Script for the June 6th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the June 6th 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 25-27 and John 16. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Chronicles 25
We are introduced to yet another king of Judah. And before looking at him, I want to point out a leadership principle. One of the things we observe as we read about each of these kings is that a leader has incredible influence over the people he or she leads. The northern nation of Israel had only bad kings, and so the people in that kingdom became predominately wicked. The southern kingdom of Judah had good and bad kings, and the people tended to morph into a spiritual condition that matched their leader.
This is why Christians should place just as much emphasis upon character as we do competence. If a leader is capable of leading but has some character problems, the people under that leadership will, sooner or later, suffer for it.
So, when we open the pages of 2 Chronicles 25, we read of Judah’s new king, whose name is Amaziah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Judah.
Was he a godly king? Would he lead his people to seek the Lord? Or would he lead them down a path to paganism and wickedness?
2 Chronicles 25:2 (CSB): “He did what was right in the LORD’s sight but not wholeheartedly.”
So, Amaziah gave some of his heart to the Lord. He just didn’t give all of his heart to his God.
That may sound good enough, but what if I told my wife, Kim, that I wasn’t completely devoted to her. Yes, I was going to go through the motions of marital faithfulness, but I wasn’t going to love her wholeheartedly? How do you think that would make her feel? She would feel hurt, wouldn’t she?
Friend, we shouldn’t settle for giving only a part of ourselves to the Lord. We should give ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, to serve Him, to trust Him, to follow Him, to obey Him, and to love Him. Anything short of wholehearted allegiance to King Jesus is only a recipe for trouble.
In verses 5-6, we read that King Amaziah formed his army. As if an army made up of men from Judah and Benjamin weren’t enough, he also sent 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 warriors from Israel. Once again, we observe that a king of Judah, who was reasonably godly, would enter into a contractual alliance with wicked Israel. This reminds us of a principle written for us in the New Testament.
2 Corinthians 6:14 (CSB): “Do not be yoked together with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?”
I believe this certainly applies to marriage. Believers should not marry unbelievers. But it should also play out in a multitude of other ways in our life. God does not like it when those who are committed to following Him throw caution to the wind by entering into a binding relationship with those who do not submit to Him. The danger is that unbelievers will pull believers away from the Lord.
In verses 7-8, an unnamed prophet warns King Amaziah about partnering with Israelite troops. God would not bless Israel, so if Judah partnered with them, they would also forgo God’s blessing. But if Amaziah determined to take the Israelite troops along, he could do so, but he needed to know that he would stumble in battle. It was his choice.
After struggling with the bitter taste of losing the money he had sent to hire the Israelite soldiers, King Amaziah sent them back home. But the Israelite troops were furious. It’s possible that they felt slighted as they were also denied the spoils of war they could have obtained. Unfortunately, anger usually seeks revenge, and this isn’t the last we will hear of the Israelite troops.
King Amaziah took his army to the Dead Sea and defeated the Seirites. But while they were winning this battle, the Israelites who had been sent back raided cities in Judah. They killed 3,000 people of Judah and stole a lot of valuables. This is why anger is so dangerous. It usually finds a way to express itself in ways that hurt people.
When King Amaziah came back from defeating the Edomites south of the Dead Sea, he brought their gods and set them up for the people of Judah to worship. We aren’t surprised that the Lord’s patience had run out.
2 Chronicles 25:15 (CSB): “So the LORD’s anger was against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, ‘Why have you sought a people’s gods that could not rescue their own people from you?’”
That’s a great question, isn’t it? But King Amaziah looked the prophet right in the eyes and told him that if he kept talking, he would be killed. So the prophet stopped talking after saying that God was going to destroy him.
In verse 17, King Amaziah, fresh off a win against the Edomites, gets a message to the king of Israel saying they would meet in battle. King Jehoash of Israel warned King Amaziah of his overconfidence. He said it was misplaced. He needed to stay home and calm down, or he was going to get hurt.
2 Chronicles 25:20 (CSB): “But Amaziah would not listen, for this turn of events was from God in order to hand them over to their enemies because they went after the gods of Edom.”
The King of Israel led his army into the territory of Judah, and the battle began. Judah was routed. King Amaziah was captured but not killed. The Jerusalem Temple was raided. Then, much of the massive Jerusalem protective walls were torn down, exposing its citizens to raiders and other armies. Finally, the king of Israel led his army back home.
2 Chronicles 25:27-28 (CSB): “From the time Amaziah turned from following the LORD, a conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. However, men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there. They carried him back on horses and buried him with his ancestors in the city of Judah.”
2 Chronicles 26
2 Chronicles 26:1 (CSB): “All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah.”
What kind of king was Uzziah? Was he good, or was he bad?
2 Chronicles 26:4-5 (CSB): “He did what was right in the LORD’s sight just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God throughout the lifetime of Zechariah, the teacher of the fear of God. During the time that he sought the LORD, God gave him success.”
King Uzziah waged war against the Philistines and Arabs and was victorious. He built cities, had cattle and farmers, and proved to be a very productive king.
Why was King Uzziah able to do all of these things? There’s always the human side to things. Maybe Uzziah was ambitious. Maybe he had great advisers. Maybe he didn’t require much sleep so he spent his night strategizing. The possibilities of how we can humanly explain his victories are numerous. But the text focuses on God’s part in Uzziah’s success.
2 Chronicles 26:8 (CSB): “… his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for God made him very powerful.”
In fact, we read in verses 11-15 that his military was second to none. There were a lot of them, they were powerful, and they kept winning. But then we read something that sends up a bright red flare.
2 Chronicles 26:15 (CSB): “… So his fame spread even to distant places, for he was wondrously helped until he became strong.”
When we are told that Uzziah was doing great “until,” we wonder when the hammer is going to drop. But we’re actually told in this verse why his otherwise great and godly reign ended badly. “He was wondrously helped until he became strong.”
Once again, we’re reminded that we can take God’s blessings and allow them to become a source of great temptation for us. If we obey the Lord and apply biblical principles, He reserves the right to give us a degree of success. But when we experience success, we tend to not feel our desperate need for the Lord. We tend to get self-sufficient and proud. And that’s what happened to Uzziah.
2 Chronicles 26:16 (CSB): “But when he became strong, he grew arrogant, and it led to his own destruction. He acted unfaithfully against the LORD his God by going into the LORD’s sanctuary to burn incense on the incense altar.”
King Uzziah, no longer feeling a holy respect for the things of God, went into the Temple to burn incense, something that was reserved for the priests. He was confronted by the priest and told to get out of the sanctuary. But Uzziah became angry but was immediately terrified when the priest saw a skin disease quickly breaking out on the king’s forehead.
2 Chronicles 26:21 (CSB): “So King Uzziah was diseased to the time of his death. He lived in quarantine with a serious skin disease and was excluded from access to the LORD’s temple, while his son Jotham was over the king’s household governing the people of the land.
God’s judgment once again came upon a king who blatantly disobeyed Him. It didn’t matter that Uzziah had started off well. Because he became arrogant, his reign ended poorly under the Lord’s judgment.
As this chapter ends, we are told that the prophet Isaiah wrote about Uzziah. We can read about it in the book that bears Isaiah’s name. Particularly, when we read Isaiah 6, it begins with Uzziah’s death, and the reader can’t help but feel Isaiah’s sadness. Friend, focus on finishing well!
2 Chronicles 27
2 Chronicles 27:1-2 (CSB): “Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah daughter of Zadok. He did what was right in the LORD’s sight just as his father Uzziah had done. In addition, he didn’t enter the LORD’s sanctuary, but the people still behaved corruptly.”
So, it looks like we’ve got a chance at a good leader even though the people of Judah aren’t following the Lord. We will read about his competence as a leader momentarily. His character, at least initially, seems to be good.
Jotham built cities and fortresses to protect Judah. He also fought against the Ammonites, won, and then received tribute from them.
It’s almost as soon as we begin to read about King Jotham’s reign that we read about his death, even though he reigned for sixteen years. The writer of Chronicles, for some reason, doesn’t seem to see a need to spend as much time with him as with other kings.
2 Chronicles 27:9 (CSB): “Jotham rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His son Ahaz became king in his place.”
As Jesus talks with His apostles on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, He warns them that the world will not be safe for them.
John 16:1-3 (CSB): “I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or me.”
This is a great time to remember that the Bible was not originally written to us. It wasn’t written to 21st-century Americans or whatever other country you might be living in. The New Testament was written to 1st-century Christians.
If we are to properly understand what the Bible says and means, then the first question we ask upon reading a text should NOT be: “What does this mean to me?” Instead, our first question should be: “What did this mean to the original readers?” Then, when we get a good answer to that question, we can draw out the general principles and then search for personal applications.
So, when we read John 16:1-3, Jesus is talking to His first-century apostles. He was telling them that the Jewish religious leaders would ban them (the apostles and other disciples) from the synagogues. They would even kill them, as the Apostle Paul did, and think they were doing a service for their God.
In our own time, there are some countries where religious zealots persecute and kill Christians. But there are many other countries where Christians are persecuted by those who claim no religious affiliation at all. So, we should simply take Jesus’ words as meaning that persecution is generally a normal experience for Christians living in the last days.
Then, Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving them. Their response was sadness. Of course, it was. They had enjoyed being with Jesus and had built a relationship with Him. But Jesus told them that it was beneficial to them if He went away.
John 16:7 (CSB): “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.”
Jesus, as God in the flesh, was limited to one location. But the Holy Spirit would come to indwell every single believer. The work He would do within each of us was multi-faceted. He would convict us, lead us, empower us, and so much more.
But one of the greatest works of the Holy Spirit is to teach us God’s Word and God’s ways.
John 16:12-13 (CSB): “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.”
Jesus said that He had so many things that He wanted to tell His disciples, but they couldn’t handle them yet. They needed the Holy Spirit within them to enable them to understand the truth and properly apply it.
Then, Jesus talked about leaving His disciples.
John 16:16 (CSB): “In a little while, you will no longer see me; again in a little while, you will see me.”
So, what is Jesus talking about? Is He talking about His death, when they wouldn’t see Him, and then His resurrection, when they would see Him? I don’t think so. I believe Jesus was still talking about the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus was talking about His ascension in Acts 1, when they wouldn’t see Him, and then the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and His arrival would enable each believer to not only have Jesus beside them but within them.
The disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. He didn’t explain what He was saying to them. Instead, He said that it would simply be a comfort to them.
John 16:21-22 (CSB): “When a woman is in labor, she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy from you.
Jesus simply told them that their sorrow at His departure would be replaced with joy when the Holy Spirit came. In fact, Jesus stayed with the theme of happiness for a little longer. He told His disciples that prayer could be a catalyst for happiness.
John 16:23-24 (CSB): “In that day you will not ask me anything. Truly I tell you, anything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”
The joy comes in knowing that our God is listening to us and giving us what we ask for. We really should learn what it means to pray the sort of prayers that Jesus would have us pray so that, praying in His Name, we get what we ask for which cultivates happiness within us.
Jesus then acknowledged that He had been speaking to His disciples in “figures of speech.” He was saying things that didn’t quite make sense to them. But the Holy Spirit would bring those things to mind and make them clear. In fact, the Holy Spirit, clearly implied in this conversation, will enable us to enter into a love relationship with the Trinity.
The disciples responded with a bit of overconfidence. They claimed that they understood things that they probably didn’t understand. So, Jesus warned them of their overconfidence. He even told them that there was coming a time when they would run from Him. But He was telling them these things so that when they ran like cowards, they would know that God already knew they would and chose to love them anyway. There was nothing that they could do to get away from God’s love for them.
Then, Jesus said something that is so comforting to us, even as we are about 2,000 years removed from when He initially said it to His disciples.
John 16:33 (CSB): “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
In this verse, Jesus tells us that we have peace in Him. Yet, in the world, we have anything but peace. But Jesus encouraged His disciples and us not to lose heart. His death on the cross and resurrection three days later gave the sinful world system a resounding blow. It is now a defeated foe. The final chapters of earth, in which a righteous divine Judge will destroy it, have already been written.
So, when we are treated badly by a wicked world, we should see it as a temporary attack by a defeated foe. One day, we will join the Heavenly host as we celebrate God’s judgment poured out on a wicked world system. We’ll talk about that when we get to the book of Revelation.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being real and not merely ideal. When You speak in the Bible, You talk straight and tell us that we are going to experience some really difficult times in this life, some of which will come because we are serious about serving You. But You also give us hope by pointing to what You did on the cross, and the Holy Spirit You have given to us. Therefore, Lord, we are without an excuse if we fail to live a Christ-honoring life. You have given us everything we need for life and godliness. So, as we rely upon Your Holy Spirit, enable us to be serious about following You in this life. We pray this in Your 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!