Script for the June 4th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the June 4th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 2 Chronicles 21-22 and John 14. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Chronicles 21
As 2 Chronicles 21 begins, King Jehoshaphat has died. Generally, he was a good king. His big weakness was that he didn’t mind forming alliances and essentially affirming (at least in his silence) the wicked kings of Israel.
But one thing we will realize in the next couple of chapters is that when we demonstrate a spiritual weakness in our lives, it will sometimes grow into an even bigger problem in our children and grandchildren. That is precisely what happened to Jehoshaphat’s son and grandson.
So, let’s begin at the beginning and read the first verse for today.
2 Chronicles 21:1 (CSB): “Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Jehoram became king in his place.”
No problems so far. This is typical language as the writers of Kings and Chronicles say goodbye to one king and prepare us for the next one.
We read in verses 2-3 that Jehoram, the new king of Judah, had many brothers. But we already knew that, because we were told in a previous chapter that King Jehoshaphat had sent them to various parts of the kingdom and provided for them. His purpose seemed to clarify to everyone who the next king was, and the other sons would be fat and sassy and wouldn’t want the responsibilities of being king.
Everything was planned and well-thought-out, right? Things would go well as Jehoram began his new reign, correct? Hardly!
2 Chronicles 21:4 (CSB): “When Jehoram had established himself over his father’s kingdom, he strengthened his position by killing with the sword all his brothers as well as some of the princes of Israel.”
Immediately, we understand that Jehoshaphat’s son would be a tyrant. How wicked must someone be who would kill all of his brothers before any one of them even had a chance to express interest in becoming king? For all we know, they were all content. But Jehoram killed them in cold blood anyway.
So, we ask the question: “How could King Jehoram do such a wicked thing?
I think it all goes back to the one area of sin in his father’s life – forging alliances with evil people. In fact, we remember that Jehoshaphat had married Ahab’s daughter. This wicked influence would have most certainly affected Jehoram as he became a product of his father’s example.
Listen to this next verse. We are told where Jehoram found a wife.
2 Chronicles 21:6 (CSB): “He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for Ahab’s daughter was his wife. He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight,”
What?! Ahab’s daughter was his wife? His father married a daughter of Ahab. That means that Jehoram married one of his mom’s sisters, who was also Jezebel’s daughter. King Jehoshaphat’s relationship with wicked Ahab’s family rubbed off on his son.
Friend, we need to be so careful what we do as parents. Because what we do is what we approve. And what we approve of will probably be what our children and grandchildren do.
So why didn’t God just send horrific divine judgment upon Judah under such a wicked king? Verse 7 tells us that God was patient because He had made a promise to King David that his throne would last forever. King Jehoram may have thought that the absence of divine judgment revealed that God didn’t think his sin was that serious. However, he would have been completely misreading why God was withholding judgment.
Friend, this is why it is so important not to have such a simplistic view of God’s blessings and judgment. When God sends blessings or discipline our way, it may have very little to do with what we are engaged in.
However, natural consequences of wicked, incompetent leadership would come. We read in verses 8-10 that the nation of Edom and Libnah rebelled against Judah. They had previously been under Judah’s control, but they saw an opportunity to rebel, and they took it. Why did this happen? Verse 10 tells us that these things happened “because he had abandoned the LORD, the God of his ancestors.”
So Jehoram’s actions had placed the people of Judah in a place where their nation was being weakened. But that wasn’t enough for Jehoram. He was so vile that he wasn’t content to disobey the Lord by himself. He also led the people of Judah to follow him into God’s displeasure.
2 Chronicles 21:11 (CSB): “Jehoram also built high places in the hills of Judah, and he caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, and he led Judah astray.”
Friend, there is a special place in hell for people, in positions of power and influence, who lead others astray. He could have focused his attention on his nation’s safety and spiritual growth and, therefore, been a source of blessing to them. But he was leading them down a dead-end road.
Friend, it’s one thing for a person to choose to disobey the Lord. It’s quite another for them to lure others into their defiance of God’s rule. Governmental leaders can do this. So can pastors, parents, and anyone else in a position of influence. So chase after holiness and realize that the Lord can also use you to bring others along with you to experience the blessings of godliness. Don’t be like King Jehoram.
King Jehoram’s actions were wicked. He needed to be confronted. A prophet named Elijah (yes, THAT Elijah) sat down and penned a letter to the king.
In his letter, Elijah reprimanded King Jehoram and pronounced divine judgment upon him. Just listen to the last part of the letter.
2 Chronicles 21:14-15 (CSB): “the LORD is now about to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a horrible affliction. You yourself will be struck with many illnesses, including a disease of the intestines, until your intestines come out day after day because of the disease.”
Do you know what we observe in those previous words? It’s the reality that if we choose to disobey the Lord, we may not be the only ones to suffer. Our actions may cause those we love to experience the consequences of our actions.
What was the way in which this played out in King Jehoram’s life? How did his actions bring consequences upon his family? Simply put, he led in such a way as to weaken his nation. Therefore, everyone in that nation was exposed to invaders.
2 Chronicles 21:16-17 (CSB): “The LORD roused the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Cushites to attack Jehoram. So they went to war against Judah and invaded it. They carried off all the possessions found in the king’s palace and also his sons and wives; not a son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son.”
Then, we read that King Jehoram developed an intestinal disease that lasted for two years. It makes us cringe when we read that his disease eventually made “his intestines come out.” I can only imagine the pain he was in.
But then, we read his people’s assessment of him. I know that we aren’t to be consumed with what others think of us. But how sad would it be to live in such a way that no one showed up to our funeral, or if they did, they had nothing good to say about us. Wouldn’t that be utterly sad?
Well, listen to what people thought when King Jehoram died.
2 Chronicles 21:20 (CSB): “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king; he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He died to no one’s regret and was buried in the city of David but not in the tombs of the kings.”
How sad! Let’s determine to bless people by the way we live. As we anticipate our eventual death, let’s determine to have been such a blessing to our spouse, our children, and so many others that folks actually miss us because of all the good we did.
2 Chronicles 22
Well, we’re now past the reign of King Jehoram. And honestly, good riddance. He did Judah no favors. He messed them up. Now let’s move on to the next king. But we’re going to find out that he’s not any better.
One brief item that we need to clear up is that we are going to be introduced to King Ahaziah. But, a few verses earlier in 2 Chronicles 21:11, he was called Jehoahaz. Just realize that he went by both names, but Ahaziah was the one he went by the most.
2 Chronicles 22:1-2 (CSB): “Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place, because the troops that had come with the Arabs to the camp had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, granddaughter of Omri.”
Wait a minute! His mother was the granddaughter of Omri?! That’s one of the vilest kings of Israel!
We are observing that King Jehoshaphat, even though he was generally a godly man, had a problem with mingling with evil people, and he passed that on to his kids. Who’s to say that if King Jehoshaphat had refused to mingle and intermingle with wicked people that his son and grandson might have turned out much better.
In verses 3-6, we read that King Ahaziah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. Further, he followed the advice of Ahab’s family. We are also told that he traveled to Israel to visit King Joram because he had been wounded in battle.
Little did Ahaziah realize that he would be assassinated on this visit. As a man named Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, he also went after King Ahaziah’s family and killed them. When they found Ahaziah hiding in Samaria, they brought him back and killed him, too.
Who took over after Judah’s King Ahaziah was assassinated? His wicked mother. And she went on a killing spree to get rid of any threat to her rule. But King Ahaziah’s daughter rescued her baby brother and hid him in the Temple for six years. Listen as the words of Scripture tell us about this..
2 Chronicles 22:10-12 (CSB): “When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. Jehoshabeath, the king’s daughter, rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. Now Jehoshabeath was the daughter of King Jehoram and the wife of the priest Jehoiada. Since she was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid Joash from Athaliah so that she did not kill him. He was hiding with them in God’s temple for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.”
Friends, people all around us seem so surprised when someone commits a heinous crime. Even though many in our culture don’t believe in absolute truth, they have to keep borrowing a word from Christians when really bad things happen. They use the word, “evil.” Christians aren’t surprised when evil happens. The Bible recounts how easy and frequent evil things happened. And the same Bible tells us that if it weren’t for God’s grace, any of us is capable of doing some really bad things.
While there might not be much that we can do about other people’s actions, there is certainly something that we can do about our own. We are seeing in these chapters that parents and grandparents have a huge influence on those who come after them. The evil they committed keeps showing up in those who follow them.
So chase after Jesus, friend. Do it because Jesus is worthy of our allegiance. Do it because it is for our good. And do it because it can be a source of blessing for those who come behind us.
As this chapter opens, we hear Jesus encouraging us not to be overwhelmed with worry. We shouldn’t let our hearts be troubled. But Jesus gives us substantive reasons why our hearts should remain calm even in the midst of life’s storms.
John 14:1-3 (CSB): “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
The reason Jesus gives us to remain calm is that we have Heaven waiting on us. I believe that the place Jesus is preparing is the New Jerusalem talked about in Revelation 21. Jesus would have us find comfort in the fact that the troubles of this life are temporary, and Heaven awaits us. But the greatest joy of Heaven is that Jesus will be there, and we get to enjoy being with Him forever.
Thomas spoke up. He told Jesus that he didn’t know where Jesus was going, so they couldn’t possibly know the way. And then Jesus came back with a profound statement.
John 14:6 (CSB): “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Jesus is not merely a way. He is the way, the only way to the Father. Jesus is the Temple Veil that was ripped from Heaven to earth that we must go through to get to the Father in the Holy of Holies.
This is why we don’t merely talk about God. We are people who talk about and follow Jesus. Because without Jesus, there is absolutely no salvation and no ability to approach the Father.
Then, the Apostle Philip asked Jesus a question. Jesus’ answer is fascinating. Here it is.
John 14:8-9 (CSB): “‘Lord,’ said Philip, ‘show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?’”
Did you hear what Jesus said? Jesus and the Father are distinct and yet the same. This is the paradox of the Trinity.
Quite a few years ago, my family and I got to view a total solar eclipse. For about a minute, the moon completely covered the sun so that it felt like it was nighttime. Since the sun’s light was so diminished, we had purchased some special sunglasses to look into the sky, directly at the sun.
Now, here is a question: When we looked into the sky and saw the sun, were we really looking at the sun? The answer would be “no.” Why? Because the light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to get to earth. So what we were seeing was the light coming from the sun, not the actual sun.
That’s roughly what Jesus is to God. If you want to look at the Father and you see something, you’re looking at Jesus. That’s why Christians make such a huge deal about Jesus. Because as we get to know and enjoy Jesus, we are also simultaneously getting to know and enjoy the Father. Jesus, according to Hebrews 1:3, is the radiance of God’s glory.
Next, we need to explain what Jesus meant when He said that we would do “greater works.”
John 14:12 (CSB): “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
What did Jesus mean when He said that we would do “greater works?” It does not mean that we will do bigger or greater things than He did. Instead, it means that His followers will generally have more than three years of ministry, so they will be able to do so much more than He did.
Next, we need to explain what it means to pray in Jesus’ Name.
John 14:13-14 (CSB): “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Some Christians think that praying in Jesus’ Name means that we end each prayer with those words. But we never read any New Testament believers ending their prayer with those words.
What it means to pray in Jesus’ Name is that we pray the sort of things that Jesus would want us to pray and the things He will answer. Praying in Jesus’ Name means that we bow our heads in prayer, enter the very throne room of Heaven, and essentially say: “Father, it is because of Jesus that I’m able to enter Your presence right now. Further, Jesus would have me ask for the following things. So please answer my Jesus-approved requests just as You would answer Him if He were to pray this prayer.”
In verses 15-17, we are introduced to the Holy Spirit. Yet, He is called a Counselor in most of our translations. That is an unfortunate translation, but we don’t have a great English word to translate it accurately. In the English language, a counselor is someone who listens and helps us when we’re down. Yet, the Holy Spirit is so much more than that.
The Greek word that is translated as “Counselor” is paraklete. In the original language, two words are put together that literally mean “to call alongside.” The Holy Spirit is someone that God has sent to walk alongside us in life. When we need wisdom, we call out to the Holy Spirit who gives it. When we need boldness, we pray for the Holy Spirit to come alongside us to give us that boldness. Whatever it is that we need to accomplish God’s purposes in our lives should be what causes us to call out to the Holy Spirit to come alongside us to help us.
In verses 23-24, Jesus makes it crystal clear that if we belong to Jesus and love Him, then we will obey Him. If we don’t belong to Jesus and don’t love Him, then our default response will be to do whatever we desire to do and disobey Jesus’ commands. Obedience to Jesus’ words truly is the tell-tell sign of a true believer.
Then, Jesus talks about peace.
John 14:27 (CSB): “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”
What is this peace? Well, there are two primary ways that we can understand peace in the Bible.
First, it can be legal peace. That means that Jesus has forgiven us and our relationship with God has moved from being enemies to being at peace with Him. Again, this is legal peace.
The second kind of peace is felt peace. This has to do with the feelings of tranquility inside our hearts. This is the kind of peace Jesus is promising in John 14:27. As we rest in who He is and what He has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us, we can rest in His care. The world cannot give us this kind of peace because the world doesn’t rest its peace in the person of Jesus, who is over all things. So, my friend, we have the ability to experience a peace that people who don’t know Jesus can never experience.
As this chapter ends, Jesus makes it clear that He’s about to go to the Father. In fact, Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus was able to endure the cross because He was looking forward to being with the Father after it was over.
The chapter ends with Jesus leaving the upper room. They are headed to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to show us the Father. It is through You, God the Son, that we are able to be made right and then go right into the Holiest of Holies where the Father resides. But, Lord, we often spend much more time talking about the Father and You, but we don’t spend nearly as much time talking about the Holy Spirit. And He is the One You left on earth to help us when You went back to Heaven. So, help us, Holy Spirit, to be who we need to be. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If looking over the script for this podcast would be beneficial to you, hop on over to my website at mattsmusings.net. I will provide a link in this episode’s show notes.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!