Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2 Chronicles 33-36

We read through 2 Chronicles 33-36, and wrap up another book in our Bible reading adventure.  It's a crazy roller coaster ride right now as we go from one king to the next ruling in Judah.  King Josiah, who begins his reign at eight years-old, proves that wisdom isn't so much about age as it is a willingness to seek God's direction in everything.  God's Word is the wake-up call everyone needs, but it's a wake-up call people don't always remember.  By the end of 2 Chronicles, Judah is taken over by the kings of Egypt, Babylon, and later Persia.  The Babylonians destroy God's people and the Promise Land, sending a remnant into exile for 70 years.  

This just doesn't feel like the happy ending we'd expect with God, right?  I mean let's admit it.  None of us go into our Bible reading looking for harsh reality.  We have large doses of that in our here and now.  We read for new life and the hope we all have in Christ, the Good News God promises us when we believe.  So, you might be struggling today, with me, to understand how all of this unfaithful, bad stuff fits into God's story.

We can all relate to this situation at some point or many in our lives.  We don't get the happy ending we imagined for ourselves, the ending we think we deserve, for various and sundry reasons.  What does that mean for our faith?  Does that mean God doesn't love us anymore, that He's left us, that He isn't the good God He claims to be?  Does that mean we've messed up one too many times with God?

Well, let me show you something I wanted to skim over as fast as possible in my reading at first.  It's a passage that's full of really bad news.  

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy....

20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

As bad as the situation is in this passage, it is also connects us to the Good News God promises.  Before you call me crazy, read this sentence...

21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

Did you catch it?  Things are bad, but God is always faithful to His people and true to His Word.  We can always find joy in our Lord, no matter where we find ourselves, no matter how bad things get.  Things are happening just as God said they would at this point in the story.  God is still there with His people directing the story.  Even when we can't see Him or feel Him, He is there at work. 

Because God is true to His Word, we have never-ending HOPE in Christ.  We are never beyond our Heavenly Father's everlasting and perfect love for us.  Bad news and sad endings are never the end to the story.  They're just part of a bigger and better plan, drawing us closer to more and abundant life.  

God has to get us from here to there somehow.  And only He knows what that path looks like for each of us.  So even in the worst of news, we can cling to the cross.  God is who He says He is.  We have to keep reading and believing to know the fullness of God's perfect love for us.  Sometimes, the most faithful thing we can do is remind each other of that...  

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for choosing me to be a part of Your family and Your love story.  Thank You for sending Christ into the world to forever change things for the better.

I don't ever want to take You for granted.  No matter where I find myself, strengthen my faith and determination to rely on You and see Your abundant blessings.  

Help me let go of all the weighs me down.  Fill me with Your joy and peace so that I can light up the world for You and dance in Your grace. 

You are my rock and my refuge.

In Christ's name I pray,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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