2 Chronicles 10 – The Kingdom is Torn in Two – Old Covenant Failure
Chronicles has the character of a ‘cautionary tale’ for the people of God returning from Exile. It says, “look where we went wrong; look at the attitude and actions that please God and learn to be loyal to the Lord our God”
To appreciate this chapter it is good not only to have in mind what is contained in the preceding 9 chapters but also to look at 1 Kings 11 and 12.
Solomon’s reign was glorious but his heart was drawn away from the single-minded loyalty to Yahweh which marked the life of his father David.
Reading the Kings passages in association with this chapter give a good example of how Divine judgements and human actions fit together. God had decreed the separation of Israel and Judah. Rehoboam brought it about by his refusing the advice of experience in favour of the encouragements of youthful pride and hot-headedness.
The Chronicler’s account of the history of the People of God makes plain the reason that God instituted a New Covenant as he promised through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The New Covenant established by God in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus supplies that which was the weakness of the Old Covenant.
The Old Covenant, with its Law or Torah, was good and spiritual, but the people of Abraham were sinners and failed to observe the Law. Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, and many of the kings that would follow showed this same weakness. They were sinners. Paul makes this point in his Letter to the Romans showing that by the Law all are judged as sinners both Hebrew and Gentile.
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, with reference to the promises in Jeremiah (and those made in Ezekiel), speaks of a New Covenant, the marks of which are the forgiveness of sins and the Law of God written on the heart.
The essence of happiness, and the point of our creation, is that we, as human beings, should live in loving obedience to our Creator and enjoy the blessings of his love for us. These ends God promises to achieve through the New Covenant which he established in Jesus. This is what we celebrate regularly in the Lord’s Supper.
The People of God in the Old Covenant were called to be a light to the nations by their law, life, and worship. What we are reading in Chronicles is the record of their failure.
As the present people of God, the renewed Israel, the Church of Jesus Christ, is called to rejoice in the Father’s love in the giving of his Son and of a righteousness which is his gift as well, and to live a new life for God and by God through dependence on the Spirit of God.
We are called to be witnesses to the whole world to what God has done in Jesus.
A lesson that we can well learn from today’s reading is to look constantly to our loving Heavenly Father for the fulfilment of his New Covenant grace promised to us that we may live that sort of life which he wills for his children
Matthew 5:13-20 – The Kingdom Restored – New Covenant Living.
This passage is a good one to read along with 2 Chronicles 10.
Jesus is addressing his fellow Israelites. He is describing for them the life they were meant to live as the People of God. They had been called to be the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. 2 Chronicles 10 is an example of their failure to be these sorts of blessing to the nations.
All the Scriptures point to Jesus and find their point of completion in him. Jesus will say on more than one occasion that he has come to fulfil the Old Covenant; to live its life, to bring the purposes of God revealed there to their fulfilment, and to make the forgiveness of sins and the power of a new life available to all nations.
As we read this passage we need to pray that we will be, as a church, and as individuals, what Jesus has called us to be. We are people with a ‘mission’; a mission to participate in God’s great mission that will reach its climax in a new heaven and earth. God calls us to share in his mission by our actions, our words, and our prayers. The True Light that “lights every man” has come into the world, and like John of old. We are to bear witness to him.
Pray daily that you will be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the lives of all those whom you meet.
“O God, my Redeemer and Lord, cause me this day, by your Spirit, to carry the ‘salt’ of your love, and the ‘light’ of your truth, into the lives of those I meet this day. Amen”