2 Chronicles 25-27 – Who Are You Full Of?

“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 NLT)

Sometimes (if not most of the time) we’re our own worst enemy. Especially when things are going well for us and we’re prospering. It’s during these times that we tend to forget God, whose goodness and blessing we’re enjoying. We become prideful and self-confident in times of ease and prosperity.

This is what you see in the lives of king Amaziah and king Uzziah, in 2 Chronicles chapters 25 through 27. Both kings start off honoring and obeying God, and because of that, God honors them with success, prosperity, fame, and power. But then, both kings become prideful and self-serving. God lifted them up, but their pride took them down.

How many times has this happened to us? We’ve been in a hard or threatening time of life. We’ve turned to God in need and dependence. God rescued and delivered us to a place of comfort and ease. Then we act as if we got ourselves out of the jam and we don’t really need him.

Never forget that if you don’t stay full of God, you will stay full of yourself. And that will be your downfall.

2 Chronicles 24 – Success or Failure?

Go to any bookstore, browse the business and leadership section, and you’ll find many books that supposedly contain the secrets of success. People want to know the steps, the formulas, and the ingredients that will make them successful.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 24, you find one man’s story of success and failure. Joash is the seven-year-old boy-king whom Jehoiada the priest had hidden as an infant to protect him from assassination. He becomes a very successful ruler by engaging in three specific behaviors.

  • First, he focused on what mattered most…the presence and glory of God.
  • Second, he persistently planned and worked toward what mattered most.
  • Third, he had people in his life who were dedicated to what mattered most.

The right focus, the right effort, and the right influences led to Joash’s success.

But when Joash changed his focus, his efforts, and his influences, he became a great failure. To the point that his life fell apart and his people turned on him. (1 Chron. 24:17-23)

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my focus?
  • How do I spend my efforts?
  • Who are the people influencing me?

Honestly answering these questions will quickly reveal why your life is going in the direction it’s going. Don’t make the mistake that Joash made. Keep your focus, efforts, and influences on what matters most. The presence and glory of God.

2 Chronicles 23 – Bod Decisions and Courageous Actions

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made a very bold decision to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth; and to do that before the end of the decade. That seemingly unreachable goal was reached and now seems rather mundane, because we currently have roving equipment on the planet Mars and future dreams of placing a man on Mars. But all of this came about because of a bold decision and courageous action.

You see the same thing in 2 Chronicles chapter 23. The chapter begins with an evil over-bearing queen Athaliah ruling over Judah and leading the nation into dark wickedness. The chapter ends with a descendant of David on the throne, a priest leading a nation in a fresh and strong commitment to God, and a peace reigning in the city of Jerusalem. This dramatic change was initiated by a bold decision by Jehoiada the priest at the beginning of the chapter and was carried out by his courageous actions in the rest of the chapter. Because of this, the chapter ends with a people rejoicing over a new king and a nation returning to its commitment to God.

It was a bold decision and courageous action that brought about the change.

What great change in your world is waiting on you to make a bold decision and take courageous action? What would be overturned and set right if you would but decide and act? What dreams would be reached and what moons would be walked on if you made a bold decision and followed up with courageous action? What is God calling you to do?

2 Chronicles 22 – How to Change the Future

There are times in the life of a nation when corruption seems to be the only rule of government. Government leaders seem more loyal to their perks than their public. Officials publicly speak about honesty and morality, but later are found to be living dishonest and immoral lives.

During such discouraging times, people may cry out for a change, but they often feel anyone they put in office will just turn out the same. It can feel like a lost cause.

This was the climate in 2 Chronicles chapter 22.

  • Judah’s King Ahaziah was as corrupt as King Ahab of Israel. He even made some of Ahab’s family his advisors.
  • King Ahaziah’s mother (Athaliah) was even encouraging him to do wrong.
  • After Ahaziah was assassinated, Judah was left under the evil influence of his mother (Athaliah,) who assassinated any of her family members who might be an heir to the throne.

But, in the midst of all this corruption, one person decides to do the right thing. Jehosheba, the sister of the wicked queen mother, takes king Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and hides him so his grandmother won’t kill him. And because Jehosheba was willing to do what was right, Judah would later experience one of its greatest times of reform and revival.

Jehosheba’s act not only leads to national reform but also continues to speak to readers today. This should remind us that our actions – no matter how small or unnoticed – will have an impact later on.

So don’t get discouraged. Do what’s right. You can make a difference. Because what you do (no matter how small) will have a domino-like impact on the future.

2 Chronicles 21 – Why Would Someone Do That?!

There are stories that make you say, “Why would someone do that?”

On October 2, 2006, a man walked into a one-room Amish school house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and killed five little girls before killing himself. He had a wife, kids, and a good job. He was unprovoked and he even knew some of the girls’ families. It makes you say, “Why would someone do that?”

This is my response when I read how Jehoram turned from God, in 2 Chronicles chapter 21. Jehoram’s grandfather was a beloved king who followed after God and led his people to do the same. Because of this, God blessed and protected the nation, causing them to be feared and honored among the other nations. Then, Jehoram’s father took over and (with two exceptions) also followed God and enjoyed God’s blessing and protection.

But when Jehoram takes over, he completely turns away for God. Why would someone do that?!

Perhaps it was because his father aligned himself with the wicked king Ahaziah. But that alliance cost Jehoram’s father greatly. So before he died and left Jehoram as king, Jehoram’s father would surely have cautioned Jehoram about turning away form God. Maybe Jehoram’s was rebellious and self-serving by nature. We just don’t know.

But we do know what happens when a person willfully turns away from God. They eventually suffer and lose control. They don’t achieve their desires; they achieve their nightmares. 2 Chronicles 21:20 tells us that when Jehoram died, no one was sad or sorry. I cannot think of a sadder epitaph.

We may not know why a person chooses a different path than the one God desires, but we know what the outcome will eventually be. So chose your path wisely.

2 Chronicles 17-20 – How are Your Relationships?

“Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Cor. 15:33 NLT)

This is a principle we tell our teenagers when we dislike the company they’re keeping, but it’s true for any age. Wise and godly people will be affected by keeping ongoing company with those who are immoral and choose not to follow God. In relationships, the ungodly tend to lower the standards of the godly, rather than the godly raising the standards of the ungodly.

This was true of king Jehoshaphat. In 2 Chronicles chapters 17-20, Jehoshaphat was a pursuer of God, committed to…

And because of this, God did amazing things through him and for him.

But every time Jehoshaphat got involved with the kings of Israel, who were not following God, he wound up making decisions that didn’t trust or honor God. (19:2) (20:35-37)

Does this mean we should isolate ourselves from everyone who is not passionately following God? No! We are to be salt and light to those who need Christ. (Matt. 5:13-16) But any relationship that pulls us away from Christ more than draws us to Him is damaging and we should be cautious about how much time we spend in that relationship.

Think about your close, ongoing relationships. Are they relationships that draw you closer to Christ? Or are they relationships that pull you away from Christ?

2 Chronicles 14-16 – What Happened?!

Every once in a while you come across a story of a former celebrity whose life is in shambles. Maybe they’re in trouble with the law, or they’ve filed for bankruptcy, or they’ve taken their own life. And you ask yourself, “What happened?”

That’s the type of story you find in 2 Chronicles chapters 14-16. It begins with King Asa living a blessed life. He is a faithful leader who’s committed to God and to his people. The nation is both peaceful and fortified. It was a golden age.

But, by the end of 2 Chronicles chapter 16, the country is plagued with war, the priests and the people are oppressed, and the king is plagued with a foot disease that eventually kills him. What happened?!

What happened was that king Asa stopped doing the one thing that had brought him and his country such success. He stopped depending on God. Instead, Asa started trusting himself and a foreign king.

Over the 25 years between his first battle and his last, Asa forgot the victories that came through trusting God alone. The years of success caused Asa to become complacent and arrogant. Twenty-five years of peace left him unprepared for king Baasha’s attack.

This failure to depend on God leads Asa to become angry. And rather than repenting, Asa begins to oppress the priests and the people. He eventually contracts a foot disease that takes his life. Asa stopped depending on God and it literally became the death of him.

If it happened to Asa, it could happen to you. What keeps you from depending on God? Fear? Pride? Complacency? Whatever it is, it’s killing you in every way. Life and success are found in trusting in and depending on God.

2 Chronicles 13 – The Power of One

The power of change often rests in the power of one. One voice, one word, one song, one story, and one person. These can change the course of lives and history.

We’ve all heard these stories. People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela brought about major changes in history with their one lone voice and influence.

But, is it only a few special people that can do that? For instance, in 2 Chronicles 13, king Abijah changed the course of Judah. But was it simply because he had the station of King, or was it more than that?

The power of one is not derived from a person’s station in life. Moses and David were common shepherds, Martin Luther King Jr. was a simple black pastor from the south, and Nelson Mandela was a prisoner. Yet, they all became prominent individuals who leveraged the power of one to change the world, because long before they had a station in life, they took a stance in life. For Abijah, that stance was:

  • Declare the person of God.
  • Depend on the power of God.

Abijah was committed to this stance, and God was faithful to elevate his station.

Remember this…it’s not your station in life but your stance in life that will determine whether you see seas part, giants fall, and movements start. The power of one comes when we declare and depend on the power of the One.

2 Chronicles 11-12 – The Fine Line Between Responsibility and Self-Reliance

There’s a fine line between being responsible and being self-reliant. You may think they both sound similar and admirable, but confusing the two can be a problem.

In 2 Chronicles chapters 11-12, King Rehoboam confuses being responsible with self-reliance. After the northern tribes desert him and establish their own kingdom, Rehoboam sets out to strengthen what’s left of his kingdom. He fortifies cities, stores weapons, stockpiles food, and stations troops. Seems like a responsible thing to do, right?

But, after Rehoboam feels safe behind his efforts and stockpiles, he doesn’t feel the need to rely on God anymore. He becomes lax and turns away from God, doing his own thing. (2 Chron. 12:1) Because of this, God allows the king of Egypt to over-run the cities Rehoboam had fortified and trusted for protection.

Rehoboam then retreats to Jerusalem where he confesses his sin and humbles himself before God. So, God protects Jerusalem from being overrun and destroyed. But, God allows Jerusalem to fall under Egyptian rule to teach them how much better it is to be under God’s rule than their own.

As we said, there’s a fine line between being responsible and being self-reliant. Being responsible refers to working hard while acknowledging that God is in charge of the outcomes. Being self-reliant refers to working hard while believing we are in charge of the outcomes. In other words, being responsible keeps God in the picture while being self-reliant cuts God out of the picture.

Are you responsible or self-reliant? Don’t forget the words of Psalm 127:1...“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the Lord protects the city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.” (NLT)

Be responsible, and keep God in the equation.

2 Chronicles 10 – Listening. It’s That Important!

Listening is not rocket science, but it can change the course of your life.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 10, King Solomon has died and his son Rehoboam has taken his place. The people come to Rehoboam and ask him to ease some of the heavy burdens of taxes and labor his father Solomon had imposed on them. They tell Rehoboam that if he will do this, they will be his loyal, committed followers.

Rehoboam asks the advice of the older counselors and they advise him to listen to the people. But Rehoboam doesn’t listen to these counselors or the people. Instead, he follows the advice of younger, more arrogant advisors who encourage him to increase the load on the people.

Consequently, 84% of his people dessert him. A high price to pay for not listening.

But here’s the back story. His father had the same problem. In 1 Kings chapter 11, God warned Solomon against marrying women from other nations, so as to not be led into worshipping their gods. But Solomon didn’t listen…setting the stage for what happened with his son, Rehoboam. (1 Kings 11:10-12)

Can listening be that important? Well, suppose your spouse has been telling you for some time, “I’m not happy. We need to work on our marriage.” If you choose to not listen to them, you could wind up with an unhappy marriage at best or a divorce at worst. And this will affect your children, their marriages, and their children.

Listening is that important! So, this week, make listening a big part of your everyday life. Listen to God through His Word and His Spirit. Listen to the people He’s put in your life. Listen, and it will change your life.