What we are reading this week (beginning Friday, March 10, 2023):
• Song of Songs 7-8
• 2 Chronicles 24-30
Week 50! Can it be??
This week we will finish up Song of Songs, and spend the last few days of the reading year in 2 Chronicles
Notes on Song of Songs
A dance has been introduced at the very end of chapter six. Then, in 7.1-5, the dancer's body is vividly described as she moves, from bottom to top. I told you this book was pretty graphic!
There is a connection here in this allegory to Revelation 19.7-8:
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)”
In spite of all of our sins, God forgives and redeems his people, becoming our righteousness (Yahweh Tsidkenu) and seeing no flaw in us at all. How awesome it that! What a Savior!
Notes on 2 Chronicles
Joash was seated on the throne at the tender age of seven. But the good priest Jehoiadah mentored him and kept the administration together. However, we find in the next chapter that after Jehoiadah’s death, some ungodly officials of Judah showed up and turned the king’s heart (24.17). God sent them a number of prophets, including Jehoiada’s own son Zechariah. All of them were ignored, and Zechariah was murdered.
For this act, some of Joash’s officials assassinated him (24.25). His son Amaziah succeeded him on the throne.
Amaziah started out well, following the Lord. We find a most interesting incident in chapter 25, where he hires mercenaries from Israel. The Lord sent a man of God to rebuke him for this move, for “the Lord is not with Israel.” He was told to send them home.
Of course, he had committed a lot of money to this endeavor, and asked about it. The man of God told him that “the Lord can give you much more than that” (25.9). Amazingly, the king complied with the directive.
Then he went out and defeated the men of Seir. However, he brought their gods back with him and began to worship them (25.14). These idols were not able to protect the people of Seir, why in the world would he worship them? How does it make any sense to abandon the Lord God who just gave you a victory and take on the gods that the Lord had just defeated?
This led to Amaziah’s eventual downfall. The rest of his tenure did not go well.
I know it would help to actually live in the culture, but I still cannot comprehend how a grown man will leave the Most High God, who has directly intervened throughout history in his own family and nation, and bow down to a block of wood captured from another nation, and to burn sacrifices to it (25.14).
First of all what kind of god is able to be captured (and even be tangible, for that matter)? Secondly, what kind of god is it that you would need to be careful from damaging or burning… something that could not even protect itself?
Amaziah’s son Uzziah now becomes king, the first of four who will be served by the prophet Isaiah. Uzziah became king at sixteen years old and was on the throne for fifty-two years, faithfully serving the Lord for almost the entire time. He built up an impressive army, with the latest in military technology! See 26.15. His power intimidated his enemies and kept Judah safe.
At the end of his reign, he became proud, and intended to offer incense on the altar of incense, something only allowed for priests to do. Like so many others, it was not outward threats but his own pride that was his downfall (verse 16). God was not pleased and struck him with leprosy, which he carried to his grave. The bravery of the priests who had confronted him about this is remarkable, but God protected them. See 26.17-21.
His son Jotham followed. He reigned for sixteen years, and was also a godly king. “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God” (27.6). However, he failed to pass his faith on to his son Ahaz. Of the four who served under Isaiah, Ahaz would be the one complete spiritual failure, and his failure was massive.
King Ahaz, following a father and grandfather who were faithful to God through most of their respective tenures, is wicked right out of the gate. He suffers greatly for this. When Pekah comes down from the northern kingdom, Judah suffers 100,000 casualties, and 200,000 taken captive in just one day. These numbers are staggering. He also loses his son and his number two man. See 28.5-8. However, a prophet admonished the kidnappers to return the hostages, which they did.
After all of this, Ahaz just sank deeper into rebellion and sin (28.22). He then turned to the king of Assyria for help, hoping for help not just from him, but from his false gods as well (28.23).
The Edomites were also invading the land and taking even more hostages, and the Philistines were taking over entire towns. Ahaz, instead of repenting, dove even deeper into idolatry (vv 22-25). And instead of giving away valuable articles in the Temple, he simply destroyed them (verse 24).
My favorite king, Hezekiah, now comes on the scene, only 25 years old. He realizes the spiritual cause and effect of what has happened in the past (see 29.4-9). Judah will have one last season of spiritual health and blessing during the twenty-nine years of his tenure.
Hezekiah recognized the importance of the Temple, which apparently had been overlooked for quite some time (29.5). His first project was to restore it, which he initiated in the very first first month of his first year in power (29.3). This was an extremely wise decision to initiate the spiritual rebuild of Judah.
Hezekiah actually sent couriers across the countryside to call people to repentance. His calls went out far and wide, beyond the borders of Judah into the northern kingdom of Israel (30.10).
In the sixth year of his reign, the northern kingdom fell to Assyria. The good king Hezekiah reached out to the remnant that was left there, as well as those of the ten tribes scattered throughout Judah, to celebrate the Passover (30.1-9). Not everyone was receptive to the king’s invitation (30.10).
Even though the people from the north ridiculed Hezekiah’s couriers, a lot of them showed up for Passover, nonetheless. Since this important event had fallen out of practice, the preparation for some of them was haphazard, and so there were those who did not follow Biblical protocols. However, Hezekiah prayed for them, and God gave them a pass. His big heart drew an accommodating response from God (30.18-20).
Passover, a one-day event, is tied to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which runs for seven days. But the people of God were so blessed and happy as they brought these celebrations back to life, they continued on for another seven days. See 30.23.
Verse 27: “The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.” That’s the kind of worship service that I want to be a part of!Week