I’m getting back to my Bible-in-a-year schedule. The date on my schedule says it’s October, but I’m pretty sure it’s May. It is May, isn’t it? Anyway, I took a break from this schedule for Lent and followed the Wordstrong reading schedule my whole church was following. But I really have no excuse for being so far behind, except that I get busy and read other things, and well, the next section on the schedule was 2 Chronicles 34 – 35.
I’m not a huge fan of 1 and 2 Chronicles because it seems so repetitive. These two books basically “chronicle” (hence the name) the reigns of the various kings of Israel and Judah. Each chapter starts so-and-so, son of so-and-so, became king of Judah. He was x years old. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord or he did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. There seem to be a lot more of the former, but I’ve never actually taken a tally to confirm that.
As I looked at my schedule last week, I thought to myself (and actually said out loud to my husband) “I don’t want to read 2 Chronicles.” And so I read the New Testament passages for that day, which were from Acts. But when I was done with the chapters from Acts I still wasn’t sleepy so I decided I would go ahead and get the 2 Chronicles chapters over with.
Of course, this is where God spoke to me and showed me that there is more to 2 Chronicles than meets the eye.
Chapters 34 and 35 are the story of King Josiah who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He became king at the age of eight and right from the beginning he followed in the footsteps of his ancestor King David. When he was older, the scroll of the law was found in the temple. As the scroll was read, Josiah realized the Israelites had not been following it, and “he tore his robes.” This means that he humbled himself before God because he was upset that the Israelites had not been following God’s law. He resolved to change that and to follow God in the way he now knew he should.
What struck me about this is that as he got older, Josiah became wiser. For many years he had done his best to follow God and was even credited with doing what was pleasing to God. But when he learned more about God from the scroll that was found, he used this new information to change his actions and his attitude towards God.
I have been a Christian for quite a few years and, since the time I was baptized and became a believer, I have tried my best to do what was right in God’s eyes. With the information and wisdom that I had at each stage of my life, I followed God. But I am older now and have read much more of His Word; that should mean I am wiser. What was pleasing to God when I was 25 would probably not be pleasing to Him now that I am in my 40’s. I must continually grow in my understanding of His Word and change my actions and attitude towards God when I learn new information that reveals that the actions of my youth were not in accordance with God’s will.
Conversely, when I see young Christians acting in a way or displaying an attitude that I know from God’s Word is not pleasing to Him, I need to be understanding. I need to realize that they are (hopefully) acting in accordance with the knowledge and wisdom that they now have. As they seek to know Him better, their actions and attitudes will change and they will become more like Christ. With gentleness, it is my duty to guide them when led by the Spirit to do so, and to point them to the Word of God and what He has to say on the issue before us. As one who has “heard the words of the Law” as King Josiah did, and grown in my understanding of Christ’s grace and mercy, it is my duty to pass that on to others who are less mature in their faith. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV).
King Josiah shared the words of the scroll that had been found with all of the people (see 2 Chronicles 34:29-31) so that they might be built up as a nation and recommit themselves to the Lord. He was a good king, and his story is worth reading and learning from. In the same way, those who know God’s Word should share it with others so that we might be built up as the body of Christ.