In 2 Chronicle 30 Hezekiah delivers a word to all of Judah and Israel, calling the people to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. Right worship has fallen by the wayside and when he begins his rule he makes it first order to restore the temple. But what we see in the chapter is another reminder about the way that those who follow God are received. I mentioned this earlier in a post on 1 Corinthians, but I think we should be reminded and then prepare ourselves for how people will see us.
Hezekiah sends out a message and in verse 10 it says the people laughed, scorn, and mock the messengers. They do not disagree or disregard. No simple “no thank you.” Instead mockery. How do you handle condescension? Do you react well when someone thinks so little of your belief that they do not deem it worthy of reply, but just laugh you off? Hezekiah was in the right and was doing what was good and he faces scorn. Are we ready for such a reaction?
There is great blessing for those who follow Christ, but we ought to build up resolve and find courage and conviction because Christ told us that in this world there will be suffering. But the one we serve also tells us that he has overcome the world.
As tradition would have it, today we spend time thinking about what we’re thankful for. We probably could use a bit more thinking about to whom we are thankful. But to get back to first question, I have an answer inspired our readings.
Both Kings and Chronicles include a story when the people find the law of God that had been lost. Can you imagine what we would do today if our Bible either didn’t exist or had been lost generations ago? We have such a source for thanksgiving bound in this book that we take for granted. We have good news to share. We have reason for hope. We read of our past and our future.
We may not read it as we should, but even for those who never read it, there are few who have not experienced the effects of the Bible in their own lives. God could have left us with a lot of questions, but he has blessed us with knowledge of himself, especially revealed in the witness of Jesus Christ. For this I am thankful.
I am appreciative that someone today brought to my attention an interesting reference to Solomon found in the New Testament.
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
For all the talk of Solomon’s great wisdom, we know something greater than Solomon. Just as with folks like Moses and Abraham, here is another who fails in comparison to Jesus Christ and receives the “greater than” treatment.
In Luke Jesus is shown as greater than Jonah, whose preaching caused a wicked, enemy city of Israel to repent. He is greater than Solomon whose wisdom, wealth, and power were so great that the Queen of Sheba travelled to Jerusalem to marvel at him.
If a city repented in ashes and sackcloth at the words of Jonah and if the world gathered to Solomon to hear his words, how much more will Jesus impact our world. His preaching and his wisdom are matchless. Jesus came to gather all the world and to call all people, Jew and Gentiles, to himself. Even though we’ve read these weeks in Kings and Chronicles of Solomon’s wisdom, a wisdom he sought in order to rule as king, the wisdom of Jesus, our King, is new and greater. As we read elsewhere that even the foolishness of God is wiser than the best of humanity. And in God’s wisdom Christ did not amass great power or wealth as king. As king he suffered and served, sacrificed himself for us, and now reigns on high interceding for us every day.
We ought to be thankful for his wisdom–a wisdom that saves us, and we ought to ask for his type of wisdom as we seek to follow him.
So we’re now into week eight, which means that we’re going through 1 & 2 Chronicles. Don’t worry if a) you’ve not quite finished everything from 1 & 2 Kings. As I said, the schedule has built in make up time next week and the week after. Also, don’t worry if b) you start to think much of Chronicles is oddly familiar. It is. Chronicles will take us back to the time of Saul and David, and really it takes us back in chapter one to Adam. 2 Chronicles then lines up quite a bit with Kings.
Ask yourself what differences you see between book like Samuel and Kings as they tell the same event with different emphases. What is the intent? What purpose do these books share in their writing, and what is unique?
With so many chapters to read, don’t waste your time this week. But don’t rush. I’d rather we all fall behind a bit than to pretend to read and understand these books. Next week is less than 20 chapters and after that is 5. Plan ahead and seek to find joy in reading God’s word.
Starting today, we’ll spend the next three weeks reading 1 & 2 Kings and Chronicles. That doesn’t look like all that much, but maybe it is because I tried to abbreviate a bit. To make it more intimidating I’d say: 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Chronicles. Perhaps you still don’t see the big deal. Some weeks have had four books read in one week. That is true. But these books aren’t the minor prophets.
The way I’ve ordered the weeks for Year in the Bible is to have us average about 23 chapters a week. Some weeks push us more and then periodically we have a lighter week when we read fewer chapters. This week (week 7 of quarter 3) has us reading 47. You’ve been warned.
So why in the world would I do this? Well, sometimes I think it was a good idea. Other times I’m just not sure. But it’s too late now to change it! My thinking was that these history books can include a large number of lists and genealogies and more lists. We could stretch Kings and Chronicles out over 2 months and pace ourselves, but I think that if we did so it would bring us into a lull. Instead we’re packing it in. Bear in mind that these books are more of a narrative style of writing so it is a more straightforward read. It is not as slow going as Job or Jeremiah have been. And be positive about it–there are great stories in here. We heard one this morning in our sermon and there are plenty more where that came from.
The three weeks of the blitz are laid out like this:
1 & 2 Kings – 47 chapters
1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles 1-18 – 47 chapters
2 Chronicles 19-36 – 18 chapters
My advice is to do your best to read it as assigned, and if you need that third week to catch up a few chapters, do so. I’ve already invited you to start early, but you can also carry it on into a fourth week if you’d rather. The week immediately following the history blitz is 1 John with all of its five chapters. That’s all. My intent is for that to be a breather for us so we can slow ourselves and read a great little letter. But again, if you need to use that light week to continue to read Chronicles, please do so.
We’re all adults here. My reading plan is flexible. You can always make your own decisions.
I hope you enjoy. And if you’re bitter about being assigned 47 chapters, you can email me all your complaints. (But the time you spend writing me an angry email may be better used getting all that reading done!)