The Chronicles were written to Israel in exile, no longer a nation possessing a land. They look back, recounting God’s hand in their history, a reminder that they are the people of God. Solomon’s reign was the kingdom of God’s favor, the apex of their nation. In the words of a foreigner, the Queen of Sheba, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness” (2Chronicles 9:8). This is the glory to which Israel hopes to return.
The Chronicles remind Israel of their glory, and warn Israel of their fall. Solomon’s son Rehoboam inherited Solomon’s throne and his wealth, but not his wisdom. “When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him” (2Chronicles 12:1).
I grew up in Sacramento. Sacramento summers cook; north of a hundred degrees is normal. The American River, the cool run-off from the Sierra snow, was a popular solution. The flow of the river is mostly calm and mostly shallow, wonderful for rafting, and surprisingly dangerous for drowning. Life jackets are recommended. The victims are overwhelmingly young and male. “We are old enough, we are strong enough, and we can swim,” say the young men. “Life jackets? We don’t need life jackets.” Of the 231 victims between 1962 and 2001, only one was wearing a life jacket. The danger of the river is not the current, but the misplaced confidence of young men who believe they are strong enough.
The nation had forgotten the words of Moses, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything (2Chronicles 12:5, 9).
The Chronicles remind Israel if there is to be future glory, they must remember their strength is in their God, “Take to heart… all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).
My faithful Father, You are the Rock, the foundation on which a life will stand firm. What You say, You do. Your Word is true, right, and good. It shall be my guide in life, my constant companion.
Protect me, God, from myself. From becoming full of myself. May I always remember that the world is not friendly toward me because it is not friendly toward You. May my love for Your Word continue to grow.