The End of the Second Pass.
He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword…
2 Chronicles 36:20a (NIV)
Let’s do a quick recap on 2 Chronicles to see where we are at:
King Asa did good in the eyes of the Lord, until he sinned by sending God’s money away, and he died from a disease of his feet.
King Jehoshaphat did good in the eyes of the Lord, and he died with honor.
King Jehoram did evil by murdering his own people, and he died from a disease of the bowels.
King Ahaziah did evil by following his wayward mother and died by execution by his enemies.
King Joash did evil by killing a priest’s son and died in retribution.
King Amaziah did good, but not wholeheartedly, and was killed by conspirers.
King Uzziah did good, but became prideful, and died with leprosy.
Then Jothanm (good) and Ahaz (evil) and Hezekiah (good) and Manasseh (evil). Then Amon (evil) and Josiah (good). And then Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin (evil, worse, the worst). And finally, the end, at Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar swoops in, and God’s remaining people are exiled to Babylon, awaiting… something, some change, an invitation to return to their land.
This is quite the varied group, running the gamut from the horrifically evil to the completely righteous, but God remains a part of each of their reigns. And then, He exiles them. And then, he brings them back.
I assume this is because God refuses to allow the sins of mankind to derail His plan.
Or maybe it is because He remains loyal to us, in spite of our sins.
I don’t know.
But whatever the reason, He let’s them go home. Like prodigal children, they return to their land, when they do not deserve it.
There has been a small shift in the way I am approaching my reading. My attitude reading recently, particularly throughout the Law, was overwhelming negative, but do not think that it came that way without reason. In those moments, I lost the logical thread to the Bible, or to put it more pointedly, I lost all relatable connection to it. My reaction was anger – why would I ever believe in a God who ordains so-and-so and demands everything? No way.
So I decided to change my approach. Anger is not necessarily out of the question as an emotional response to any individual circumstance, but it should not be my immediate and first reaction. Like any good theatergoer knows, you must suspend your disbelief before entering a play or musical, or else you risk getting bogged down in the whole logic of it. Real people don’t act this way! Well duh, because real people do not have hundreds of people observing their actions.
That type of judgment cannot lead to growth, and frankly, it is no fun.
So I am buying in. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah screwed up, and God kept on saving them. So, they were exiled – and rightfully so – and God eventually let them go home – out of His eternal goodness. There. No arguments. Let’s see where that attitude gets me.