By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 2 Chronicles… At the start of the book, we saw Solomon established as King, and we saw him ask for wisdom from the Lord over any sort of material gain. The King then began fulfilling the prophecy of building the Temple, and once it was done, the glory of the Lord came down and filled the Holiest of Holies. So Solomon blessed the people, and he achieved much in his lifetime. Unfortunately the throne was taken from his son, Rehoboam, and given to Jeroboam. The line of David was left to rule over only the tribe of Judah.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 2 Chronicles 13 – 20.
2 CHRONICLES – After the death of David, 2 Chronicles begins with the powerful reign of his son, Solomon. 2 Chronicles essentially follows the history of 1 Kings and 2 Kings with a focus on the nation of Judah, which split from Israel after Solomon’s reign. This focus was no doubt because of King David, who’s throne was to be established forever in Christ, the Lion of Judah. For all his wisdom, Solomon clearly experienced all the vanity of the world and was eventually swayed by other gods during his lifetime. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel was stripped from the house of David and given to Jeroboam, but the Lord allowed David’s line to rule separately over the tribe of Judah because of His promise to David and because of David’s faithfulness. Unfortunately, as we know, the tribe of Judah, much like the rest of Israel, had many ups and downs and slowly declined to the point of falling into captivity under the Babylonian empire, rounding out the book.
- 2 Chronicles 13 (1 Kings 15) | Abijah reigned in Judah – Abijah and Jeroboam were at war – Abijah proclaims David’s line as king over Israel – The Lord empowers Judah to defeat the men of Israel: As the book continues, Abijah takes his father, Rehoboam’s, place and rises up against Jeroboam. Although he did not follow the Lord wholly like his father, we read of him proclaiming to all Israel that “the Lord is our God.” After doing so, Abijah and Judah are empowered by the Lord to defeat the armies of Israel despite being completely surrounded. The men of Israel were subdued after their defeat and returned to their land.
- 2 Chronicles 14-16 (1 Kings 15) | Asa reigns after Abijah’s death – He did much good for the Lord – They built up the walls around Jerusalem – Ethiopians rise up against Judah – The Lord empowers Asa and Judah to defeat them – Asa hears the word of the Lord through prophet Azariah – Asa purifies the idols from Judah – Israel rises up against Judah – Asa relies on Syria to conquer them – The Lord curses Asa to war – Asa dies: After the death of Abijah, his son, Asa, takes his place. Asa followed the Lord with his whole heart, and he did much to build up Judah by taking out the high places and fortifying the cities. During their time of peace he fortified and built up the armies of Judah, but that was quickly brought to an end as Zerah of Ethiopia rose up against Judah. Without hesitation, it seems, Asa cried out to the Lord:
“O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” | 2 Chronicles 14:11
And so, the army of the Ethiopians was swiftly defeated by the power of the Lord! Afterwards in chapter 15, the Lord spoke through the prophet, Azariah, and made it clear that Israel suffered the consequences of turning from the Lord. Asa immediately began purifying the nation of Judah from the idols that had been lifted up. He even went to the extent of removing his own mother, Maacah, from her authority because she had lifted up an idol! After doing this, the land enjoyed many years of peace. Unfortunately that changed as the new king of Israel, Baasha, began making moves against Judah by building a city right outside of Jerusalem to control passage to and from. This time, instead of immediately crying out to the Lord as he did before, Asa took treasure from the house of the Lord and used it to reach out to the king of Syria for help. Not surprisingly:
At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you… For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” | 2 Chronicles 16:7,9
So, Asa’s life finished with him hardening his heart against the Lord. We even read that he did not seek the Lord when he was sick in his final years.
- 2 Chronicles 17 (1 Kings 22) | Jehoshaphat reigned in Judah following the Lord whole heartedly – He established officials and priests that went out to the land to teach the people of the Law – The land had peace – the forces of Judah grew great: During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Judah continued to prosper because he followed the Lord fully. One of the most notable things that Jehoshaphat did was selecting officials and priests who were tasked with going out into Judah and the surrounding land to teach the people about the Book of the Law. This brought the kingdoms under the fear of the Lord, which in turn brought peace. During this time, we read of the mighty forces, large supplies, and great growth of Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 18 (1 Kings 22) | Jehoshaphat makes peace with Ahab through marriage – Jehoshaphat encourages Ahab to seek the Lord’s guidance before heading into war – Micaiah speaks the true prophecy in the midst of hundreds of prophets who were swayed by a lying spirit from the Lord – Ahab goes into battle – The Lord is with Jehoshaphat in battle – Ahab is “randomly” struck although disguised: In chapter 18, we learn that Jehoshaphat made peace with Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, through marriage. Ahab was spurred on to retake Ramoth-gilead from the king of Syria, and called Jehoshaphat to his side. But the king of Judah humbly asked him to seek out the counsel of the Lord first. Ahab’s 400 prophets were swayed by a lying spirit to tell the king that he would be victorious in battle, but Jehoshaphat calls for Micaiah, another prophet whom Ahab hated because he never prophesied good. This was extremely ironic because Ahab essentially nullifies the power of prophecy by accepting only good prophecies. Nevertheless, Micaiah continued his streak by telling Ahab that he is doomed. We see Ahab play right into the Lord’s plan as he ignored Micaiah and headed into battle. He attempts to disguise himself, which was, no doubt, a way to ensure that he was protected. The enemy rises up against Jehoshaphat because he was still dressed as king, but he calls upon the Lord for protection. At the same time, Ahab in his clever disguise, was “randomly” struck by an arrow and died just as Micaiah had prophesied.
- 2 Chronicles 19-20 (1 Kings 22) | Jehoshaphat is rebuked because of his alliance with Ahab – Jehoshaphat repents and edifies Judah to fear the Lord – Moabites and Ammonites rise against Jehoshaphat – Jehoshaphat prays and seeks the power of the Lord – The Lord encourages them and calls them to not fight, but witness His salvation – The horde is destroyed without Judah having to fight – Judah praises the Lord – Jehoshaphat allies with Israel again and is punished. When Jehoshaphat returned from the war, he was swiftly rebuked by the prophet Hanani because he helped the wicked and loved those who hated the Lord. However, he was still encouraged because of his heart to seek God. So Jehoshaphat went out to the people and encouraged them to consider what they did and to fear God in all they did! Then the very lands that were spared by the Lord when Israel left Egypt, Ammon and Moab, rose up against Jehoshaphat. Again, in humility, he turned to the Lord and exalted Him, asking for His power to conquer the horde before them. The Lord answered through Zechariah, the prophet:
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’ |2 Chronicles 20:15
The Lord told the people of Judah to go out against the horde, clarifying that they would not have to fight this battle but would just witness the salvation of the Lord. When the men of Judah went to the battlefield, the horde was vanquished, and they saw nothing but bodies and the enemy entirely destroyed. The Lord had caused them to fight others and to fight internally until they extinguished themselves. The people of Judah took of the riches that were left for 3 full days, and on the fourth day, they blessed the Lord and returned home because they could not carry anymore! Jehoshaphat served mightily and with a whole heart, but the high places that were set in the land weren’t completely taken down, which had consequences for the future generations. Unfortunately, Jehoshaphat made an alliance with the next wicked king of Israel, Ahaziah, and he was punished for doing so.