prospering.  Our success in life is based not on the amount of money or fame that we can accumulate.  Our success in life is based on whether we seek the Lord and follow Him or not.  That is the true “secret” to a prosperous and successful life: seek Him!


Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king.  Then the king hearkened unto them.  And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.  Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord: and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.

II Chronicles 24:17-19

“Yet.”  Yet is a powerful word.  In this passage, King Joash had been under the Godly influence of Jehoiada and had let the nation accordingly.  However, after the death of Jehoiada, ungodly prices of Judah came to the king and he started listening to them.  They caused him, and the whole country with him, to “leave the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and serve groves and idols”.  The king and the people rejected God and started worshipping and serving false gods.

“Yet.”  “Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord.”  Even though they had made a conscious choice to reject God and serve other gods, still God had enough compassion on them to send His Word to them.  The same is true of us.  When we reject God, He still has mercy on us and still tries to send His Word to bring us back to Himself.  He is a God who “delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18).  There have been many times I have rejected Him and He could have destroyed me on the spot.  “Yet” He sent His word and had mercy on me.  I am very thankful for the “yet” moments in my life.

Unfortunately, Joash didn’t heed the prophets.  But we do not have to make the same mistake.  When we mess up, we need to take heed to the “yets” that God gives us!

Stand Still…

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

II Chronicles 20:15, 17

The Lord here tells the Israelites not to worry; that the battle is His.  There was a great multitude that was getting ready to come against them and, humanly speaking, it would have definitely been a cause for fear and maybe even panic.  But God knows no fear, nor does He know panic.  Everything is His, He controls everything, and there is nothing He can’t do.  Whether the Israelites knew it or not, and whether we know it or not, He is in complete control.  We might lose sight of that fact occasionally, and we might not be able to fully comprehend it, but He is always in control.

I found it interesting that He did not tell the people to go up and fight against their enemies.  God had told the Israelites to go to battle and He would give them the victory many times.  But this time, He just told them to “stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”  He told them that, in this battle, they wouldn’t even need to fight.  And, as always, what He said came to pass.

As it turned out, the armies that were getting ready to attack God’s people turned on each other and attacked themselves.  They destroyed themselves and the Israelites simply had to go up and take the spoil because the battle was already over.  Sometimes it’s good in life to just “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”.  Sometimes He gives us the victory in a particular battle in our lives and sometimes He just takes the battle and wins it for us.  What a great God we serve!

Asa’s Disease

And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.

II Chronicles 16:12

This is the sad end to the life of Asa,  a great man and a great king.  Toward the end of his life, he was “diseased in his feet”.  This disease was said to be “exceeding great”.  I don’t know what the disease was, but it was bad enough that the physicians couldn’t help him and ended up dying within two years.  According to this verse, his main problem was in the fact that he did not seek the Lord.  Even though this was an “exceeding great” disease, he sought the help of the world and not the help of the Lord.

The application for us is simple.  We all have an “exceeding great” disease that is eating us up and destroying us.  Like Asa’s disease, it is absolutely crippling and it will end in death.  Our disease is sin.  And there is only one remedy for sin.  We can spend our entire lives searching the wisdom of the world to try to come up with some kind of covering for our sin, but it will be to no avail.  We can try the world’s “physicians”, but they can’t help at all with this disease.  Only God can heal the disease of sin.  John the Baptist said of Jesus “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”. 

How often have we tried to go to the “physicians” for the spiritual healing and cleansing that comes only through the blood of Jesus Christ?  Every one of us has that old disease of sin within ourselves.  May we always seek the Lord to rid us of it!

Turning Made the Difference

Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.  But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.

II Chronicles 15:3-4

I love the contrast provided by these two verses.  And I think we can see the same contrast in our own lives sometimes. 

Verse three is a very sad verse.  The nation of Israel had been “without the true God” for a “long season”.  Can you imagine even spending a day “without God”?  They had also been without a “teaching priest” and without “law”.  I’m not a Bible scholar by any means, but I think I could safely apply those things to “pastors and teachers” for the the “teaching priests” and the Bible for “law”.  In our terms, the people of Israel had been without God, without a pastor to guide them and without the Bible.  Can you even begin to imagine?

They were not without these things because of some random glitch in God’s system.  They were without these things because they didn’t want them.  God had been clear with His people that if they would follow Him, He would be with them and bless them beyond measure.  But they had rejected Him. 

Then we get to verse four.  They found themselves in trouble (just like we do when we reject God, God’s men and God’s Word) and they “turned unto the Lord God… and sought him”.  Just like the Prodigal son, they had enough of their own way and turned to the Lord.  And guess what?  He was found of them.  

What a great encouragement!  They rejected Him.  They turned from Him.  They brought problems and troubles on themselves.  And yet when they turned to the Lord and sought Him, He was right there.  Sometimes we may think that the Lord has abandoned us because we can’t see Him.  But usually we are pointed the wrong direction and just need to turn around.  And when we turn around; turning away from our own way, He is right there.  What a wonderful thought!

The Battle is the Lord’s

And there  came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.  Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.  And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude.  O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.  So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.

II Chronicles 14: 9-12

This is a great passage that shows how we should be praying about our “battles” in life.  The Ethiopians came out to fight against Asa and his people.  Asa prayed a simple, yet very effective prayer in which he does several important things that I think we can apply to our own prayer lives:

1. He acknowledged God’s power.
-“…it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power”.  The reason that we pray is that God is all-powerful and we are not.  When we pray, we are asking for God’s divine help.  If we expect to get that divine help, we are going to have to believe that He has the power to do what we need Him to do.

2. He acknowledged his own helplessness.
-“…with them that have no power”.  Asa understood that, without the Lord, he and his army were nothing.  But with the Lord, nothing was impossible.  That is the same way I am: without the Lord, I am nothing.  But with the Lord, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.

3. He acknowledged his dependence on God.
-“…for we rest on thee”.  He told the Lord that they were going to depend on Him.  That is the point to which we have to come to have an effective prayer life.

4. He acknowledged that the battle is the Lord’s.
-“…in thy name we go against this multitude… let not man prevail against thee”.  Asa appealed to the fact that 1. they had put their trust in the Lord, and 2. the Lord would not allow man to prevail against Him.  As Christians, we are “on the Lord’s side”.  It does not bring honor and glory to His name when we are defeated by the world and the flesh.  He has promised to give us the victory if we will let Him.

5. He won the victory.
-“So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled”.  Enough said.  Prayer works.

Build and Prosper

Therefore he (Asa) said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side.  So they built and prospered. 

II Chronicles 14:7

Asa was a good king of Judah, and in this verse, we see more of the wisdom that God gave to this king.  At the time of his reign, the Lord had given Judah peace.  They were not at war with anybody, which was rare.  They sought the Lord, and He gave them peace “on every side”.  On a side note, that is what the Lord will do when we seek Him.  He will give us peace “on every side”.  But the thing that jumped out at me about this verse is the simple fact that Asa was not wanting to rest during this peace.

He told the people: “Let us build…”.  God had given them rest, and Asa saw this rest as an opportunity to strengthen the cities.  He knew that, in the future, there would be more battles to fight.  And he wanted to people to be ready for them.  When we are at peace, we tend to start to take things easy.  We tend to let things slide.  When we are not “battling”, we sometimes tend to get comfortable and weak.  But not Asa.  He took the time of peace to “build”.

When we find ourselves at peace in our lives, that is the time to take the opportunity to build.  There are plenty of times that we will have to fight with the world, the flesh and the devil.  But when we are not in a battle, we need to be using that time to strengthen ourselves for the next battle and for future battles.

The people of Judah followed Asa’s advice and I like the end of the verse: “So they built and prospered”.  Let us “build and prosper” today!