Memory Verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14
"and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:12-16
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple of sacrifice. 13 If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, 14 and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15 My eyes will now be open and my ears attentive to prayer from this place. 16 And I have now chosen and consecrated this temple so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there at all times.
2 Chronicles continues with the same theme of 1 Chronicles. The idea is to look back at Israel's history and see how God worked and kept His word. These verses are key in understanding how God works. He is a forgiving, merciful, and grace-filled God. But even in all of that, there is still judgment for those who turn away from Him. In our scripture today you see that God is telling Solomon that He has chosen to dwell in the temple that Solomon had built for Him. He then says something that almost seems out of place. He starts to talk about judgments on Israel and then says, “And my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” In a way, God is prophesying the relationship that Israel would have with God. It was going to be a relationship that finds Israel turning away from God, receiving judgment, turning back to God, repenting of their sins, and then being forgiven. God knew this from the beginning but chose them anyway.
This is a reminder for us. God created us knowing we too would be rebellious people. We would have the ups and downs that come with the Christian life. It’s like having a time where you are on fire for God and a time where you are just coasting through life or maybe even rebelling against God. In those negative times, we will face the consequences and judgment that comes from God. But if we take the time to pray, humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness, He will grant that forgiveness. It’s a beautiful picture of the mercy and grace of God.
Maybe today you find yourself in one of the low places. If you do, turn from those sins, humble yourself before God by praying and confessing those sins. He will forgive you and restore you into a relationship with Him. Take some time today and humble yourself before God. If you are in a good place with God, take the time to just thank Him for His love and forgiveness.
2 Chronicles 9:5-8
5 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. 6 But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. 7 How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. 8 Blessed be the Lord your God! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, he has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.”
In 1 Kings 3, we learned about Solomon asking for wisdom from God. We know that God granted Him the wisdom that He asked for but in return for asking for wisdom, God also gave him great wealth and prosperity. We pick up here in 2 Chronicles 9 with a story about the Queen of Sheba. She was a great queen who was curious about this wise rich king in Israel. She was so curious that she decided to go on a journey to see all of this for herself. When she arrived at Jerusalem she was in complete shock of the riches and wisdom of Solomon. She says, “The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. 6 But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard.” The cool thing to see is how even Solomons wisdom and riches pointed to God, because she says, “Blessed be the Lord your God.” She understood that all of this had come from God.
This time in Solomon's life shows us the amazing blessings God has for us. When He says He wants us to follow Him with everything we have, it’s because His plans for our lives are far greater than anything we could ever do in our power. This is not to say, if you serve God you will be rich, powerful, and wise, and it’s not to say that if you are not those things then you are not following God completely. God’s blessings come in various forms. All of this is to see that when we live a life to honor God, we will be blessed and those blessings will point others to Him!
What are some of the ways God has blessed you? How can you use those blessings to point back to Jesus? Think about whether you are on track with your life. Are you following what God has called you to do or are you doing your own thing?
2 Chronicles 9:12
12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.
Today’s scripture is short and it plays off the previous day. The Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon, to see if what she had heard was true. We know it was true and then some. She was blown away and because of that, she showed her appreciation for God and Israel by bringing many gifts to Solomon. The gifts included over 4 tons of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. She brought what we would call truckloads of gold, spices, and precious stones. This was a big gift that she laid at the feet of Solomon. But check out today's verse! King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked for, AND more than she brought to King Solomon. Her parting gift was greater than the gift she brought.
This is amazing when you think about it. It’s like going to a birthday party with a gift for the birthday boy or girl and walking away with a similar gift and an extra $20. This is an awesome picture of God and the way He pours out his blessings on us. Think about it, when we give to God, we are actually giving back a portion of what He has given us. Since God is the creator of all things, it’s all His. But, it doesn’t stop there. When we give to God, He gives back to us, and just like Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, we can’t out-give God. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
How are you giving to God? This goes for your time, talent and treasure. What you give to God, He returns and then some. Let’s be known for the way we give and continue to point people to Jesus through our nature of giving.
2 Chronicles 12:1-8
1 When Rehoboam had established his sovereignty and royal power, he abandoned the law of the Lord—he and all Israel with him. 2 Because they were unfaithful to the Lord, in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 cavalrymen, and countless people who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Cushites. 4 He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.
5 Then the prophet Shemaiah went to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who were gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak. He said to them, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me; therefore, I have abandoned you to Shishak.”
6 So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.”
7 When the Lord saw that they had humbled themselves, the Lord’s message came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them but will grant them a little deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. 8 However, they will become his servants so that they may recognize the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”
This is a great example of what happens when Israel turns their back on God and when they humble themselves before Him, how he restores them.
Rehoboam is the king of Judah. We have to remember that Israel has separated into two separate kingdoms at this point. This is because of the way Solomon turned his back on God towards the end of his time as king. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, becomes king of Judah and you see from our scripture today, that he abandoned the law of the Lord. This made all of Israel do the same. Because of this, God allowed King Shishak of Egypt to wage war against them. The prophet Shemaiah went to Rehoboam and told him why this was happening. He says, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me; therefore, I have abandoned you to Shishak.” This got the attention of Israel and they humbled themselves before God and God turned away his wrath.
There is so much more in this story but we can see the love of God displayed in his mercy and grace. Israel had to face the consequences of their actions but God held back his wrath when they humbled themselves before Him. This is a common theme in the life of Israel, even to this day. But, this is also a common theme in our lives. How many areas of our lives are completely turned away from God and how many are turned and following his way? We tend to compartmentalize our life. We have our Christian compartment, our school compartment, work compartment, friend compartment and so many more. God wants to be Lord of it all not just the ones you choose. When we give Him a piece we are still turning away from Him everywhere else. It’s like giving God the keys to the car of your life but never letting Him drive. When God drives He takes us on the best path and gets us to where He wants us faster and easier. When we take control we are just going to get lost and hit every pothole on the way. Take some time today and see what compartment of your life you are holding back from God.
2 Chronicles 15:1-7
1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 So he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, hear me. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. 3 For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without instruction, 4 but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought him, he was found by them. 5 In those times there was no peace for those who went about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many conflicts. 6 Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress. 7 But as for you, be strong; don’t give up, for your work has a reward.”
The southern kingdom of Judah was an up and down journey with their kings. Israel had good kings who focused their life on God, took Israel away from idol worship, and brought them back to God. And they had bad kings who turned their hearts away from God and led Israel into idol worship. Today we are looking at one of the good kings, King Asa. 2 Chronicles 14:2 says, “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord His God.” He was dedicated to God from the beginning. He spent his time as king removing foreign altars and all things that led to the worship of false gods. Because of this, he faced many adversaries who wanted to take him out of power. But Asa stayed strong and stayed focused on God.
Today's scriptures show us an encouragement to King Asa to keep following God. The message is simple, If you seek him you will find him no matter how far gone you may feel like you are. Israel is in a bad place because of how they abandoned God, but when they turned back to Him and sought Him, they found Him. This encouragement is to tell King Asa to have faith that he is doing the right thing. He may be facing opposition and hard times but he is leading Israel back to God.
This is something we can hold on to. In Hebrews 11:6 it says, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” King Asa had a hard task in front of him and the only way he was going to get through it was with his faith in God and God rewarded that faith. God is not an absent God. He is active and working throughout all of our days. When we feel lost or abandoned in this world or if the chaos of this world is overwhelming, we need only to have faith and seek Him. And if we seek Him we will find Him. We will be rewarded for our faith in Him. Seek Him today and you will find Him active and moving in your everyday life.
2 Chronicles 34:3 & 19-21
3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images… 19 When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. 20 Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the court secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah, 21 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our ancestors have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.”
This is a crazy story. King Josiah became king at the age of 8. That is insane. I know I was not kingly material at the age of 8. But, King Josiah was a great and Godly king. He sought after God from the beginning and today's scripture shows us his heart for God. When he was around 16 years old he began to be more interested in the God of King David. He sought more information and wanted to learn more about God. 4 years later he began the process of cleansing Judah from all the false gods and false worship. He destroyed the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the high places that were all used in the worship of false gods.
He eventually sent his people to the temple to begin to clean it up so that they could worship God at the temple. This was an eye-opening experience for King Josiah. In verse 14 of 2 Chronicles 34, those cleaning out the temple found the book of the law. This is significant. Israel had fallen so far away from God that they didn’t even know they were missing the book of the law. The first five books of our modern-day bible. In verse 19 we see that King Josiah heard the words from the book of the law and realized how far away from God Israel was. He tore his clothes in a sign of mourning and great distress and immediately sought to make this right. He says, “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our ancestors have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.” He realized they had fallen so far away from God and it was time to make it right by immediately seeking Him.
We are in danger of this same thing happening in our lives. When you don’t read God’s word and you go off of your feelings and emotions instead of God’s word and His guidance, you don’t even know how far away you are from God. God’s word is a path for us to follow and a mirror for us to look into to see what we need to change. When we read scripture it should move us to make changes and alter our direction to the way God wants us to move. Is God's word an important part of your day? Do you seek God through prayer and scripture when you have decisions that need to be made? If you answered no to either of those questions, you are in danger of falling away from God and not even knowing it, just like Israel did. Get into God’s word and constantly seek after Him!
2 Chronicles 36:11-20
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before the prophet Jeremiah at the Lord’s command. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance by God. He became obstinate and hardened his heart against returning to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 All the leaders of the priests and the people multiplied their unfaithful deeds, imitating all the detestable practices of the nations, and they defiled the Lord’s temple that he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
15 But the Lord, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of his messengers, sending them time and time again, for he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against his people that there was no remedy. 17 So he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their fit young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary. He had no pity on young men or young women, elderly or aged; he handed them all over to him. 18 He took everything to Babylon—all the articles of God’s temple, large and small, the treasures of the Lord’s temple, and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 Then the Chaldeans burned God’s temple. They tore down Jerusalem’s wall, burned all its palaces, and destroyed all its valuable articles.
20 He deported those who escaped from the sword to Babylon, and they became servants to him and his sons until the rise of the Persian kingdom.
The nation of Judah is about to fall. They have constantly turned their back on God and today we learn about king Zedekiah who had completely hardened his heart before God. This was the final straw for Judah and it leads to their final destruction.
Today we learn about how one gets a hardened heart and how God allowed Israel to be turned over to their hardened hearts. This section of scripture can be broken into three parts. The first shows Zedekiah and the leadership of Israel hardening their hearts. You see that they chose to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Then you see that they ignored the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah and even rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who captured them but was content to let them live in Jerusalem. The leaders of Judah have completely stood up against God. (See Verse 14)
The second section shows God’s continued effort to lead Judah back to Him. You see that God sent messengers to them over and over to try and lead them back to Him. This really shows God’s love for His people. The third part of this section shows God giving Judah over to their hard heart. Verse 16 says, “16 But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against his people that there was no remedy.” It was finished, God gave them over to their hard hearts and they were sent into captivity.
We have seen what it takes to harden our heart, we have seen the effort God gives to drawing Israel back to Him and we have seen the destruction that comes when we don’t follow God. Let’s learn from Israel’s example, follow God's way, and keep our hearts soft towards God. This is accomplished by reading, knowing and applying His word.