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.

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