Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 34
Josiah was just a boy of eight when he became king of Judah. If you’re a guy you probably pretended to be a king at the age of eight; but Josiah actually was king! Not only that, by the time he was sixteen he was seeking God himself and leading the nation back to God unlike many of his predecessors. By the age of twenty six Josiah purified the land and restored the temple of God. During this process a priest named Hilkiah found the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given through Moses. What an amazing find! I certainly don’t believe that it was a coincidence that as Josiah sought God and sought to lead the nation back to God that God revealed Himself to Josiah through the finding of the Book of the Law. We will always find God when we seek Him with all our hearts.
So, after finding the Book of the Law a man named Shaphan read the book to Josiah the king. God’s Word spoke to Josiah who “tore his robes” as a sign of his extreme grief for the sins that the nation of Judah had committed against The Lord. This Godly sorrow for the sins of the nation against God led Josiah to action and God heard his prayer:
27 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.
Josiah not only responded to the Word of God himself he read God’s Word to everyone in Judah and called them to respond as well:
29 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. 31 The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book. 32 Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
What a great example of Godly living and leadership by Josiah. The thing that strikes me most about this account and what I believe we can take away from it and apply to our lives is that when God spoke to Josiah through His Word, Josiah put it into action in his life immediately.
For Josiah, finding the Book of the Law was like finding the greatest treasure in the world! Yet, many of us have God’s Word on every shelf in our houses collecting dust like it really doesn’t matter that much to us. Let today be the day that you rediscover the treasure of reading God’s Word like Josiah did. But, don’t let it stop at just reading God’s Word, put it into practice immediately and allow God to tear down the idols in your life just as He did for Josiah and the nation of Judah.
Posted by: Matt Mofield
Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 33
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that the supposed “largest public satanic ceremony in history” happened in Detroit, Michigan this weekend. People traveled from all over to witness the unveiling of a large nine foot bronze statue of Baphomet with its pentagram and creepy children earnestly looking up to it. It’s easy for not only Christians, but people in general to read about this and ask “What in the world is happening to our country?” yet we read something even darker and scarier in 2 Chronicles 33 today. Manasseh, the next king of Jerusalem after Hezekiah, began his reign at 12 years old and ruled for 55 years. In that reign he did what was evil before the Lord by rebuilding altars to Baal, the false god in place of God’s Holy temple. If that wasn’t enough it says in v. 6 that he burned his own sons as an offering and messed with witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy and other forms of demonology. It got so bad that v. 9 says this evil king led them astray to the point that they did more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.
It’s hard believing that one can come back from such evil, similar to the thoughts I’d have when looking at the pictures of this satanic ceremony in Detroit. Yet there’s hope. Hope that someone can go to such evil extremes and still repent and be saved. This hope and life change happened to Manasseh as he was captured by then cried out to the One True God and God had mercy on Him. And this was not a temporary “I need help, please save me God but I’m going to go right back to my old ways after” decision. Manasseh tore down those false temples and re-erected God’s temples that Hezekiah had originally put up. This was not only noticed by all of Israel and Judah but used by God to be written in the Chronicles of Seers. Do you know someone or a situation that seems too far off from God’s mercy and grace? Maybe it’s a relative, or a friend or even yourself? Let Manasseh be a reminder that Jesus’ cross and resurrection provides repentance and faith out of the deepest and darkest of sins and that life change can follow.
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 32
We all know how dangerous the sin of pride can be. It’s subtle and can come in the form of good spiritual things. Jesus Himself included it with the list of sins that defiles us (Mark 7:20-22) and it’s listed as one of the six sins that God says is an abomination and that he hates. (Proverbs 6:16, 16:5) Still when I hear this word, I align it mostly with younger people, cocky young men who live by YOLO, conceited young women who’s value lies in their hundreds of likes on their selfies, teens who feel like they’re always right and don’t need to listen to any type of authority. Yet pride is not a sin that just the younger generation deals with. It’s a sin that we ALL deal with, including myself and generations ahead of me. In fact, in today’s Scripture we see a king that started off so well with God, ending his life in sin because of pride. It says in v. 24-25
24 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. -2 Chronicles 32:24-25
Pride can rear its ugly head at any time in our life, including at the end of our life and we (and others) will feel God’s wrath and sin’s consequences from it as indicated in the above passage. However we all know the answer toward that prideful heart that not only Hezekiah had but we can have at times and that’s humility. Hezekiah humbled his prideful heart in v. 26 and God showed Him mercy instead of wrath. Let this be a lesson to all of us who struggles with pride no matter what age we are or what season of life that we are in. Humility in God’s grace can melt a prideful heart and save us from it’s consequences.
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 31
As we continue in our series through 2 Chronicles, we see again a common theme throughout the Old Testament—it is easy to confuse what God does through us as something we do on our own. We are so quick to forget what God has done in our lives.
In this chapter, we see that Amaziah was a man who followed God, but not fully (verse 2). He had a heart set on God and it showed in his actions at the beginning of his reign. He justly took the lives of the servants who killed his father, but did not go further than what the Law stipulated. He also followed the advice of a “man of God” in terms of how to fight the battle against the men of Seir. He saw victory because of the counsel given by God through the man, but instead of worshipping Yahweh, he took the idols of the people he had defeated and worshipped them. God sent a prophet who asked an obvious question: “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” (verse 15) God had just won him victory! But instead of worshipping the source of his victory, he turned to the fake idols of the defeated.
What can we draw from this?
If our hearts are only partially focused on God, they will soon be fully focused on something else. It would be easy for us to see the example of Amaziah and mock him for his foolishness. But this passage speaks to us today just as much as God was speaking to Amaziah in his day. If our hearts are not fully focused on God, they will be focused on something else. Amaziah followed God until he found success, and instead of giving credit to God, he credits himself. As you read the chapter, you might’ve wondered to yourself, “why would he start worshipping random idols that obviously have no power over the living God who provided the victory?” A simple answer is that worshipping wooden idols demanded little from him. It allowed all of the credit to be given to him instead of God.
Today, it is really easy for us to take credit from a situation that was obviously an act of God. The book of James tells us that every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). How often do we remember God in the rough times but forget him in the good times? It’s because we want God to bring us through things we can’t control, but once we have control, we forget God. We forget God easily because we are naturally more in love with our selves than we are with God. This is because we are sinners who are separated from God. Because of this, we must remind ourselves everyday of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, crushing sin, allowing us to live a life that can be lived fully for God.
Wherever you are today, take a moment to thank God for Jesus. Jesus is the only person who has ever had a heart that was perfectly whole before God. Because of his death and resurrection we have the power to give ourselves fully to God as well.
Posted by: Graham Withers
Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 30
The events that are recounted through the book of 2 Chronicles are mostly sad in nature. However, our passage today is filled with repentance, restoration and joyful celebration. The temple had been restored and now for the first time in a long time the Jews were going to celebrate Passover. In order to celebrate the Passover a lot of repentance had to come about. The Priests were not ceremonially clean so they had to cleanse themselves and the Levites had to cover for them (v.13-17). Also, the Passover had to be celebrated a bit later because things were not in order at the time when they were supposed to keep it. Hezekiah’s prayer in verses 18-20 is a great representation of Israel’s condition at this time. He is basically saying, “God please overlook these knucklehead’s and bless our effort not our excellence because they are trying really hard to love you but they got some room to grow,” and God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
In the Old Testament it is easy to see God as rigid and all about the rules but that is far from the truth. God has always been about the heart behind the actions. What mattered to God is that the people were truly sorrowful for their disobedience and that they wanted to change and follow God. In other words, “everyone who sets his heart to seek God…”(v.19). God’s gracious forgiveness was what the Passover celebration was all about. That God spared his people who were covered by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 12). Today, we celebrate the “final Passover,” the Gospel, that God sent his son Jesus to be the Passover lamb on our behalf and whoever believes in him will be saved (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).
So my questions for us to ponder today is do you love God with your heart? Do you celebrate the grace and mercy we have received through Jesus?
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 29
Today, we read about Hezekiah, one of Israel’s most chronicled kings, probably third only to David and Solomon. Why was he so special? What set him apart from the rest of the kings and judges that we’ve been reading about through 2 Chronicles? His heart for God and his humility in service. In the beginning of the chapter, Ezra tries to make this explicitly clear in these statements:
And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. (2 Chronicles 29:2 ESV)
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. (2 Chronicles 29:3 ESV)
…and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. (2 Chronicles 29:5 ESV)
What do we see in Hezekiah’s character that is worth emulating? Well, almost everything, because he strived to please the Lord and not man. He showed boldness and courage. He had unwavering resolve. He honored God’s holy character. He cared deeply about the Temple of the Lord. He wanted God’s people to worship rightly. And his work ethic was unmatched. When we read Paul say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) in the New Testament, an easy Old Testament parallel for us to make is of Hezekiah. This verse is so descriptive of him, yet way before his time.
What did you glean from today’s chapter? What inspires you from Hezekiah’s example? We’d love to continue the discussion throughout the day in the comments section below. Happy Friday, Center Point!
Posted by: Todd Thomas