- 2 Kings 12:2 says that Jehoash did the right thing all the days of his life because Jehoiada the priest instructed him, but 2 Chronicles 24:2 says that Jehoash did the right thing all the days of Jehoiada’s life. After the priest’s death, Jehoash allowed the worship of idols. He also killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada. 2 Kings does not mention that. It simply refers the writer to the Chronicles. This is a recurring thing. Kings treats the kings of Judah leniently, saying only that they were good/evil. On the other hand, Chronicles says that they were mostly good, but they did some bad thing during their lives. The effect is that Kings makes a lot of the kings of Judah seem good, while Chronicles suggests that there were no kings who sought God with all their hearts. There were just varying degrees of faithlessness. Kings seems to treat the matter too simply, while Chronicles goes into more detail. That is probably why the writer of Kings keeps referring the reader to Chronicles.
- There are several recurring ideas in these passages
1. If you seek God and keep his laws, he will watch over you and bless you.
2. If you forsake God, he will punish you.
3. God is merciful. If, after you have forsaken him, you repent he will reconsider whatever punishment he has brought on you.
- It is also of note that none of the kings of Judah were wholly good -not David, Solomon, or even Asa.
- It occurred to me today that there is a difference between what God wills, and what he permits. God permits a lot of evil. He permitted the deceiving spirit to lie to Ahab, and used it to his purpose (2 Chr 18). Did he will it? I would say not.
- By the way, I’ve discovered what bothers me so much about that scenario. When the spirit says ‘I will make all of Ahab’s prophets lie’, God does not say ‘No! you can’t do that”. Instead he permits it. But this is no different from all the other evil he permits everyday.
- Even when David’s killing was justified, (or not wrong, at the very least since God sometimes approved of the battles) God found it abhorrent. He refused to let David build him a temple because he had so much blood on his hands (v 8).
- God had promised David that he would grant Solomon peace so he could build the temple. He promised to look with favor on Solomon before he was born. Despite this, God wouldn’t have blessed Solomon had he turned out evil (like Ahab, for instance). Perhaps God knew how Solomon would turn out so he didn’t have to make a promise he might renege on.
Takeaway: The blessing of God does not mean that nothing will go wrong. Neither does God’s displeasure mean that nothing will go right. The different between God’s attention to the righteous and the wicked is the difference between God’s attention to David and Absalom (or any of the other terrible kings of Israel).
- Once again, God punished the entire nation for David’s sin, just as he blesses them all for David’s righteousness.
- God eventually relented from his decision (v 15). That is, he decided to stop before the 3 days of destruction was over. What happened to “God does not change his mind?” Well, maybe he didn’t. If he had resolved to complete those three days of destruction, and then decided not to, that would be changing his mind – strictly speaking – but the issue bears taking note of.
- God did a miracle here, like at Solomon’s dedication of the temple. He set fire to the offering (v 26).
- A key point here is David’s sorrow at what he had done. Even though God stopped the destruction, he didn’t call back the angel until David made his offerings. I don’t know what that means. Perhaps he hoped David would give him a reason to spare the people.
I chronicles focuses a lot on David’s service to God and God’s resulting blessings to David. It reminds me of one of Psalm 1, which talks about the person who keeps God’s laws.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:3
For a long time, I’ve resisted the claim that ‘whatever they do prospers’. It might seem like a silly thing to do, but if I don’t believe that God blesses whatever the righteous do, then I won’t feel disappointed when my endeavors fail. Now that I’ve said that aloud, it reveals two things. Firstly, that, somewhere deep down, I consider myself the kind of person described in Psalm 1 and secondly, that I believe that God doesn’t really guard the endeavors of the righteous like the passage says. The first seems like hubris – but what can I do about it? The second bears further investigation. I can’t remember when I first began to think that way, nor can I remember why. I can’t even remember what God failed to give me that resulted in this belief, but 1 Chronicles says otherwise. God gave David victory over his enemies because David obeyed God. God blessed Abraham and Solomon too because they followed him.
It does bear mentioning, however, that in both cases God specifically promised those people that he would bless them.