July 30

2 Chronicles 26:1–28:27

We begin with King Uzziah who reigned in Judah from 787-735 B.C.

Wow – what a great start he had! He did what was right in the sight of the LORD. He sought God and he prospered. God helped him to defeat the Philistines, the Arabians, the Meunites and the Ammonites. We even read this about Uzziah in: 

2 Chronicles 26:8b (NKJV) “His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong.”

Under this godly leadership of Uzziah the nation of Judah excelled as builders, farmers, and warriors – his army  was strong, numerous, and organized, they even invented weapons of war for themselves. 

But then we read this about Uzziah:

2 Chronicles 26:15b (NKJV) “So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.”

God was raising him up, using him mightily. Uzziah was not just helped, he was “marvelously” helped, but then we read those tell-tale words – “till he became strong.” The strength and success went to his head. He believed his own press. He forgot that it was all God – not him. 

If we see and admit our own weakness and impotence, and lean on the Lord, He will strengthen us (2 Corinthians 12:9). But if we say “I’m strong, I’m good, I’m gifted, I’m what the world needs,” then our own weaknesses and lack of power will be exposed…and that’s what happened to Uzziah.

He thought so highly of himself that he went into the temple and burned incense in the Holy Place. When the priests saw him they rebuked him – but this only made him furious (for he was filled with pride). God therefore struck him with leprosy…and he remained a leper, isolated away from everyone else, until the day of his death. Such a tragic way to end an otherwise wonderful life. 

If God blesses us, may we always remember, it’s by His grace (1 Corinthians 15:10). Without God we can do nothing (John 15:5). We must never think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3). We all need to stay in the “lanes” the Lord has assigned to us.

After Uzziah came Jotham. Jotham reigned in Judah from 749-734 B.C.  We read this about him and the people of Judah:

2 Chronicles 27:2 (NKJV) “And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the LORD). But still the people acted corruptly.”

Jotham served the LORD, but tragically the people did not follow suit. This would manifest itself miserably under their next king. But Jotham was godly, he was a good builder, and fighter, able to defeat the Ammonites. We read the secret to his success:

2 Chronicles 27:6 (NKJV) “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.”

Other translations of the same passage offer further insight:

2 Chronicles 27:6 (NIV) “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the LORD his God.”

2 Chronicles 27:6 (NLT) “King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the LORD his God.”

2 Chronicles 27:6 (NET) “Jotham grew powerful because he was determined to please the LORD his God.”

Jotham seemed to finish well, and after him his son Ahaz was crowned king. Ahaz reigned from 741-726 B.C. but he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD. He served other gods, built altars to them on various high places and hills – he even burned his children in the fire, offering them to the god of Molech (doesn’t that remind you of abortion?). The only difference between then and now is today people burn them when they’re smaller and within the womb (with saline solution). Sometimes “doctors” dismantle them (if they’re bigger) but the same evil spirit has cast his evil spell upon society…and children are being slaughtered to the god (demon) of Molech.

If would be well for us to see that God judged Judah severely. The Northern Kingdom of Israel crushed them and killed 120,000 in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers (2 Chronicles 28:6). Wow!

After that they carried away 200,000 women, sons, and daughters, as slaves, along with much spoil to Samaria the capital of Israel. Thankfully and graciously God sent them the prophet Obed, who rebuked them, and along with the counsel of some of the elders of Israel, they had a change of heart, and returned the captives to Judah.

Ahaz was largely responsible for the collapse of Judah during his time. We read in:

2 Chronicles 28:19 (NKJV) “For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the LORD.”

Moral decline. We see that in our nation today don’t we?

What a difference a godly leader makes – in any setting, but especially over a nation. God help us to pray for our leaders, to vote into office those who have Biblical convictions, and to do all that we can to stay on track in our own lifelong “race” we’re called to run personally (Acts 20:24). 

Romans 13:1-14

In Romans 13 Paul addresses what might be considered a controversial issue – the government. He teaches that we are to be submissive to the Government, the authorities, police officers, etc. Paul actually refers to them as ministers of God. Now, this is an interesting statement in light of the fact that Caesar Nero was in power in Paul’s day. We might complain about the authorities of today, but chances are, they were nowhere nearly as bad as Caesar – and yet God teaches submission.

Pastor Chuck said, “I confess that I have a problem with the notion that every government authority is ordained by God. But when Paul wrote this to the Christians in Rome, the Roman Empire was at its apex of evil ruled by the horrible tyrant, Nero.”

By faith and obedience to God, we are not to resist those placed over us, we are to be subject to our God-given authorities, we are to pay our taxes, our customs, to esteem and honor those in places of authority. The only time we are NOT to submit, is if their law clearly contradicts the law of the Lord (Act 5:29).

Warren Wiersbe said, “Believers are citizens of heaven, but we must not minimize our responsibilities on earth. We must be exemplary citizens so that the Lord will be glorified (1 Peter 2:11–17).”

Paul addresses another controversial issue and that is capital punishment (13:4). Paul talks about the “sword” of the government and how they are “God’s avenger to execute wrath.” The Bible supports capital punishment and teaches us to obey the laws of the land so we won’t be punished.

In a world drowning in credit card debt Paul shares a great passage for us:

Romans 13:8 (NKJV) “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

First the money point – I like the way Sandy Adams worded it, “No bondage is more depressing than financial bondage. More bills than bucks – is a dilemma you should avoid at all costs.”

Then the main point, we owe everyone love. This is huge! Jesus said in: 

John 13:35 (NKJV) “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is so big, that when we love people we fulfill the entire law of the Lord. As Steven Curtis Chapman sang, “Love, love, love, love, love, it’s all about love, love, love, love, love…everything else comes down to this, nothing any higher on the list than love…it’s all about love.”

And of course the one we are to love the most is the Lord. We prove our love for Him through obedience (John 14:15). Paul closes with the exhortation to do just that, to wake up from our sleep, for our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, meaning the Lord’s return is sooner, and/or our day of passing can come at any time (I’m not getting any younger). I need to walk in the light, not in the dark; I need to cast off the flesh, and clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 23:1-6

This is a tough chapter to briefly summarize, for every point is epic.

What an absolute blessing to have the LORD as my Shepherd, to be a part of His flock! Other Psalms also mention this Shepherd-Sheep relationship:

Psalm 95:7a (NKJV) “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”

Psalm 100:3 (NKJV) “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

As my Shepherd, He takes care of me, supplies all of my needs, gives me rest and peace in plush pastures. He leads me, restores me and He’s with me, even in the dark valleys of life (so I have nothing to fear). He protects me from myself and from my enemies, and that comforts me. The blessings at the table of the LORD are overflowing to the point that His goodness and mercy pursue me all the days of my life. And then one day, on that day, when the race I have to run is done, I will cross that threshold and enter that door and dwell in His house – forever.

What a beautiful Psalm! It’s no wonder that this Psalm is one of the most prominent works of literature in the history of the world!

Some teachers have noted that Psalms 22-24 correlate to the 3 Shepherd titles in the New Testament:

The Good Shepherd – Psalm 22 – John 10:11

The Great Shepherd – Psalm 23 – Hebrews 13:20

The Chief Shepherd – Psalm 24 – 1 Peter 5:4

Proverbs 20:11

Proverbs 20:11 (NKJV) “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.”

If it’s true of children, it’s even more true of us, we’re known by our deeds not our declarations, by our walk and not just our talk.

Jesus said in:

Matthew 7:16-20 (NKJV) “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Just because we claim to be Christians doesn’t mean we are…there must be good fruit that follows, there must be evidence in order to have that confidence, we’re pure and right with God.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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