>I have been reading 2 Chronicles lately, and I am amazed to discover how much I’ve missed in previous readings. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read through this book, but this time it has been as if I were reading it anew. The book focuses greatly on the faithfulness of God, both in rewarding the faithfulness of His people and in punishing their unfaithfulness.
The contrast in 2 Chronicles between those who followed God and those who did not is dramatic. One example of this is found in the first reign following the split of the nation into Israel and Judah. Rehoboam, son of Solomon, had started off following the ways of the Lord. But, once his kingdom was strong and established, “he and all Israel with him” turned against the Lord (12:1). So, the Lord allowed Egypt to invade Judah. Rehoboam and the people realized what their sin was causing and they humbled themselves, so God didn’t allow them to be destroyed. He instead allowed them to be placed under the rule and authority of Egypt saying, “But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. (2 Chron 12:8)”
As I read through this passage, my gut reaction was to say, “You idiots! Don’t you know following God always results in the best for you?” But, the truth of it came descending upon me pretty rapidly as God whispered, “Don’t you know the same thing?” An incredible path of life has been outlined for us in Scripture. I’m not talking about “thou shalt not murder” and “thou shalt not commit adultery.” I’m talking about the fruit of the Spirit, the command to not worry but to be thankful and pray, the command to love our enemies, the promise that our needs will always be provided. I could go on and on and on! God presented His children – then and now – with so many incredible promises! All we have been asked to do is to put Him first. But, we so often choose to put other things before Him. Our preferences. Our desires. Our stubbornness. Our time-usage choices. Our worries. The fulfillment of what we consider “needs.” Essentially, our idols. We are no better than the Judahites. Just as they stopped following the Lord as soon as things were going well for them, so we stop following Him when all is fine. Why do we need Him if all is going well?
Why? Because we are still in service. We are always in service. There are only two choices when it comes to the object of our servitude. God represents one choice. The other choice has many names. In this passage it is “the kingdoms of the countries.” Other names include money, possessions, ideologies – but it is essentially servitude to the prince of this world. When we refuse to commit ourselves to the service of the most incredible Master in existence, He will allow us to experience service to “the kingdoms of this world.” And, I guarantee that such service will never be good.
Right now my family is incredibly experiencing the joy and delight of service to our Lord. We stumble at times, to be sure, but He is so incredibly faithful to us. We have many needs, and knowing that He alone can meet them keeps us from wanting to stray from Him. What will happen when the needs aren’t so profound? What will happen when the money flows sufficiently and we are all healthy and nothing is wrong with the car or the house or anything else in our lives? What will happen when our kingdom is strong? I pray that we will still be 100% committed to serving the greatest Master. My prayer is that right now we begin training our hearts and minds to always be His, in good times and bad. I don’t ever again want to be reminded what servitude to the “kingdoms of the countries” is like – I want to know nothing but service to my God.