2 Chronicles 21-22, 2 Timothy 1

God’s Grand, Unstoppable Plan.

2 Chronicles 21-22, 2 Timothy 1

Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever. 2 Chronicles 21:7 ESV

Jehoshaphat died and left the throne to his son, Jehoram. But while Jehoshaphat had been a good king who tried walk in faithful obedience to His God, Jehoram would prove to have inherited little of his father’s religious fervor or love for the things of God. And in a way, Jehoshaphat was to blame for this outcome. We’re told that Jehoshapat “walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4 ESV). Back that doesn’t mean that Jehoshaphat always made the right decision. In chapter 18, we get some insight into a particular decision that would have long-term ramifications. It simply says, “Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab” (2 Chronicles 18:1 ESV). Sounds innocent enough, until you pick up the story in chapter 21. There we read that Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son, “walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done” (2 Chronicles 21:6 ESV). Why? What influenced this young man to go down that path when his father had been so faithful to God? The text tells us. “For the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 21:6 ESV). That marriage alliance had been between Jehoram and King Ahab’s daughter, and the evil influence of her family would be devastating. So much so, that when Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah would take his place on the throne of Judah. But Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, was none other than the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. So when Ahaziah ends up being eliminated by God for his apostasy, Athaliah kills off all the legal heirs to the throne and crowns herself queen. {Now when Athaliah the mother of Azariah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah” (2 Chronicles 22:10 ESV). What should strike you in reading this account is that in doing this, Athaliah had wiped out any possible heir to the throne of David who might make possible God’s promise to place an descendant of David on the throne whose kingdom would last forever.

What does this passage reveal about God?

But God was at work behind the scenes. “But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom” (2 Chronicles 22:11 ESV). God would use this young girl to spare the life of the only heir to the throne of David. She was the wife of Jehoiada the priest and she and her husband would hide Joash in the house of God for six years while Athaliah reigned in Judah. At this point in the story, there is no Davidic king sitting on the throne of Judah. But all is not lost. God is not done. While things look bleak, God is in complete control of the situation. It is important to remember that the chronicler is writing to Jews who have returned to Judah from their captivity in Babylon, and they also found themselves without a Davidic king on the throne. In fact, they had not king at all. They had to place their faith and hope in the promise of God that one day a descendant of David would once again rule from the city of David. In spite of all the sin and spiritual sickness infecting the people of Israel, God was not done yet. Even during the days of Jehoram, when he allowed himself to be influenced by his wife and ended up doing what was evil in God’s sight, we are told,  “Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever” (2 Chronicles 21:7 ESV). God had made a promise and He was going to keep His promise. Paul would later write to Timothy, reminding him, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV). In the books of Numbers we are told, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19 ESV). God is a covenant-keeping God who cannot and will not break His promises.

What does this passage reveal about man?

Man cannot thwart the plans and promises of God. While Athaliah thought she was in complete control of the situation, she was painfully unaware of what God was doing behind the scenes. When her son, Ahaziah had been king and had made an alliance with Jehoram, the king of Israel, little did he know that his decision would prove deadly. When God brought judgment against the Jehoram and his house, Ahaziah just happened to be paying a visit. He would end up being executed along with Jehoram. The chronicler makes it clear that this was God’s doing. “But it was ordained by God that the downfall of Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit Joram” (2 Chronicles 22:7 ESV). Over and over again we see men trying to derail the plans of God. They attempt to make their own plans and determine their own fate, but they, like so many others, failed to understand that God is sovereign over all. Solomon wrote, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV).

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

The apostle Paul knew full well that his life was completely in the control of God. While Paul had planned his life and was pursuing a career path that included the persecution of those who called themselves Christians, God had another plan. He had ordained that Paul would be his spokesman, taking the good news regarding Jesus Christ to the Gentile world. God Himself said of Paul, “he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15 ESV). And Paul would later remind Timothy, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV). While Paul was writing this letter having just been released from house arrest in Rome, he knew that his life was in the hands of God, and that God was working out a plan that was eternal in nature – from “before the ages began.” Paul had no problem accepting his imprisonment, because he knew that God was in control. He also knew that God was faithful and He was keeping the promise He had made to David. Jesus Christ was the one for whom the Jews had long waited. He was the Messiah, the King of Israel. And Paul knew that God’s plan was still not yet complete. “…for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12 ESV). “His confidence lay in the person of God. He believed that God is faithful. God would protect something that Paul had placed with God for His protection and preserve that until the day he would see Christ face to face at the Rapture or death” (Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes On Timothy, 2007 Edition).

Father, You are faithful and true. You are powerful and fully capable of accomplishing all You have promised. Help me rest in Your unwavering commitment to keep Your Word. You are not done yet. You have promises yet to fulfill. There are aspects of Your plan that have yet to happen. But they will. Because You promised and You never break Your Word. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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