2 Chronicles 24-28; we are about to finish the history books of the Bible. In this second book of Chronicles, we are reliving the reign of the 19 kings in Judah and Israel. As I have stated before, Israel, the northern kingdom who withdrew from the united Israel kingdom, had 19 kings, all of which established their own kingdom which lasted only as long as the reigned. Israel had 19 kings with 19 different dynasties. The kings repeated have the familiar commentary – “and he did that which was not right in the eyes of the LORD, as Jeroboam, who lead Israel to reject God and embrace Baal.” When we come to Judah, the kings who reign are all from the line of David – affirming the promise Jehovah gave to King David – saying “your throne will not cease to have one from your line upon it. This was an eternal promise – David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD. This statement would mark many of the Kings that followed after the Israelite kingdom was divided. Judah also had 19 kings – but only had one dynasty. In other words no other families in Judah reigned on the throne except those in direct line of David. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this eternal promise. Jesus will reign on the throne of David. Even this is interesting because normally the first born of a family would inherit the place of leadership. Judah [the son of Jacob] was not the first, that fell to Reuben, and even Simeon, the second born should have been the heir of the Patriarchal clan. Even Levi should have gotten the scepter, but God separated Levi out for service to the Sanctuary. The scepter fell to Judah – now Judah is not without reproach, but it was Judah who came to the place of reigning lineage. Reuben eliminated because he took one of Jacob’s concubines sexually. Simeon excused because of the revenge he inflicted after Dinah had been raped. Levi, as I have said already had a special service dedicated to the LORD and the Temple/Ark of the Covenant. Judah was the one who protected Joseph from death by promoting the idea of selling Joseph instead of killing him; he was also in the lead position to seek and find Joseph. Judah was not a perfect leader. His dealing with Tamar, his daughter-in-law and “prostitution” does not view him favorably. However, God saw to had the scepter to his – Genesis 49:8-12.
Leadership for Israel and Judah are marked with leadership failures. We are no less than and no more than they. God knows that we are but dust.
Rather than chronicle the individual lives of each king, I found a more significant issue that needs to be addressed. I have mentioned this once before, but it became more glaring in our reading this week. The youthful leaders/kings many times in Judah were under the tutoring of a man of God or priest that taught them the ways of God. Judah more than Israel [northern tribes] had the prophets of God that would advise and direct the King in the ways of God. An easy example is Josiah; but there are many others. In their youth they listened to the prophets of old and did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD. Joash, Uzziah and Jehoshaphat and Amaziah are all examples of how youthful kings began so strong for the LORD, but because of success, pride and arrogance, they drifted away from God in their latter years. This happened not without repercussions. We will see this fulfilled in Hezekiah’s life next week.
Failed leadership because they didn’t stay true to the LORD God. Opulence with Solomon was a downfall to succeeding kings. In our country today, America, the thought has to be investigated, has the success economically and militarily caused the decline of our nation? I read much about the original signers of our national sacred documents, and how those men were central in establishing a country and nation founded on the premise of “doing that which is right in the eyes of the LORD.” Much is being done today to try and undermine the foundation of those men, and rewrite history from their personal failures, not from the core and heart of each man. Ultimately, Israel fell along with Samaria in 722 BC; Judah would fall to the Babylonians in 587 BC; again Israel in the Second Temple era fell at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD. When a nation departs from God; failure and demise is surely bound to happen. But in each case of destruction and fall; the nation had already crumbled from inside; Rome included. When looking at our own country – Have we gone the way of Israel by departing from God? I deal everyday with dying churches that are more concerned with their own “comfort and preferences” rather than serving God and winning the Lost with the Gospel.
The people quit listening to the prophets and the Word of God – people in America have come to a place where they don’t even discuss God. God is not even on their radar of topics to discuss. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go? Where are we in that continuum?