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2 CHRONICLES 21:1-23:21 | ROMANS 11:13-36 | PSALM 22:1-18 | PROVERBS 20:7
If Jehoshaphat was a good king of Judah, his firstborn son, Jehoram was a terrible king. So bad was this direct descendant of David that Elijah, the prophet, writes a letter of warning to Jehoram.
The letter doesn’t mince words: “This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. 14 So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’”
Sure enough, as Elijah has predicted, Jehoram meets his end within eight years, and he is not mourned even by his own family. Next, Ahaziah is made king, and he is even worse than his father, Jehoram. His mother, Athaliah goes on a killing-spree when she learns that her son Ahaziah has been killed. The entire house of Judah is almost wiped out, but the young boy Joash, the youngest of the sons of Ahaziah is smuggled to safety, and after six years of mayhem, under the leadership of Jehoiada, the priest, Athaliah is put to death, and Joash is installed as the new king of Judah.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Romans, we find that Paul is speaking this time directly to his non-Jewish brethren in exhorting them to be humble in their newly found mercies of being “grafted” in thanks to a new covenant, i.e., the good news of Jesus Christ being the reason for our deliverance that is now freely available to one and all.
Paul says, 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.
Paul ends this chapter with a type of blessing, also known as a doxology. For the believer, these are words of comfort, not confusion.
There is a strange calm that fills one’s mind, and an assurance that floods one’s soul in the reading and acceptance of these words: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find one that although penned by David during his hour of distress, could very well have been a kind of foretelling of what Jesus himself would experience in the hours of his crucifixion.
It may very well be that even many of us might be in the same frame of mind that David was when he wrote these lines: 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. And then again, he pleads: 11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which is more idyllic than anything else: 7 The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.