Four kings follow in quick succession. All four did evil in the eyes of the Lord. (See 2 Kings 23:32 for Jehoahaz.) The book ends with Cyrus’ proclamation regarding the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. The great aim of these two books is to encourage believers to build the Temple – for us it’s the Temple of His Spirit, the Church.
So here we are, at the end of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
I reckon the intent of God in Chronicles is seen very clearly here. There is only a brief rendition of the last handful of kings, those that led Israel deeper and deeper into evil.
Because we remember that this book (1 & 2) is being written _to_ the exiles returning.
We’re about to start in on Ezra and then Nehemiah, which details the accounts of the return and the rebuilding.
But here we have a triumphant end to Chronicles, despite it speaking of the exile.
Because God is SOVEREIGN!
This truth is writ large here, it’s just wonderful to see.
In v22 we read, “… the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia,” – We see God at work in the world powers. He brought the Chaldean army against Israel (v17) and He caused Cyrus to issue a command and proclamation for the return.
How good is it for us that in Jesus God has proclaimed His love, His grace and mercy, to us! For us to return to Him, to be as we ought, His people, with Him as our God.
This Passover was a spiritual high-point. Yet the complete dissolution of Israel happened within a few years. We must not rest on the laurels of the past. The Church is ever only one generation away from apostasy and decline. Our hope is in Jesus Christ – what He has started He will finish. He was raised from the dead – unlike Josiah!
“He appointed the priests to their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the LORD.” v2
This is what a king does!
He gives us jobs and encourages us in our service.
And the _true_ king Jesus, He does this!
Our good works, our jobs given to us in Jesus, were prepared _beforehand_ by God Himself (Ephesians 2 v10).
And too, we are all part of the royal priesthood (living stones, of the spiritual house, 1 Peter 2).
Through Jesus our king we have been appointed to the service of God.
Let’s be encouraged in this by Him. Jesus sent His Spirit to encourage us! In our service!
It’s good to read of Josiah, who was a king that in this patterned Jesus.
Whether we get paid for it or not, whether it’s a small or large work, whether people know about it or not – We are called by our King to service!
For his first six years, Josiah knew only his grandfather’s faith! He followed that faith, the faith of his fathers that God blessed. There were many other faiths or religions of his ancestors that God did not bless, but judged, because they brought many evils. The high point was the rediscovery of the Bible! Unfortunately for God’s people, Josiah did not live forever! (v.33) Hallelujah for the birth of Jesus Christ!
After the folly of king Manasseh we read of Josiah.
At sixteen he made his grandfather’s faith his own (v3) and began to bring reform back to Jerusalem and Judah.
Josiah cleansed the land, he broke down the altars, he destroyed the carved and metal images. He was an idol-breaker!
And on top of this, Josiah was king when God’s word was rediscovered (v14), and he humbled himself on reading it (v19-21).
Josiah was a wonderful king, but as Stuart Snr says, he died.
We have seen all the way through our OT readings that we need a king who doesn’t die, whose reign is unending. One who keeps God’s law and rules with justice and mercy in all truth.
We have that in Jesus!