Today’s readings.. (2 Chronicles 30), (Daniel 10), (Acts 10)

In 2 Chron. Ch. 30 we have a wonderful testimony to the way God shows grace, describing the events which led to this.  Hezekiah had come to the throne in Jerusalem; his father Ahaz had been a wicked king.  Hezekiah first restores the Temple to make it fit for worship and re-organises and re-consecrates the priests as we read in ch. 29 yesterday.  A proclamation is made throughout the nation, this is also sent to the largely ungodly northern tribes, inviting them to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover again.
The king’s message is, “O people of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you … Do not be like your fathers, and your brothers, who were faithless to the LORD …. So that he made them a desolation … Do not be now stiff-necked …” [v.6-8]   His message continues, “… if you return to the LORD your brothers and your children will find compassion … For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful…” [v.9]   We read that “couriers went from city to city … but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them … however, some … humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.” [v.11]
This was particularly the reaction of the godless northern tribes, but “the hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.” [v.12] Very soon after this the northern tribes of the kingdom were taken away to captivity by the Assyrians: actually just 6 years after Hezekiah came on the throne (see 2 Kings 17 v.6 cf 18 v.1)  Sadly about 140 years later the nation of Judah also became so godless that it suffered the same fate, this was at the hands of the Babylonians.
We can see comparisons with today!  It has become common place to scorn and even mock at the message of God in the Bible. Let us make sure we are among the few that so think and live to whom “God is gracious and merciful” because they trust his word as the only source of hope in a world that is increasingly experiencing his “fierce anger”  [v.8].  It may be that exceptional fierce and destructive events such as in the weather – worse than anything previously experienced –  illustrate this. Do we not see “fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!” [Psalm 148 v.8]?  In this situation may the LORD be “gracious and merciful” to all who turn and humble themselves and seek to serve him in truth and righteousness – knowing that “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” [1John 3 v.10]

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