Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2 Chronicles: falling action

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 1, 2
The book of 1 Chronicles narrates the rise of King David to great prominence. It tells us how a shepherd became king and was about to embark on the building of a splendid temple.
But the book of 2 Chronicles, which we enter today, narrates the fall of that glorious kingdom. It tells us how Solomon, born in a splendid royal palace, sowed the seeds of the eventual destruction of the kingdom. By the end of 2 Chronicles, after a slow devolution over many generations of kings, Jerusalem lay in ruins, the temple was burned to the ground, and the people were forced to serve their captors in Babylon.
In many Bibles, at the top of each page you will find "headlines." Put together, they form an outline of scripture. It takes only a minute, even in longer books like 1 and 2 Chronicles, to rapidly flip through the pages with your eyes on these headlines. If you do, they will give you a sense of the sweep of the book before you begin to read.
In my Bible, the headlines in 1 Chronicles begin with "David succeeds Saul" and end with "Solomon chosen to build the temple." The nation Israel is in ascendancy.
But the headlines in 2 Chronicles begin with "The building of the temple" and end with "Jerusalem destroyed." The nation Israel is in decline.
The difference between 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles, between ascendancy and decline, is not hard to identify. The difference between 1 and 2 Chronicles stems from the difference between David and Solomon.
David was a man after God's own heart (1). Seeking first the kingdom of God, wealth and achievement and honor followed. (2)
But Solomon was a man after his own heart. What followed was a fall and a banishment of the nation, reminiscent of the fall and banishment from Eden.
At the peak of the kingdom, Solomon son of David was shown all the splendor of the world. They were his if he would bow down and worship them. He would.
Taken to the peak of the temple, Jesus Christ, the greater son of David, was shown all the splendor of the world. They were his if he would bow down and worship them. He would not.
In one way or another, the same choices are set before every man. Some will bow and fall.
Others will not.
They stand.
(1) 1 Samuel 13:14; (2) Matthew 6:33

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