Faithful Or Forsaking the LORD
Faithful Or Forsaking the LORD
In a previous article we read the prophet's teaching to Asa the king of Judah: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you" (2 Chronicles 15:2).
Asa was blessed WHILE he sought the LORD, but at the end of his life he quit relying upon the LORD and suffered the consequences. Thus we begin reading about the kings that followed him. They are introduced one by one and the first thing we are told is whether they followed the LORD or not.
We read concerning Jehoshaphat: " The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand" (2Chron. 17:3). Yet he later joined his forces with the evil Ahaz, the evil king of Israel. He was reproved by the prophet Hanani: "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord" (19:2). To his credit, Jehoshaphat then begins seeking and following after the LORD. When he thus repents the LORD delivers Judah from a great army without having to fight. (chapter 20). Then, at the end of his life he again aligns himself with the king of Israel (Ahaziah this time) to build up his military. The prophet reproves him: "Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made" (20:37). God did.
Jehoram followed his father Jehoshaphat as king. "…he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord" (21:6). Edom and Libnah revolted from his rule "because he had forsaken the Lord, the God of his fathers" (21:10). He later received a letter from Elijah saying: "… Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel and have enticed Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom,… behold, the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day" (21:12-14). He died a painful death for forsaking the LORD.
Ahaziah begins to reign and "He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done. For after the death of his father they were his counselors, to his undoing" (22:3-4). He died according to the plan ordained by God against him (vs. 7).
After the wick queen Athaliah was put to death, the high Priest and counselor for the boy king Joash, cleaned up the land of Judah. He restored the worship of the LORD and destroyed the worship of Baal. The land prospered greatly during this time. Then he died.
"Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king [Joash]. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs" (24:17-18). The prophet Zechariah pronounces judgment against him saying: " Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you" (vs. 20).
Thus the story of 2 Chronicles continues to tell the story of the kings of Judah and their relationship with the LORD. When they are faithful to the LORD, they prosper in their rule. When they forsake the LORD, He not only forsakes them but punishes them for their unfaithfulness. Notice again all the 'because' statements above!
The LORD asks of us to be faithful unto Him (Rev. 2:10). We also can know that if we are faithful He will be faithful unto us AND that if we forsake him, he will forsake us. Yet even then, if we return to the LORD and seek him with our whole heart, He will be found by us! What marvelous grace and mercy from the LORD.