BiND: Day 33
Today, more kings. Two memorably good ones: Hezekiah and Josiah, both of whom were humbled by discovery of the law and who instituted serious reform—restoring the Temple, destroying high places, organizing Temple worship, celebrating the Passover, etc. But even their goodness and righteousness (and even their repentance when they became too proud to serve God) weren’t enough to avert disaster. It appears that, though serving God is important, consistency is also key. It’s not enough for the people to serve God for 40 years and then spend another generation or two serving other gods—they need to serve God consistently, they need to be the covenant community all the time (not just on Sunday morning). It’s a hard life, but rewarding if they can stick to it.
I noticed a few things as I went ahead and finished Chronicles today (the reading assignment today ends only a chapter and a half before the book does, so I figured I might as well…). First, today was the first time I noticed the phrase “which are the work of human hands” when talking about other gods. I remember lots of times where it says that the king set up altars for “the whole host of heaven” but today it says that the people of Assyria “spoke of the God of Jerusalem as if he were like the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of human hands.” This is not just another tribal God we’re dealing with, this is the real deal—that seems to be what the Chronicler (or possibly a later editor) is saying here. Interesting, especially in light of our discussion in class last night!
I also noticed that in the end of Chronicles the writer picks up something that was said in Deuteronomy, about the land not being given the Sabbath it deserves every 7 years, but during the time of exile the land would get rest. And it happened—the land lay “desolate” (or at least, not used by Israelites) and made up for its missed Sabbaths. God’s promise to the land has been fulfilled too.
Last but not least: you may have noticed throughout Chronicles that when a king dies, it often says he was buried “in the city of David.” We generally think of the city of David being Bethlehem, since that’s what it says in our Christmas story. But in this case the “city of David” is the oldest part of Jerusalem. You can still see the ruins being excavated just outside the current old city walls. How’s that for a little tidbit?
photo is of a wall archaeologists think may have been an early palace in the city of David. More info from BiblePlaces.com–search for “city of David.”