2 Chronicles 1-36 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight 2CHR1
The Bible From 30,000 Feet: Soaring Through the Scripture From Genesis to Revelation.
All right. Turn in your bibles, please, to the book of Second Chronicles. We're at 30,000 feet. We're flying overhead rapidly. The intention is not to go in depth. The intention is to give us a broad overview of God's message in this book. We want you to know it. I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to know it. You know, I often get asked this question. What is your favorite book in the Bible, Skip? And my answer is, it depends on which week it is.
This week, Second Chronicles is my favorite book in the Bible. You know, I was reading through it this week, and it brought to memory the reality of so many great promises in this book, such great material. I remember, one time, a friend of mine saying it was his favorite book in the Bible of all of them. And I kind of found that odd that somebody would say the book of Second Chronicles in the Old Testament is a Christian's favorite book, until I read it. Then I understood the depth of it.
So unfortunately, we are just flying overhead, so we're going to get just some of the highlights. We'll make those known to you and point them out to you. We don't know who wrote this book. Like First Chronicles, we believe it is Ezra the Priest. And the more I read first and Second Chronicles, the more convinced I am that Ezra, the author of the Book of Ezra, wrote this book as well.
Why do I say that? Once again, because of the emphasis that is in Second Chronicles and First Chronicles seems to be the perspective of a priest. And the language scholars have discovered between the Book of Ezra and the Book of Chronicles is very similar. And the last part of Second Chronicles is repeated in the Book of Ezra. So I think I would agree, on this point, that, like the Talmud that says, Ezra wrote this, that was passed on in Jewish tradition, I would agree with that. I think Ezra wrote the book, though I can't be certain.
Here's another reason why I think Ezra wrote it. The book opens up with the plans to build a temple. The book closes with the destruction of the temple. It seems that the temple is central throughout the entire book. That is something a priest would focus on because a priest's duty in those days took place in the temple.
Just another note. There is an overlap of material between Second Chronicles and First and Second Kings, but it's different, in that it seems to be more spiritually focused. It's not just information that is given like I feel First and Second Kings is. It's not informational. It's more inspirational. Seems to be more of a spiritual not only narrative and commentary, but an editorial on Israel's history. I think you'll see some of those verses as we go through it.
Let me give you the theme of this book. The theme of Second Chronicles is from quality to captivity, from excellence to exile. They are living, at first, throughout this book, a quality life. Israel is at its peak. It's like post-war America, post World War II America. The people are prospering, the land is expanding, everybody's happy, the kingship is strong. But they go from a place of quality, and it ends at a place of captivity-- so from excellence to exile, from quality to captivity.
I believe-- here's the spiritual application. I believe God wants you to live a quality life. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. He didn't say, I've come that you might have abundant bummer. The Christian life is to be a quality life. That doesn't mean you'll always be prosperous financially, but I think the Lord wants you to have joy. He wants you to have a quality of life experience that other people don't have that make unbelievers want what you have by their observation of your life.
But we too can go from quality to captivity. We too can go from excellence in Christ to exile. We can be trapped. We can become in bondage to a number of things, and that is not what God wants for your life. But we take the lesson from the children of Israel who followed that road.
Let me throw out some interesting characteristics about the book of Second Chronicles-- notable features. First of all, if you are reading a Hebrew Bible, this is their Book of Revelation. This is their last book in their Bible. Second Chronicles ends their book. That's notable feature number one. Notable feature number two, Second Chronicles records the largest army ever assembled in the Bible, one million men. That's found in Second Chronicles Chapter 14.
Third notable characteristic, the youngest king to ever sit on the throne is mentioned in Second Chronicles, a guy by the name of Joash-- seven years old. How would you like him running your country? A seven-year-old King, Joash. Fourth notable feature, the conversion of Judah's most wicked King ever by the name of King Manasseh.
He'd far outstripped any of the other kings who did evil on the side of the Lord. And yet, miraculously, in the 33rd chapter, he humbles his heart, and God converts him and works some pretty incredible stuff. Now, let me give you that outline. You could divide Second Chronicles up into three sections, all with the letter D.
First of all, the distinction of Solomon's kingship. The first nine chapters are all about Solomon, Solomon, Solomon-- why he was awesome, how he led the people, how he planned for the temple, how he assembled people to build the temple, how he got the materials. It's all about the distinction of Solomon's kingship.
The second part of the book, chapters 10, 11, and 12, is the division of the singular kingdom. When I say singular kingdom, I mean the united monarchy. I mean Israel and Judah both combined, Saul, David, and Solomon all reigned over that united kingdom. But there comes a division that is only mentioned in this book. It is not detailed like it was in the Book of First and Second King.
So the distinction of Solomon's kingship, followed by the division of the singular kingdom, and then the third Division, chapters 13 through 36, the decline of the southern kingdom. Now, you're going to hear me tonight mention this, that Second Chronicles primarily focuses on the southern kingdom. It will mention the north, but only as it relates to the south. So you remember-- we've gone through this-- the kingdom was split. We're going to see this again.
The kingdom was split north and south, Israel in the north, 10 tribes, two tribes called Judah down south. This book focuses mostly on that kingdom of Judah. So let's begin in chapter one, verse one, with the distinction of Solomon's kingship. Now, you saw in this little skit we had, so now you know. How many years did Solomon rule on the throne?
40 years. And so he reigned from 971 BC to 931 BC. Those 40 years, he was the King over the united monarchy. Solomon's reign was a golden age. It was an age of peace. They were not hassled by enemies because the kingdom was strong. It was an age of prosperity. The kingdom was united. The borders were extended. Like I said, it was much like our country post World War II, when the promise was a car in every garage, a washer and dryer in every home. People were living the good life in Judah and in Israel.
In chapter one, verse one, notice it says Solomon, the son of David, was strengthened in his kingdom and the Lord, his God, was with him and exalted him exceedingly. In Psalm 75, it reads thus. Promotion does not come from the east nor from the west. Promotion comes from the Lord. I know what you're thinking. No, promotion comes from my boss.
I hope he likes me, or she likes me. My boss needs to give me a raise. In reality, it comes from the Lord. You want a raise? Pray for your boss. Serve your boss wholeheartedly. Do your job, and then trust in the Lord. The Lord raised Solomon to this position, the author says. Look at verse three. Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon.
Gibeon is a higher elevated place about six miles away from Jerusalem. And notice what it says. For the Tabernacle of meeting with God was there, not a Jerusalem-- it's in Gibeon, six miles away-- which Moses, the servant of the Lord, had made in the wilderness. But David had brought up the Ark of God from Kiriath-Jearim to the place David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem.
Now, we won't read this again, but this is where the Lord appears to Solomon the first time. He appeared to him a couple of times. The first time, God came to him and said, Solomon, I'm giving you a blank check. You fill in the amount, I'll sign it. What do you want? Ask anything. And it's interesting that Solomon said, oh, Lord, what I really need is wisdom and knowledge to know how to go in and come out before this people, for it is a great people. They're your people. I don't have the experience and leadership. So, Lord, give me wisdom and give me knowledge.
So the Lord came back, and he said, tell you what, I'm going to do you a solid. I'm going to do you one better. I'm not going to fill that in on the blank check. I'm going to fill that in, but also, I'm going to add to it prosperity. I'm going to bless you in a very unique way so that you will be not only wise-- wiser than anyone who's come before you or after you-- but I'm also going to give you prosperity. I'm also going to bless you financially because you didn't ask for it.
You know, sometimes you think, well, you don't have a cause you didn't ask for it, and the Bible says, you have not because you asked not. But in this case, he didn't want that, so God gave it to him. I think the Lord knows who he can trust with finances. Why don't I have more money? Well, maybe you wouldn't be good-- maybe it would ruin you. Maybe it'd be the worst thing for you. The Lord knows what you can handle.
And if your heart is so set on it-- and the Bible says, in the New Testament, that shouldn't be the case because it could be your undoing. It's a root of all kinds of evil. The Bible says, don't seek after riches. So Solomon, interestingly, asks for wisdom and knowledge, and the Lord added to him riches and wealth.
Now, let's give you a snapshot of how successful Solomon was and what life was like in Jerusalem. Look at verse 15. Also, the King made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones. If you know the landscape of Jerusalem, this is quite a statement because there are stones everywhere. If you've gone on a tour to Israel-- anybody? If you looked around, there are stones everywhere. You get the idea when Jesus said, if these hold their peace, even the stones will cry out. It'd be a loud concert. It'd be a rock concert because they're everywhere.
The King made silver and gold is common and Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as abundant as the sycamores, which are in the low land. I'll show you why in a moment the Sycamores-- excuse me-- the cedars became so abundant. At this point, the Tabernacle is in Gibeon. The Tabernacle meaning that cloth structure that enclosed the Ark of the Covenant, at one time, was in Gibeon. It was not in Jerusalem.
The Ark was in Jerusalem because David had brought it up and built kind of his own little private tent for it in the City of David, the lower escarpment-- the lower raised section of the ancient city of Jerusalem. That's where the Ark was, but there was no central place of worship. David wanted to build a temple. God wouldn't let him. Solomon now undertakes that task. So chapters two, three, and four, Solomon builds a temple.
Now here's the deal. Let's say right now we were over in Jerusalem, and you and I were standing on the Mount of Olives. If we were, I would point across the valley-- the Kidron Valley-- and I would show you the area where the temple once stood. And I would say to you, look, I know you see a mosque on there now, but, really, years ago, there was a temple. And that was the Temple of King Herod.
And I can even show you where we think the foundation stones were, and I can even show you some of the stones of that temple. But when it comes to Solomon's temple, we can only guess that it was in that same place. But I really can't show you any remnants of Solomon's temple, and here's why.
The Babylonians so utterly destroyed the temple of God, so scored and scorched the area that people, after that, didn't even know where that temple stood, exactly. Now, I could even show you some of the fire markings, the ash that is still on the walls of some of the homes when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. That evidence is there, but where the foundation stones are of Solomon's temple, it was so utterly obliterated by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, we just don't know.
But here, Solomon builds the temple. And it says in chapter two, verse one, Solomon determined to build a temple for the name of the Lord and a royal house for himself. So what does he do? He sends a note up to his dad's buddy up in Lebanon, like you saw in that little skit before, a guy by the name of Hiram, the King of Tyre-- where all the cedars of Lebanon grow in the mountains behind him-- and asked for building materials-- cedars of Lebanon-- asked for workers to come down, asked for architects and artists to help them out-- a good group.
Verse five, and the temple, which I build, Solomon said, will be great. For our God is greater than all gods. Now, keep in mind that the first 10 chapters are all about the-- I just said it-- temple. So that's noteworthy. There's only about two chapters in the Bible devoted to God creating the heavens and the earth. 10 chapters of this book alone are about building the temple. So it's a temple-centered book. Why is that? Because it was to be the center of their life. Worship was to be the center of their life. Worship is to be the center of our life.
You say, so do we go to the temple? You don't need to go to the temple. First of all, there is no temple in Jerusalem, and it's a long way away. Say, well, the temple these days is going to church. Yes and no. You are the temple. You are the place of worship. Worship should take place inside of you as a regular, daily, ongoing activity. You're the temple of the Holy Spirit, that is, your body is to be worship central. You can praise God day or night, anytime. Paul even said, pray without ceasing. So it's a very temple-centered book.
The first nine chapters are devoted to the construction, gathering supplies, gathering workers. Chapters 10 through 36 omit the northern kings as I mentioned. Only a couple of them are mentioned, but only as they have ties to the temple. So it's a very temple-centered book. Also, there will be prominence given to the Kings of Judah who helped rebuild, and restore, and repair the temple.
And number four, the book closes with a proclamation of King Cyrus, who helped bring captivity to the people of Israel, and then-- well, it was King Cyrus who took over the Babylonians, who had taken them captive. King Cyrus announces that the Jews can go back to rebuild their temple under Ezra and Nehemiah. So all of those factors lead to that general idea that it's a very temple-centered book. Also there's a word used a lot in this book. 150 times the word "house" is used, and it doesn't mean home. It means the house of the Lord-- the house. Not a house, the house-- the temple.
Chapter three, verse one, now Solomon began to build a house of the Lord of Jerusalem on Mount Mariah, where the Lord had appeared to his father, David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. You saw his other name, his alternate spelled name in that little skit we did, Araunah. Araunah is also Ornan. I like Ornan better. It's easier to say.
And he began, verse two, to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign. Solomon was interesting in how he constructed the temple. He basically took the dimensions of the Tabernacle and doubled them. So instead of 45 feet deep for the holy place in Holy of Holies, he made it 90 feet deep. Instead of 15 feet wide, like in the holy place in Holy of Holies, he made it 30 feet wide. And he made it 45 feet tall, the temple. So he doubled it.
But then, when it came to the articles, if you remember back in the Tabernacle, there was a place for the priests who were doing sacrifice to wash their hands, wash themselves, do an oblation. And that was called the laver. Remember that? The laver was sort of a little brass basin. By the time Solomon builds the laver, he calls it a sea-- S-E-A. It's huge. So it goes from a little laver in the Tabernacle to this enormous basin that is seven feet high, 15 feet in diameter, 45 feet in circumference. Holds an enormous amount of water, so it's called a sea.
And I'm bringing that up because, by the time we get to the Book of Revelation, and we see John and Heaven, he sees a sea, but not a fluid sea for a cleansing, but a sea of glass. And God's people are standing on the sea. Why are they standing on the sea? Because the need for cleansing is over. They're standing on the finished work of Jesus Christ, who cleansed us from our sin. The sea where a cleansing was done is done. Now it's solid, man. You've got a foundation underneath you. But in Solomon's day, he makes the sea, flanked by 12 oxen-- three facing one direction, three facing the other, 12 altogether.
Chapter five, verse one. So all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished, and Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated-- the silver, the gold, all the furnishings-- and he put them in the treasuries of the house of God. Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, in Jerusalem that they might bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord up from the City of David, which is Zion.
So let's bring that central piece of furniture, that place where God dwells-- let's take it out of that tent and put it where it belongs in the temple, where people can come, and gather, and worship, and make sacrifices, and praise the Lord. It took Solomon seven and 1/2 years to build the temple. Once it was built, he dedicated it. He got the people together, had a prayer of dedication. Sacrifices were made.
And he decided to dedicate it in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which is our fall. He wanted it to coincide with the Feast of Tabernacles. So all the people of Israel gathered together for the dedication. Chapter five, verse 13. Indeed, came to pass, when the trumpeters and the singers were as one to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets, the symbols, the instruments of music. And they praised the Lord, saying, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.
Notice this, that the "house"-- there's that word. And then it says, the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud. What is that cloud? I hear answers. The Shekhinah Glory of God. The Shekhinah, as the Hebrews call it. That visible, tangible sign of the presence of God, it filled that place.
In chapter six, Solomon gets on a special platform made for the dedication-- it's a large one-- and he spreads his hands, and he prays. Chapter seven, verse one. When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. That's that Shekhinah, that cloud of the Shekhinah Glory.
So the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Now look at verse two. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the house. This happened before. Exodus, chapter 40, the dedication of the Tabernacle. The glory of the Lord came down. That cloud filled the Tabernacle. It happens again here with the temple.
And did you know it's going to happen again, and you're going to see it? Did you know that? You will see the cloud, the glory, the Shekhinah Glory-- this cloud-- fill the Millennial Temple, according to the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 43. So it's going to happen again. And if you're a believer in Christ, you'll be in that millennial 1,000 year reign with Christ on the Earth. So won't it be cool to see that happen at that time?
Now, I have to pause here and mention something. There has been, for a number of years, in certain Christian circles, an experience that people are told to expect or to desire called being Slain in the Spirit. Have you ever heard that term, being Slain in this Spirit? And what it is is people will come forward sometimes in these churches, and they'll have the preacher lay hands on them.
Sometimes the preacher will gently push them. Sometimes he will firmly push them because he wants them to fall over on the ground, and, on the ground, then blame that on the Holy Spirit. I'll push you down, but you're being slain in the spirit, brother. You can't control it. I've never really seen the value of this, though I have observed it. Some seem to think it is valuable. I absolutely see none at all, except the potential of a possible cranial fracture. [LAUGHTER]
So I don't see it as an advantage. When you press people who teach this or practice this for a scriptural basis they will want to point out this section of scripture. And they will quote from the King James version of the Bible, which renders that a little bit differently. Chapter five, verse 14 in the King James version says, the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud.
And so they interpret that as, well, they couldn't stand, so it must have meant they fell down. No. All it means is they couldn't stand it. They couldn't take it. They couldn't see, just like when you get a fog-- a fog rolls in-- they couldn't see clearly to do their duty, administer their priestly function. So they got out, not that they fell down. It didn't say that. They couldn't stand to minister, so they left. It does not mean they fell down.
So when you explain that to them, then they say, well, there's plenty of other scriptures that talk about this. And then they'll point to the Garden of Gethsemane when they tried to arrest Jesus, and Jesus said, I'm Jesus of Nazareth. Then they all fell backwards. Well, last time I checked, those weren't Christian believers. Those were Roman soldiers who wanted to do Jesus ill, not good. So that's an experience unbelievers had with the power of God, not believers. Then they'll say, well, Ananias and Sapphira. They were believers, and they fell. Yes, they did, but never to get back up. [LAUGHTER]
They weren't Slain in the Spirit. They were slain by the Spirit. God killed them. I don't want that experience. No, thank you. So anyway the temple is dedicated. A gal from Arabia, called the Queen of Sheba, hears the reports of Solomon, comes, interviews him, is so amazed by his wisdom.
She peppers him with question after question-- and I'm free rendering it here-- she says, wow, you're awesome. In fact, you're so awesome, the half has not been told me about your wisdom. What they told me, you've exceeded it twice. So she goes back. And long and short of it is Solomon dies. So that's the first nine chapters.
Now we got that out of the way. You still with me? Section one is out of the way. We now go into section number two, and this is the division-- the division of that united monarchy, the division of the single kingdom, chapters 10, 11, and 12. So if you think about it, Israel did rise to a high level of prosperity, a golden age of peace and expansion, but it was very short-lived. It only lasted 40 years. After Solomon's death, it quickly deteriorates, and the kingdom divides. And here's what happens.
Solomon's son becomes King. His name is Rehoboam. When Rehoboam becomes King, some people see that as an opportunity. There's a power vacuum. Solomon, this very, very strong King, is now gone. Let's go in there, and let's try to get some political reform going. So a group of people led by a guy named Jeroboam-- no relationship. Their names just happened to sound a little similar. Weird name.
Jeroboam goes to Rehoboam and says, Rehoboam, buddy, your dad was pretty steep in how he taxed us and forcing us to labor for this temple that he built. If you would just relax some of that forced labor and if you would relax some of the taxation, cut taxes, man, we'll be great citizens. We'll follow you.
Well, Rehoboam, being young and inexperienced, didn't know what to do. So he consulted older men, who said, they're right. Relax the taxes. Relax the labor force. But he went to the young bucks his age, inexperience but cocky. They thought they-- look there's a new generation. You old folks don't know anything. Let us have at it for a while.
So the new politicians said, hey, you go back and tell Jeroboam, you think my dad was tough? Dad's going to seem like a wimp compared to what I'm going to do. In fact, tell him this. My little finger will be thicker than my dad's waist. He scourged you with whips. I'm going to beat you with scorpions. Tell him that.
So Rehoboam comes and goes, I'll tell you what we're going to do. I'm not going to relax the labor force. I'm going to raise the taxes, and you're going to work harder. So Jeroboam said, fair enough. We're out of here. And he took 10 tribes and rebelled against that united monarchy, split the kingdom. So now you have Israel up north 10 tribes under Jeroboam, and Judah, only two tribes, but with the temple in Jerusalem. So now the kingdom is split.
There is a lesson I don't want you to miss. It's a mistake if we think we can force someone to be loyal. Loyalty is never forced. If you force someone to be loyal, they won't be. A friend of mine, Josh McDowell, puts it this way. Rules without relationship equals rebellion. That's true in a family. That's true in a nation. Rules without a relationship equals rebellion. So they rebelled, and the kingdom split.
Chapter 12, verse one. It came to pass, when Rehoboam establish the kingdom and had strengthen himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord and all Israel along with him. And it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that, Shishak, the King of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem because they had transgressed against the Lord. So get the picture. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, had three great years of reign. In the fourth year, he rebelled. In the fifth year, God judged him.
How did God judge him? By sending a foreign power to attack him. Rehoboam forsook the Lord. He suffers the invasion of Egypt as a result. But here's the love of God. God loved him so much, he didn't fold his arms and go, forget that guy, I'm just going to let him go by the wayside and judge the nation. He sends a messenger to him. He raises up a special prophet to speak to him, to maybe at this very last, grab his heart and he'll repent.
Look at verse five. Then Shemaiah the Prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, thus says the Lord. You have forsaken me, and, therefore, I also have left you in the hand of Shishak. So the leaders of Israel and the King humbled themselves-- right move-- and said, the Lord is righteous.
Verse seven. Now, when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah saying, they have humble themselves, therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. Not total deliverance, some deliverance. He's still going to judge all of the years that they have sown. A man will reap what he sows, but there's going to be a reprieve. There will be a final judgment with the Babylonians, but I'm going to give some relief-- some deliverance.
My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. That's the fine print. I'm giving you some deliverance. Shishak won't get you. Now, Nebuchadnezzar, on the other hand, will get you, but that's further on down the road. What made the difference? Humility.
Do you know Micah 6:8, he has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Humility. The Bible says God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. And sometimes people think, well, humility is thinking poorly of oneself. No. That's not humility. That's a disease.
Humility isn't thinking meanly, or poorly, or self-deprecation. It's not thinking badly of yourself. It's not thinking of yourself at all. You don't come in the picture. It's not about you. It's about others. How do you get humility? It's a combination between being God-aware and being self-aware. Now, follow me closely. A lot of people talk about being self-aware. The problem is they're not God-aware. Once you're God-aware, you become self-aware. Once you realize who God is, now you know who you are.
When Jesus discovered who Jesus was, that he was the Son of God-- when he stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee, remember what Peter said? Depart from me, Lord, I am a sinful man. In seeing Jesus, he saw himself. Isaiah the Prophet said, in the year the King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up, seated on the throne. And the train of his robe filled the temple. The Seraphim called back and forth, holy holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. Then I said, woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips. I dwell amongst a generation of unclean lips.
In seeing the Lord, Isaiah saw himself. He saw God lifted up. He saw himself, who he really was. Now, you can always tell if a person knows the Lord. They're humble. A prideful person doesn't know much of God. Once you're God-aware, you become self-aware. And when you have those two things, it produces humility. Another way of putting it is, the fear of the Lord-- a healthy fear of the Lord, a reverence for him, and an actual fear of hurting him. The fear of the Lord.
There's a great story about Alex Haley. He was the author of a book very famous book, that became a very famous movie, called Roots. Before it was a movie-- a motion picture-- it was a book. And in Alex Haley's office, he used to hang a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. And the caption on this picture said, if you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it had some help.
So he has that on his wall because he said, when I'm tempted to think I'm pretty awesome, and I've done a lot, and I have so many accolades and so much accomplishment as this producer, director, writer, I look at that picture and realize I got here only because I've been helped by a great number of people. So the king humbled himself, and God turned Shishak back.
Now the last section, section number three, to close off the book, chapters 13 through 36. We'll march through this quickly. It's the decline of the southern kingdom. Remember, the whole book primarily deals with the kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom. Now we watch its decline. We've seen it at its peak under Solomon, now its decline. There's Solomon. There's Rehoboam. There's a total of 19 more Judean kings after Rehoboam, from Abijah-- he's the first-- to Zedekiah-- he's the last, and then they go into captivity.
So these kings are both good and bad-- mostly bad. There's a few good ones. And the good ones reformed the nation, but they didn't transform the nation. And so the trajectory there on toward judgment was only forestalled. They didn't get off. They just delayed it. The downward spiral toward captivity is still on.
So first is Abijah. King Abijah, son of Rehoboam, fends off an attack by Jeroboam, the guy up north-- the King up north. Jeroboam attacks him. He pushes him back, even takes back some of the cities that were taken, expands the land a little bit. Chapter 13, verse 21. But Abijah-- that's son of Rehoboam, Solomon's grandson-- grew mighty, and then it says, married 14 wives-- like grandfather, like grandson-- and begot 22 sons and 16 daughters. So he's bound for trouble.
Chapter 14, verse one. So Abijah rested with his fathers. Good riddance. They buried him in the City of David. Then Asa, his son, reined in his place. In his days, the land was quiet for 10 years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, his God. For he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars, and cut down the wooden images.
Chapter 14, 15, and 16 is all about the reign of King Asa, how he encouraged revival, how he destroyed altars. But here's what I want to get across. He didn't do enough. He didn't go all the way with the Lord, spiritually speaking. Oh, he tipped his hat here, tipped his hat there, encourage revival, but didn't really get revived himself and bring that on the nation. So there's a huge difference between reformation and transformation. God is all about transforming you completely.
Don't Lord, I give you my life 90%, but there's 10% that's just kind of like this cool area of my pet little sin. I'd like to cuddle that little sin and nurse that along for a while. Man, surrender all. Let the Lord transform you by the renewing of your mind, it says in Romans chapter 12.
Well, chapter 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 is about another King named Jehoshaphat. He was a really great guy. He continues the revival. And what I love about Jehoshaphat is he sends priests to go throughout the land to give Bible studies. Teach the scriptures. Teach the people the law. Don't let just the priest know it. Teach everybody the law.
Chapter 17, verse three. Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his father, David. He did not seek the Baals or the Ba'als. David, as you know is fiercely monotheistic. Verse four. But he sought the God of his father, walked in his commandments, not according to the Acts of Israel.
So that's a very telling description. He walked in the ways of the Lord, not according to the Acts of Israel. Very similar to Psalm 1. Remember Psalm 1? Blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. In his law, he meditates day and night. That's Jehoshaphat.
Therefore, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All of Judah gave presence to Jehoshaphat. He had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of Yahweh-- of The Lord. Moreover, he removed the high places, the wooden images from Judah. Good stuff. Good reforms, but-- don't you always hate when I say "but?" A guy's doing good, but he married the wrong gal, he merged with the wrong allies, and he managed the wrong war.
Let me explain. He marries a daughter of King Ahab. Remember King Ahab and Jezebel up north? Really, really bad guy. Marries the daughter. She brings pagan worship down south. Then he makes an alliance with her dad, King Ahab, in a battle. But get this. Ahab says, hey, I'm fighting a battle. Would you help me? he goes, I'm in, man. I'm here. We're together. But Ahab talks Jehoshaphat into coming to battle with him while wearing his kingly robes.
You say, well, so what? Here's the so what. Ahab disguised himself not to look like a King. And so Jehoshaphat kind of goes out there-- really, it's idiotic-- looking like a King. So all of the enemies think, who's the King of Israel? The guy with the kingly robes. Kill him. So they chase Jehoshaphat down to kill him. So he was Ahab's ploy. Jehoshaphat calls on God, and God delivers him. He returns home, wants nothing more to do with Ahab, but he has more enemies who attack him.
So chapter 20, two enemies from the east-- present day Jordan-- Moab and Amman attack Jehoshaphat. How does he deal with it? I love this. Well, he learned in the last battle, when he dressed up like the King-- so he was an HVT, a high value target. He learned to call on God. So now he's being attacked. First thing he does is pray. First thing he does is pray.
Chapter 20, verse three. And Jehoshaphat feared-- he's afraid for his life. He feared and, because he was afraid, set himself to seek the Lord and proclaim to fast throughout all of Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord. And from all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord. Basically, God says, don't even fight this battle, just watch. You don't even have to lift a finger, or shoot an arrow, or throw a spear. Just watch me work.
Verse 17. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves. I love this verse. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Wouldn't that be great? Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed. That's patience. Tomorrow, go out against them, for the Lord is with you. That's perspective. God's with you.
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all of Judah-- the inhabitants of Jerusalem-- bowed before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. That's praise. Those three elements working together. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
Go down to verse 21. When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord and who should praise the beauty of holiness as they went out before the army and were saying, praise the Lord, for his mercy endures forever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Amman, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were defeated. Very interesting battle strategy. What do we do? Send the worship team out first.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
Not the soldiers. Bring the singers. Let's fight this because it's a spiritual battle. He said stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. So let's trust the Lord and go forth singing, thanksgiving, trusting. Not fearing, trusting. That's how they marched forward. Gain the perspective of faith, march forward and praise, and thanksgiving.
When it comes to spiritual warfare, we need to understand our position. Satan attacks you, but the Bible says, you are in whom? You are in Christ Jesus. So when the arrows are coming, you are in Christ Jesus. So go into battle knowing that. Therefore, you can wait on the Lord for the victory. Yeah, you do what you can, but you start the singing, keep on praising, stand still, and watch what God can do. Oh, yes, you can do certain things, but you can't do half of what the Spirit of God can do. So God gave them the victory.
Quickly, I'll move. Chapter 21. Jehoram has an eight-year reign. He begins his reign by killing all his brothers so he won't have competition, so it's fair to say he was an evil king. Chapter 22. Yes, he was an evil king. Killed all his brothers. You get that? Murdered all his brothers, killed them all-- his brothers. So there's no competition. So was he a good or bad king?
Good. Thank you. Chapter 22. Ahaziah reigned one year. He was a bad dude, and he was bad because he was influenced by his mother named Athaliah. Please remember the name "Athaliah." I did not have time to go through it. Sunday, I should have on bloodline. Remember, I talked about God's strategy and counter-strategy of Satan? Athaliah was an agent of the devil to destroy the royal line of David, and she managed to destroy every single person eligible for the throne of David except for one.
And he is mentioned in chapters 23 and 24. He's seven-year-old Joash. He is hidden because this mad woman is killing all the royal seed. So Joash is hidden. If she would have succeeded in killing him, there would be no messiah. The royal line would have been dismantled, destroyed utterly. It was down to one person away from utter distinction.
Chapter 25 is King Amaziah. Chapter 26 is a great king named Uzziah. He was a teenager, reign 52 years. That's why Isaiah 6 says, in the year the King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Very good king with the very good rain.
Chapter 26, verse one. Now all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was 16 years old, made him King instead of his father, Amaziah. Verse four. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father, Amaziah, had done. He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding and the visions of God. And as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
Now, you read Zechariah, and you think of the prophet, Zechariah. Don't do that 34 men are called by the name Zechariah in the Old Testament. So this is not the Zechariah. It's one of the 33 others, OK? Chapter 27 or 28. King Jotham and Ahaz, forget about them. They were nutcases.
Chapter 29 through 32, great king, Hezekiah. He restored the temple. He restores worship. He destroys the idols. He destroys the high places. But while he does that, wouldn't you know it, the Assyrians come down. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, sends his armies down to surround Jerusalem, and they threatened to destroy it.
Remember, they had already destroyed, in 722 BC, the 10 northern tribes. They've killed and conquered everybody, everything. They think they can take Judah. What does this King do? Gets Isaiah in. Isaiah prays for him. He spreads the letter of threat out. They bring it before the Lord in worship. Isaiah comes in, chapter 32, verse seven, says, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor dismayed before the King of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him. For there are more with us than with him.
Good perspective. You're surrounded by enemies. It seems like there's more with them. There's more with us. Martin Luther said, with God, one is a majority. You know, why is it that Christians get all worried about demons? I'm being attacked by demons. So what?
What do you mean, so what? Only a third of the angels that fell became demons. There's 2/3 left. They are outnumbered by the good. Plus, God lives in you.
Say, Holy Spirit, sic'em.
Let God be your defense. Oh, yes, they want to hassle you. Oh, yes, they mess with your mind. Oh, yes, they oppress you. But don't let them gain ground. There is more with us than with them. Verse eight. With him is an arm of flesh. With us is the Lord, our God to help us and to fight our battles. And all the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah, the King of Judah. Probably have a lot more to say on this. Don't have the time.
Chapter 33, great chapter about a creepy dude named Manasseh, the worst king ever, ever, ever. And he gets converted. Well, when I say ever, he restores all the pagan worship. Like any administration can do in any country, they can sort of change everything that went before and make it all go bad again. They restore all the paganism back, eradicated all the good. Chapter 33, verse nine, Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.
The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. But God has the ways of getting your attention, and he gets his attention. He has Judah surrounded. Manasseh gets captured, taken to Babylon in Babylon, he cries out to God. God listens to him, and brings him back, and restores him back as King-- a conversion story.
Chapter 34-- we're almost done with the book-- King Josiah. Great King. Really, the greatest, in my opinion, of all the rest of the Kings after Solomon-- Godliest of all. It's a key chapter. A dramatic revival happens under King Josiah. Verse one of chapter 34, Josiah was eight years old when he became King. He reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. At age 26, he repairs the temple.
Get this. While repairing the temple, they find an old book-- scroll-- of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses-- the law. They bring it into the King. They read the law of God. The King is so convicted. He's never heard the Bible before. He rips his robes. The people hear the law. The people of Israel make a new, renewed covenant with God. And revival is on under a King Josiah. They celebrate the Passover. They hadn't celebrated it for years. 41,000 animals were sacrificed during that Passover.
Chapter 35, verse 18. There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel kept such a Passover as Josiah kept with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present-- inhabitants of Jerusalem. You can tell I'm moving fast.
Chapter 36 ends the book. Verse 15. The Lord God, their fathers, sent warnings to them by his messengers rising up early, sending them because he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his words, scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people until there was no remedy.
Verse 19. Then they burned the house of God-- that's the temple-- broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire-- and I can show you burn marks from that event still in Jerusalem-- and destroyed all of its precious possessions. And those who escaped from the sword, he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons, until the rule of the kingdom of Persia to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate, she kept the Sabbath to fulfill 70 years.
Three deportations. Three attacks, three deportations of people. 605 BC, 597 BC, 586 BC. The very first deportation, a young man by the name of Daniel is taken to Babylon. God uses them there. The very last deportation, 586 BC, Jerusalem is destroyed, temple is destroyed. People are taken away. They don't come back for 70 years. When they do come back, it's under Ezra, the author, I believe, of this book and Nehemiah.
But the book ends. Just really quickly, look at verse 22. God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. He stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to allow the Jews to return. So Ezra is giving hope. He's writing this to people in the captivity. Their temple has been destroyed, but he's letting them know-- I'm sorry, the people who were in captivity that came back. He's letting them know hope in God, hope for the future.
The book begins by the building of a temple. It ends with the destruction of the temple, but it really ends with the hope of return and restoration. That's how the book ends. Wish I could tell you more. Don't have time, except with this thought.
The temple prefigures Christ. The temple was built, but Jesus said, I say unto do you verily, one greater than the temple is in your midst. He was speaking of himself. Later on, he said, destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up. They thought he was speaking of the temple house in Jerusalem. He was speaking of the temple of his body.
I say it prefigures Christ because when you get to Heaven, and you stand on that glassy sea, eventually, you'll be in the Millennial kingdom. And then, eventually, you will be in the new Jerusalem, new Heaven, a new Earth. And it says, I saw no temple in i. For the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple. Right now, you're the temple of the Holy Spirit, but God and the lamb will be its temple.
Father, thank you for this very quick, but possibly comprehensive view of this incredible story in Second Chronicles. Thank you that we can learn from examples like Saul, and David, and Solomon, and Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, and Joash, and all the other kings, good and bad. We can learn what not to do, we can learn what to do.
And I pray, Lord, that until we get into Heaven, our new, and eternal, and final home, that we, as the temple of the Lord, the temple of God, would be worshipful, would be centered in worship that you would occupy the center of our life and that praise would go forth from us even during the battles, even during the times we feel surrounded and down, that you would strengthen us in the midst of it, knowing more are with us than with the enemy in Jesus's name. Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible From 30,000 Feet.