Skip to main content

2 Chronicles 25-28


King Uzziah of Judah stricken with Leprosy
by Rembrandt van Rijn
The Chronicler continues to follow his pattern of giving at least a chapter of commentary on each king of Judah. He mentions which kings were good and which ones were evil just as Kings does, but as we have seen before, he continues to give a fuller picture of each king’s reign.
For example, the Chronicler mentions that King Amaziah did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart. The Chronicler adds that Amaziah hired troops from Israel, something that Kings does not tell us. However, when a man of God warns him that this is wrong, Amaziah backs off his plan, and the Lord gives him victory against the men of Seir despite his diminished troops.
Amaziah does not appear to be grateful to the Lord for this victory. Instead, he sets up the gods of Seir as his own to worship. The Lord sends a prophet to warn Amaziah but the king refuses to listen. Therefore, the Lord hands Amaziah over to be defeated by the king of Israel in battle. The king of Israel even seizes all the gold and silver and the vessels found in the house of God. It seems that this happens to Judah many times. It is a wonder that there are any valuable things for the Babylonians to carry off as booty when they come to destroy Jerusalem many years later. The Chronicler concludes his account of Amaziah by pointing out that “from the time that Amaziah turned away from the Lord they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem”. This is a frequent emphasis of the Chronicler: that anything bad that happens to one of the kings is due to his turning away from the Lord.
Chapter 26 focuses on Uzziah, who is called Azariah in the Book of Kings. He is basically a good king and reigns long in Jerusalem, fifty-two years. However, the Chronicler adds that when Uzziah became strong he also grew proud. This pride was reflected in Uzziah entering the Temple to make an offering of incense. This is something that only the priests were allowed to do. Therefore the priest, Azariah (who bears a different version of the name of the king, confusing I know!) goes after Uzziah in the Temple to stop him. Uzziah becomes angry at this and the Lord strikes him with leprosy. These details of why Uzziah was afflicted with leprosy are not covered by the Book of Kings. Again, the Chronicler wants to spell out that everything bad that happens to one of the kings of Judah is due to his unfaithfulness to the Lord and to God’s law. The Chronicler concludes by telling us that the rest of the acts of Uzziah were written down by the prophet Isaiah who, according to Isaiah 6, became a prophet in the year that Uzziah died.
Chapter 27 provides a brief account of the reign of Jotham who was good like his father Uzziah, better even, because Jotham did not invade the Temple. The author of Chronicles, as we have seen before, is keen to emphasize the role of the priests and Levites and the fact that the Temple is their domain.
Chapter 28 gives an account of the reign of King Ahaz who was wicked. He worshiped the Baals and made offerings to other gods in every place where he could. Because of this, the Lord handed Ahaz over to the king of Aram and the king of Israel who defeated him in battle. Once again, the Chronicler makes it crystal clear that this defeat happened because Ahaz “abandoned the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:6). However, the Lord does not allow Judah to be completely destroyed at this point. He sends a prophet named Obed to stop Israel in her tracks. Rather than keep the prisoners of war from Judah (an incredible number at 200,000), Israel returns the captives to Jericho and then the men of Israel return peacefully to Samaria—all because of the word of one prophet.
Despite God's protection of Judah in this instance, Ahaz turns to the king of Assyria for help when he is attacked by the Edomites. Once again, the house of the Lord is plundered to pay tribute to a foreign king. Again, this raises the question: is there anything left in the Temple? Ahaz ends up doing something that no other king of Judah did before him; he actually closes the doors of the Temple and makes altars to other gods throughout Jerusalem.
The Chronicler could not be any clearer about the reason why the Lord allowed Judah to be carried off into exile. Repeated turning away from the Lord is the reason. When we turn away from the One who is life, there is only death. Evil is “live” spelled backwards.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

C. S. Lewis on Homosexuality

Arthur Greeves
In light of recent developments in the United States on the issue of gay marriage, I thought it would be interesting to revisit what C. S. Lewis thought about homosexuality. Lewis, who died in 1963, never wrote about same-sex marriage, but he did write, occasionally, about the topic of homosexuality in general. In the following I am quoting from my book, Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. For detailed references and footnotes, you may obtain a copy from Amazon, your local library, or by clicking on the book cover at the right....
In Surprised by Joy, Lewis claimed that homosexuality was a vice to which he was never tempted and that he found opaque to the imagination. For this reason he refused to say anything too strongly against the pederasty that he encountered at Malvern College, where he attended school from the age of fifteen to sixteen. Lewis did not rate pederasty as the greatest evil of the school because he felt the cruelty displayed at Malver…

A Prayer at Ground Zero

Christmas Day Thought from Henri Nouwen

"I keep thinking about the Christmas scene that Anthony arranged under the altar. This probably is the most meaningful "crib" I have ever seen. Three small woodcarved figures made in India: a poor woman, a poor man, and a small child between them. The carving is simple, nearly primitive. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the contours of the faces. The figures are smaller than a human hand - nearly too small to attract attention at all.
"But then - a beam of light shines on the three figures and projects large shadows on the wall of the sanctuary. That says it all. The light thrown on the smallness of Mary, Joseph, and the Child projects them as large, hopeful shadows against the walls of our life and our world.
"While looking at the intimate scene we already see the first outlines of the majesty and glory they represent. While witnessing the most human of human events, I see the majesty of God appearing on the horizon of my existence. While being moved by the ge…

Sheldon Vanauken Remembered

A good crowd gathered at the White Hart Cafe in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday, February 7 for a powerpoint presentation I gave on the life and work of Sheldon Vanauken. Van, as he was known to family and friends, was best known as the author of A Severe Mercy, the autobiography of his love relationship with his wife Jean "Davy" Palmer Davis.

While living in Oxford, England in the early 1950's, Van and Davy came to faith in Christ through the influence of C. S. Lewis. Van was a professor of history and English literature at Lynchburg College from 1948 until his retirement around 1980. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Davy's death from a mysterious liver ailment in 1955 and Van's subsequent dealing with grief. Van himself died from cancer in 1996.

It was my privilege to know Van for a brief period of time during the last year of his life. However, present at the White Hart on February 7 were some who knew Van far better than I did--Floyd Newman, one of Van's…

Mentoring

The first of four posts by yours truly is now up on the Next Leadership Blog. Check it out by clicking here: Mentoring.

C. S. Lewis Tour--London

The final two days of our C. S. Lewis Tour of Ireland & England were spent in London. Upon our arrival we enjoyed a panoramic tour of the city that included Westminster Abbey. A number of our tour participants chose to tour the inside of the Abbey where they were able to view the new C. S. Lewis plaque in Poets' Corner.


Though London was not one of Lewis' favorite places to visit, there are a number of locations associated with him. One which I have noted in my new book, In the Footsteps of C. S. Lewis, is Endsleigh Palace Hospital (25 Gordon Street, London) where Lewis recovered from his wounds received during the First World War....


Not too far away from this location is King's College, part of the University of London, located on the Strand, just off the River Thames. This is the location where Lewis gave the annual commemoration oration entitled The Inner Ring on 14 December 1944....


C. S. Lewis occasionally attended theatrical events in London. One of his favorites w…

Fact, Faith, Feeling

"Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where to get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith." Mere Christianity


Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, I remember seeing the graphic illustration above of what C. S. Lewis has, here, so eloquen…

C. S. Lewis's Parish Church

The first time I visited Oxford, in 1982, the porter at Magdalen College didn't even recognize the name--C. S. Lewis. I had asked him if he could give me directions to Lewis's former home in Headington Quarry. Obviously, he could not and did not. (Directions to Lewis's former home are now much easier to obtain. Just click here for directions and to arrange a tour: The Kilns.)
Things have changed a lot since 1982. Now Lewis is remembered all around Oxford. At the pub where the Inklings met, at Magdalen College, and not least--at his parish church--Holy Trinity Headington Quarry. The first time I visited the church I only saw the outside and Lewis's grave, shared with his brother Warnie.
Since that first visit I have returned to Holy Trinity a number of times and worshiped there. Father Tom Honey is a real gem. Under his leadership the congregation has grown and now includes a number of young families. I was overwhelmed by the number of children who came into the sanctuary…

A Christmas Psalm

Psalm 110
The Lord says to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
you will rule in the midst of your enemies.
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy majesty,
from the womb of the dawn
you will receive the dew of your youth.

The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
"You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek."

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook beside the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms,
Chapter XII, paragraphs 4 & 5:

"We find in our Prayer Books that Psalm 110 is one of those appointed for Christmas Day. We may at first be surprised by this. There is nothing in it about peace and good-will, nothing remotely sugg…

C. S. Lewis on Church Attendance

A friend's blog written yesterday (http://wesroberts.typepad.com/) got me thinking about C. S. Lewis's experience of the church. I wrote this in a comment on Wes Robert's blog:
It is interesting to note that C. S. Lewis attended the same small church for over thirty years. The experience was nothing spectacular on a weekly basis. For most of those years Lewis didn't care much for the sermons; he even sat behind a pillar so that the priest would not see the expression on his face. He attended the service without music because he so disliked hymns. And he left right after holy communion was served probably because he didn't like to engage in small talk with other parishioners after the service. But that life-long obedience in the same direction shaped Lewis in a way that nothing else could.
Lewis was once asked, "Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?"
His answer was as follows: &q…