Chronicles Series: God Rules When Kings Fail

Posted by on Apr 5, 2021 in Featured

It’s hard to believe, but a recent survey showed that over half of Americans believe we are in the middle of a “cold” civil war, a war in which guns aren’t fired, but hatred and animosity are intensifying. Could this war turn hot? Let’s pray it never does. However you look at it, we live in destabilizing times: a world-wide pandemic rages on, violence on our streets is not uncommon, the U.S. Capitol was occupied briefly, and people are afraid to share their opinions openly about matters of substance.

In the Bible, the nation of Israel fell into a “hot” civil war that lasted several centuries. The kingdom of David broke up after the death of his son Solomon. The kingdom was divided into two factions, and actual warfare broke out occasionally. Over time, the national collapsed, and Jerusalem was burned to the ground. Tragically, its leading citizens—people like Daniel—were hauled off to Babylon to serve and live in a foreign nation.

After about 70 years, a group of these exiles—people like Ezra and Nehemiah—were allowed to return to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding the nation. Around this time the Book of Chronicles was written—it’s a history, but more importantly, a guidebook for the returning exiles—it helps them navigate their way through the deeply disorienting times in which they lived. These exiles had never lived in Israel. Their parents and grandparents would have told them stories of the past, but now their history is retold from God’s perspective in the Book of Chronicles.

Chronicles speaks to these exiles, showing them their place in God’s story; it reminds them how they got into trouble in the first place; it shows them how to avoid the mistakes of the past; and it shows them what their future might hold. For Christians, the Book of Chronicles continues to speak to us today. For example, one repeated story-line in the book is how Kings act foolishly and allow pride to get the best of them, harming the nation in the process. Our reaction is to think that God has forgotten us and all is lost. But Chronicles reminds us that God reigns even when kings fail. In short, Chronicles is written to encourage us in destabilizing times.

Ultimately Chronicles points us to the coming of a perfect King, the Lord Jesus Christ, who brings us out of the exile of our sin and restores us to our proper place with God’s people. When we remember that we are part of this larger story, a story that God patiently tells throughout all the Bible, we will find in our hands a compass that orients us properly when we feel lost. What does God have in store for America? That is hard to say, but no matter what happens, God is writing the story, and we must trust his purposes. Chronicles is a part of the Bible that helps us find that trust.