King Fredo

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

2 Chronicles 24

fredo-kissI’m a huge fan of The Godfather movies – especially Part II, with its incredible dynastic sweep. In Part II, Mafia kingpin Michael Corleone’s older brother Fredo betrays the family’s interest. In Havana on New Year’s Eve 1958 (the same night the Communists took over Cuba), Michael reveals his knowledge of Fredo’s disloyalty by kissing him at a party, telling Fredo, “You broke my heart.” Later on, Michael tells his brother, “You’re nothing to me.” Years later, Michael has Fredo killed for betraying the family.

King Joash is the Fredo of the royal line of Judah. He proved his disloyalty and paid the ultimate price for it.

Don’t get me wrong: things started out great for Joash. He became king at an early age, and as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive, he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (verse 2). In fact, Joash and Jehoiada enacted a sort of Old Testament capital campaign to renovate and repair the temple for the glory of God:

11 Whenever the chest was brought in by the Levites to the king’s officials and they saw that there was a large amount of money, the royal secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and carry it back to its place. They did this regularly and collected a great amount of money. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who carried out the work required for the temple of the Lord. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the Lord’s temple, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the temple. 13 The men in charge of the work were diligent, and the repairs progressed under them. They rebuilt the temple of God according to its original design and reinforced it. 14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made articles for the Lord’s temple: articles for the service and for the burnt offerings, and also dishes and other objects of gold and silver. As long as Jehoiada lived, burnt offerings were presented continually in the temple of the Lord.

Once Jehoiada died, Joash fell in with a group of royal sycophants who kissed up to him and led him astray. For the umpteenth time, detestable foreign deities became objects of worship in place of the God who created, sustained and saved His people. Needless to say, God was upset.

He sent prophets to Joash, but the king wouldn’t listen. So He sent Jehoiada’s son Zechariah to call Joash out on his blatant sin:

“This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you’” (verse 20).

The king had Zechariah killed.

The following year, Joash fell wounded in a battle against the neighboring Arameans. As he lay in his bed, a group of officials conspired to finish him off as revenge for Zechariah’s death – so they did. Joash paid the price for his disloyalty toward the priestly line as well as toward God.

Where do your loyalties lie? With God or with those who would drive a wedge between you and Him? I’m not saying you’ll be killed for turning your back on God or on Godly friends, but I never would want to hear God say to me, “You broke my heart,” or “You’re nothing to me,” as Michael did to Fredo.

I’d rather be known for my loyalty toward my Lord and toward His people.

Just the Facts, Ma’am!

(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)

2 Chronicles 21:1-22:9

Joe FridayAccording to Webster’s dictionary a chronicle is a, “historical account of events arranged in order of time usually without analysis or interpretation.” In other words it is just an accumulation of the facts surrounding an event. Just the facts! When I hear those words all I can think of is a famous and repetitive line from a TV series that was popular the year I was born, “Dragnet.” Sgt. Joe Friday was known for interviewing witnesses and telling them, when they decided to chase the proverbial rabbit and take their testimony off track, “just the facts ma’am.” I have been told that I have a tendency to give too many facts thereby increasing the boredom quotient of my posts.

Well today I can add nothing to the facts provided in the daily reading. And, frankly, who would want to add to these facts. You have a young man (32 years old) who takes over as king and immediately kills all of his brothers. For this act and the many acts of rebellion against God that follow he is condemned to suffer with some vile illness that makes his bowels come out. I don’t know if you caught that…it would make your bowels COME OUT!!! I do not know what disease this king was struck with but from the sounds of it God was mad at this young man.

The good thing about these verses is that they are a point by point account with little to no embellishment from the author. We are given the play by play and nothing more. We are left to read between the lines and create meaning from the information that is presented. So from this “chronicle” we gather that king Jehoram was an evil man who did not listen to God. He did things that also led the people away from God. God knew that Jehoram was like this but He did not destroy him from the beginning because of the covenant He had made with king David years before. God honored His covenant faithfully. So we see that God is a faithful God. As time passes we are allowed to see that Jehoram continued to behave in ways that were displeasing to God so God basically told him that his time was up. God turned enemies against them and sent this terrible disease to bring about the end of Jehoram. In these basic facts we see two things: God is a jealous God and God is a vengeful God.

So where do we take these three simple behaviors of God: jealousy, vengeance, and faithfulness? How do we bring those into our current lives and create an understanding that does not border on legalistic, works-based, belief? On the surface one could say that if we do not act as God wants us to act then He will turn against us. But this demeans the very image of God and makes Him a God that needs us to do something for Him. God loves us and wants us to live in communion with Him. However, we have the ability to choose not to live in communion with God. If we make the choice to not live in communion with God does that mean that He will send great disease or disaster upon us? NO! Does it mean that He will also not intervene within our lives if He so chooses? NO! What that does mean is that He may let us experience the horrors of our own bad decisions. Our decision to NOT follow Him makes us fully responsible for anything that happens to us.

God’s vengeance and jealousy were poured out on Christ at the cross. Christ took the pain and anguish of those twisted bowels that we so deserve. By sending Christ to do this God was faithful and He continues to be faithful in His promise that if anyone accepts Christ and repents from their sins they will find eternal life with Him no matter what they may have done. We need to remember that we now live under a new covenant that was established through Christ, otherwise we might have found ourselves much like Jehoram with our bowels coming out due to our actions. Luckily, God has removed all of that through Christ and for that I am thankful.

Correct Judgment

(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)

2 Chronicles 19-20

judgmentI feel like we, the contributors of The New Normal, as a whole have had to tackle the incredibly difficult and sensitive subject of judgment with weekly frequency. That may be embellished somewhat, but it’s not an uncommon theme Biblically. Judgment is obviously astronomically important to our lives, because if you read the Bible it is repetitiously laid out for our consumption. The Bible tells us how, where, when, and why we should judge…Who to judge and who not to judge. But as I’ve stated in a previous blog, we’re not to condemn.

It’s been mentioned before and I feel like it deserves more recognition: Everyone takes part in judgment. It’s a part of our daily, hourly and by the minute existence. It’s true; anyone who tells you otherwise has their head in the sand. Here in these 2 chapters we’re dealing with judgment and reliance; how to judge & the plunder of reliance on God’s hand in our battles. These 2 things probably cause me more angst than any other Biblical issue written in the Word. I worry about humanities judgment of me & I struggle letting God have a dominant hand in my battles. Wanna take a wild guess where that leads? That’s right…Misery’ville.

God reaches out to those in this instance and tells them to judge…The world would say, “That’s wrong, everyone deserves to be happy”. Well, happiness is relative. God tells Judah to judge with the The Fear of God in their heart. For most people, myself included, that’s a hard commandment to dissect as well as put into action. Every morning I wake up and look in the mirror. I try to make sure my hair is a certain way; my clothes are fitted correctly and fit a certain style. I look at myself the way to try and satisfy those who I think will judge my appearance. From my hair down to the shoes I wear. This doesn’t make up one iota in the hard pack that hold’s up Sam’s Hill.

We make it so much harder to deal with judgment as believers than we really need to. Judgment isn’t a 4 letter word. It’s a tool that the Lord has given us to deal with situations that crop up in everyday life. The headwaters of the judgment we levy is where we falter. But again, it’s really simplistic and this set of Scriptures leads to the key:

  • Make sure your heart is in God’s hands; measure your heart every morning your feet hit the floor.
  • Follow what the Spirit says in every situation; pray about everything.
  • Heed His Word; read and learn daily about His character.
  • Love in every regard; keep in mind we’re all flawed and those who cross your path may be hurting and in need of His salvation.

When we turn our hearts over to Him, when we follow the guidance of His wisdom, when we learn more about Him, when we love….When we Love those around us…He will guide our judgments in every instance. Not only will judgment come righteously but His hand in our battles will guard our hearts.

I know this sounds easier than it really is. We all get caught up in life and fall to temptations that drift us away from the safety of the shore. Just remember that every day you look in the mirror, you have the opportunity to judge yourself first and ask Him to break the stone around your heart for His purpose and will.

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