Bible reading for Dec 24.
Note: I will be taking a few days off from posting. May you have a blessed Christmas!
2 Chronicles 29.
"Thus the service of the house of the LORD was restored. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had prepared for the people, for the thing came about suddenly." (29:35-36)
LONGING FOR GOD'S LEADER. Under Hezekiah we see a widespread revival of God's people, especially Levites and priests, coming back to God. One thing Chronicles is showing us, with each new king, is that people long for and need righteous rulers. The line of David would one day culminate with that Righteous King (Isa 9). Even today people yearn for good and righteous leaders who care for the people and lead with integrity. A nation groans under corrupt, self-serving leaders. Daniel and Revelation call them "beasts". The various kings in David's line -- whether they be good or bad examples -- are pointing us to that king who would one day be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Hezekiah was a good example of leadership in that lineage. On a side note, there is a lot of archaeological evidence from the period of Hezekiah's reign. Read "King Hezekiah: An Archaeological Biography"
SUDDENLY. "...for the thing came about suddenly" (v 36). Much of God's normal way of working is gradual, often imperceptible, and progress is made according to the principles and means that he has ordained for life. But at times God works suddenly and unexpectedly. This young king Hezekiah (age 25), the son of an apostate, calls the nation back to God, and we see a change of heart in many, leading them back to worship the Lord, the only true and living God. Do a search (or use your concordance) for the words "sudden" and "suddenly" in the Bible, and you will see the suddenness of victorious battles, of destruction of the wicked, of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, of Paul's conversion, and of the Lord's return, for example. God says through Isaiah, "The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth and I announced them; then suddenly I did them and they came to pass" (Isa 48:3). Remember that the shepherds near Bethlehem had a very isolated and routine existence, with long hours of sheep-watching, when one night changed everything. "Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'" (Luke 2:13-14) Things may remain much the same for a long time, but then again, things can change quickly.
"Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (15:4)
THE LAST ACT. What follows is the beginning of the end -- the outpouring of the last plagues of the tribulation, symbolized in seven bowls of God's wrath (v 1). All of the tribulation saints are safely home and worship God with the song of Moses (vv 2-4; Exod 15; Micah 7:13-20). This does not mean the lyrics are identical to what Moses sang, but rather that God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt, being the first great redemption of that nation through God's awesome power, foreshadowed and now consummates Israel's final deliverance (Rom 11:25-36). We as Gentile believers in Christ are included in that great redemption ("all nations"), but much of the book of Revelation regards the deliverance and vindication of believing Israel. And so it is fulfilled, "You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode" (Exod 15:13).
WHO IS LIKE GOD? Who will not fear and glorify him? These are two questions posed in light of all of God's saving works (Exod 15:11; Mic 7:18; Rev 15:4). There is none like the Lord. There is no other God. There is none to compare with him. And so, the second question follows... who will not fear and glorify him? Who will not come to their senses and see that there is no other hope than our God and his anointed Lamb? Who will not see that he is the way, and there is no other (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)? Can you say, along with Simeon as he beheld the face of baby Jesus, that "...my eyes have seen your salvation" (Luke 2:30)? This Baby is the very salvation of God.
Image credit. Detail of "Simeon's Song of Praise" by Aert de Gelder (1645-1727). We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.