Day 229 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Second Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 13 – In the days of Jeroboam, the northern kingdom of Israel had forsaken the Lord, rejected the Levitical priesthood, and erected golden calves as idols for worship (1 Kings 12:25–33; Exodus 32). Additionally, the northern kingdom of Israel had come south to fight against Judah, outnumbering the smaller southern kingdom two to one.
This account reminds us that God is the one who fights for His people, especially when the odds are stacked against them (Exodus 14:13–14). The issue was not the size of the force that opposed Judah, but the faith and trust that Judah placed in God. God was head of the army of Judah, and God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel.
When it comes to earthly demonstrations of strength, God is not impressed by size or numbers. To prove this very point, He arrived as the peasant King in the New Testament, without sword, shield, or army, and He conquered the forces of evil and saved His people from eternal condemnation. Since our great salvation was wrought by God in the form of human weakness, consider what He will do when He returns, mounted for war with the sword of the word in His mouth (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 19:15, 21).
How good is it to know that God is on your side?
2 Chronicles 14 & 15 – The relationship between faithful leadership and “rest” for the land is an important connection to understand. Consider the book of Judges. As long as a faithful judge lived, the land had rest (Judges 3:11, 30; 5:31; 8:28). However, once that judge died, the people reverted to idolatry, resulting in foreign oppression. This is one reason why Israel desired a king. The judges were variously raised up by the Lord, but kingship was permanent, enduring through dynastic succession. The problem with kingship, however, was that not all kings were faithful.
In the New Testament, we encounter a King who is both faithful and eternal (John 18:37), securing permanent rest for God’s people in a kingdom that will never perish. All of the faithful rulers, judges, and kings in Israel who appear throughout the pages of the Old Testament point beyond themselves to a true and better King. Jesus’ throne endures on account of His righteousness, and our rest is secure as members of His kingdom.
How good does it feel to be able to rest in the finished work of Jesus?
2 Chronicles 16 – All of the faithfulness, zeal, and oath-taking back in 2 Chronicles 15 could not hold back the terrible tide of self-reliance in the heart of Asa, king of Judah. Having experienced the grace, blessing, and protection of the Lord in the past, Asa was quick to forget the true source of his help.
The ebb and flow of the human heart’s affections are treacherous and unreliable (Jeremiah 17:9). This is why it is so important to look outside of ourselves, not only for help in the everyday things of life, but, more importantly, in the steadying of our heart’s affections. Consider the example of Jesus who, when assaulted by Satan, did not rely upon Himself (though He certainly had the resources), but rather turned in humble dependence to the Scriptures: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–12). The Believer who humbly trusts in the Word of God lives with the resources of grace that are capable of sustaining faith in both good and bad times.
How do you use the Word of God to remind you of who God is as revealed in the Person and work of Jesus?
2 Chronicles 17 – Central to the reign of Jehoshaphat was the commissioning of teachers throughout Judah who would instruct the people in the Book of the Law of the Lord. We should carefully note the connection between the teaching of God’s Word and Israel’s dominance over the surrounding nations, even the Philistines.
In modern literary contexts, it is popular to express the power of the pen over the sword. The Bible makes this same connection in powerful ways: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). In the book of Revelation at the end of the Bible, this connection between God’s word as a sword and the subjugation of the nations reaches its climax: “From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” (Revelation 19:15; Isaiah 49:2; Revelation 1:16; 2:16). Let each of us take courage, therefore, for the gracious Lord has not left His people unarmed!
How does it comfort you to know you are fully armed with the Word of God?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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