Thursday, March 1, 2012

2 Chronicles 1 & 2 - Walking Wisely and Preparations for the Temple

LINK: 2 Chronicles 1 & 2

Parallel Passages: 
2 Chronicles 1 - 1 Kings 3:1-15; 1 Kings 4; 1 Kings 10:26-29
2 Chronicles 2 - 1 Kings 5


BACKGROUND

We are still in our review of what we have already covered in Year One of the Bible Book Club.

Overview of 2 Chronicles

The book of 2 Chronicles begins with the building of Solomon's temple and ends with Cyrus' edict to rebuild it 400 hundred years later. 

While 1 Chronicles 10-29 portrays the life of David, who ended well with God; 2 Chronicles, on the other hand, portrays the deterioration of the spiritual life of Judah. Temple and temple worship remain central. While the righteous kings of Judah and the religious revivals are highlighted, 2 Chronicles is a sad tale of spiritual decline.

Here is the general structure and a timeline of the book:

2 Chr. 1-9 - King Solomon - 971-931 B.C.

ISRAEL AND JUDAH DIVIDE INTO NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN KINGDOMS-- 931 B.C.

2 Chr. 10-20: Rehoboam - Jehoshaphat (931-848 B.C.)

2 Chr. 21:     Jehoram/Joram (848-841 B.C.)

2 Chr. 22-24: Ahaziah - Joash/Jehoash (841-796 B.C.) 
                    [Prophets: Obadiah, Joel]

2 Chr. 25-26: Amaziah - Uzziah/Azariah (796-750 B.C.) 
                    [Prophets: Jonah, Amos]

2 Chr. 27-32: Uzziah - Hezekiah (750-697 B.C.)
                    [Prophets: Hosea, Isaiah, Micah]

2 Chr. 33:      Uzziah/Mannasseh - Amon (697-640 B.C.)                      
                     [Prophets: Isaiah, Micah, Nahum]

2 Chr. 34-35: Josiah (640-609 B.C.) 
                     [Prophets: Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk]

2 Chr. 36:      Jehoahaz - Zedekiah (609-538 B.C.)

2 Chronicles parallels the books of 1 and 2 Kings being a commentary for them. The emphasis is on the Kingdom of Judah with the northern kingdom, Israel, being ignored. Two of the major reasons for this is that Chronicles was written for the Judeans who had returned from captivity in Babylon, and Judah represented David's line in which the Messiah would come!

(Download the TIMELINE of YEAR TWO History with Poetry and Prophets for a more detailed chronology of the rest of the Old Testament)

BACKGROUND

2 Chronicles 1

Solomon and the leaders of Israel went up to Gibeon to offer 1,000 burnt offerings at the bronze altar because the tabernacle was located there (1 Chronicles 16:39-40), but the Ark of the Covenant was still in Jerusalem where David had pitched a tent for it when he brought it from Kiriath Jearim (1 Chronicles 15:1)

1 Kings 3:3 indicates that Solomon had love for the Lord, but he offered sacrifices at the high places which was in opposition to God's Law to do so (Deuteronomy 12:13-14), but God also said to offer them at the tabernacle (Leviticus 17:3-4), and this is where the tabernacle was located at the time. The most popular high place of the Canaanites was at Gibeon, five miles north of Jerusalem. But it was the main religious center for Israel until Solomon built the temple. 


Solomon was visited by God the night he had made the sacrifices. 1 Kings 3:5 says it was in a dream. This was common in ancient Israel (Genesis 28:10-15; 37:5-7). Solomon's request for an understanding (literally "hearing") heart (1 Kings 3:9), wisdom, and knowledge (1:10) to rule and judge the people of Israel and discern between good and evil (1 Kings 3:9) was very pleasing to God who gave him wisdom and discernment and more! 

Solomon was lauded for his great wisdom, writing 3,000 proverbs and 1005 songs. If you have been following along with the Bible Book Club schedule you read Song of Solomon and some of his many proverbs last year. 

Although he started out his reign with much wisdom, Solomon accumulated horses and chariots (1:14-17; 1 Kings 10:26-29). This was prohibited in Deuteronomy 17:16. Consequently, he did not end well. 

2 Chronicles 2 


David was a warrior and not a peacemaker. Consequently, God did not want him to build the temple. Solomon enjoyed peace from all his enemies and could now employ all his wisdom and energy toward managing this God-ordained, grand undertaking. 

The parallel account of this passage in 1 Kings quotes Solomon as saying, 
"I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God" (1 Kings 5:5). The Hebrew root of the word "intend" means to "make visible." He wanted to make what was just something in his father's mind a visible reality. The King James Version says "I purpose to build a house . . ." I like that! 

So, with this life purpose, he gathered the finest material and conscripted laborers. Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites left Egypt, having built for Pharaohs who worshiped false Gods, Solomon started the project that would define his reign. 

REFLECTION (written in 2009)

I am always blown away when I read that this brand new, twenty-one year old king asked for "wisdom and knowledge" rather than wealth and political power. How many twenty-one years olds do you know who would ask for this?

According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, "'Wisdom" (ḥoḵmâh) refers to discernment and judgment while 'knowledge' (maddā‘) means practical know-how in everyday affairs." We all need that!

I could have used discernment, judgment, and practical know-how" yesterday while talking to a person. I felt parts of our conversation were not edifying, and I just did not know how to wisely turn the conversation. The good news is that most of the friends I hang with are very careful with their tongues.

The people in my church are very careful too (I haven't heard ANY gossip in almost three years of attendance!). I have not been around this kind of conversation for a long time. That is probably why I was so caught off guard when this person started putting down the daughter of one of my dear friends (whom she doesn't really know) calling her "immature" and "weird." At first, I tried to interject positive things about that person and other people she was speaking negatively about. It did not work. Then, I tried to steer the conversation away from talking about other people all together and on to the Lord.

At one point on our walk I said, "Enough about all of that, what are you learning from God lately?" I don't think she heard me because the conversation continued. I got tired. I should have said I had to go. Sadly, the conversation deteriorated from there with me falling into my own bit of talking in an unedifying way. UGH! I love my friend, but I just felt very unwise and void of knowledge at the end of our time. 

Sigh. I wished I would have stopped and prayed or even walked away, but I did not.

So, I am up this morning repenting and seeking God's face. I pray that in the future He might give me wisdom and knowledge in using my tongue to glorify Him and in dealing with difficult situations like yesterday. The pruning never stops.

2014 Update: I find that you become like the people you hang around. I am so careful about being around people who use unedifying speech now. 

APPLICATION

Are you dealing with any difficult decisions or situations right now? Ask God for wisdom and knowledge to navigate those waters in a way that honors and pleases Him. I am meditating and praying through Ephesians 5:1-20 today as an application.

PRAYER

Lord, forgive us when we walk unwisely before people, and teach us to "be careful how we walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of our time because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5: 15, 16). We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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