Get ready to put up your dukes.
I have been reading through 2 Chronicles over the past month or so. And I have been personally awed by the many references the book makes to the “good” kings and “evil” kings. Obviously, when the writer of 2 Chronicles talks about good and evil kings they are doing so from a God perspective and not a man perspective. Through my reading God has spoken to me very clearly about what it means to be viewed as good or evil in his eyes and what he expects of us as humans.
Here is a typical passage describing a good king (this is the introduction to the account of King Hezekiah found in 2 Chronicles 29:1-11 in The Message):
1-3 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old and was king in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. In God‘s opinion he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David.
3-9 In the first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah, having first repaired the doors of The Temple of God, threw them open to the public. He assembled the priests and Levites in the court on the east side and said, “Levites, listen! Consecrate yourselves and consecrate The Temple of God—give this much-defiled place a good housecleaning. Our ancestors went wrong and lived badly before God—they discarded him, turned away from this house where we meet with God, and walked off. They boarded up the doors, turned out the lights, and canceled all the acts of worship of the God of Israel in the holy Temple. And because of that, God‘s anger flared up and he turned those people into a public exhibit of disaster, a moral history lesson—look and read! This is why our ancestors were killed, and this is why our wives and sons and daughters were taken prisoner and made slaves.
10-11 “I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with us. Children, don’t drag your feet in this! God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship—this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.”
So what has stuck out most in my mind?
1. The king decided to rebuild the defenses around the city of Jerusalem. Hezekiah is not the only king to decide that this is important. Other kings throughout the accounts of 2 Chronicles are credited with taking that kind of action.
2. The king makes a decision to “clean up” the country. Basically by eliminating and tearing down all the alters and false gods and idols. This process usually begins at the Temple.
3. As the clean up process comes to a close there is a return to the word of God. The people rediscover the covenant made between God and Moses and the country, starting with the king, repents and returns to devoted worship of God.
The first part is the one I have been wrestling with the most. How do I build a defensive structure around my life? What can I do proactively to protect myself from the invasion or influence of outside forces that want to defeat me and draw me away from the worship and service of God?
What do you think? What kinds of things can you do to help defend yourself?