2 Chronicles 23:1-11 – It’s A Little Thing In a Little Small Town, But It’s a Start!

Posted: September 26, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 23:1-11

Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

It all starts in a little town in a little part of South Carolina. We must begin here. And maybe you think that a little prayer vigil in a little town in a rural part of South Carolina makes no difference at all in the public forum of our country right now. Bu it’s a start. It’s blacks and whites of Lamar coming together to pray. We will be praying for our country today. It’s a little thing, but it’s a start.

Deciding to act is often the toughest thing. In this day and age where everything is political, and at every opportunity people try to make political statements. We find a world in which there is no longer a middle ground where we can meet in the middle and have honest and deep discussions about the course of events in our country. You are either with me or you are against me is the mantra of our day. There is no ability to see another person’s point of view. For example, the liberal left in our country cannot stand Donald Trump. Anything he does is lambasted as wrong or having sinister underlying motives. Even if Trump won the Nobel Peace Prize for finding a way to end all wars for all time, I am firmly convinced the left would find something wrong with it. But conservatives are no better, often, they see the liberals as flaming socialists who are hellbent on destroying the nation and ripping it from its capitalist roots that have driven the prosperity of this country for centuries – a level of prosperity unequaled by any other nation in the history of mankind.

One area in which we are dealing with these polarized viewpoints of life is in the area of race relations. Liberals, who most often control the media of our country and most often set the public trends in our country, see conservatives who may have differing opinions from the liberal narrative as to the source of the oppression of blacks in our country as racists and brand them as such when they offering differing opinions on the issue. Conservatives, on the polar opposite, see the fight for racial equality as already having been won. Liberals glorify athletes for taking a stand with the platform that they have. Conservatives see professional athletes taking a stand on race relations as hypocrites who have used the system as it stands to become wealthy men and as a result should simply be apolitical.

This issue of athletes taking a stand on race relations hit home to me recently when a distant friend of mine from the Upstate of South Carolina recently disavowed support of the Clemson Tigers football team. Now, mind you this is not normally a big deal for a person to quit being a fan of a team. However, in this case, it is really a big deal. I consider myself a big Clemson fan with a passion for the Tigers unequaled by many. However, I paled in comparison to this friend. Everything he owned was somehow tied to the Tigers. He even had a man cave that well beyond what I could or anyone could imagine as a Clemson man cave. However, when Trevor Lawrence, Clemson’s All-American quarterback who is expected to be taken #1 in the NFL draft next spring, along with others on the football team organized a protest march on campus over the summer and now that the coach has shown his support for his team expressing itself and now that the team wears stickers on their helmets supporting racial equality, he has disavowed the team that he loves. Everything Clemson has been removed from his house, his vehicles and his closets of clothing. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with Clemson anymore. It exemplifies the you are either for me or you are against me mentality of our nation right now.

I do not necessarily agree with the aims of the official organization, Black Lives Matter, but I do believe in that black lives matter. I do believe that as a conservative white male that my view of race relations is pampered in white advantage and that I must grow to see what life is life for black people in our country. I know my existence is not their existence and I have much to learn about what it is like to live as a black person. I do not agree that defunding the police is an answer but I do believe that so many police encounters ending in the death of black people is a sore on the skin of America that is an indication of far deeper social problems that must be solved. Many of these social problems lead to the situations where blacks end up disproportionately having encounters with the police. These social issues go far deeper than the cops. The encounters with the cops are the end game of social problems that we all want to ignore because they require gargantuan efforts by us all.

It just reminds me of why in our little town here in Lamar, SC that we are having a prayer vigil this morning to prayer for our nation. We as Christians must be the ones that pray for peace and unity. We must pray for ourselves as Christians to become more socially involved in the social problems of our country and not be afraid to be ridiculed to do it. We must pray for apolitical solutions to our country’s social problems. We must pray that we are active agents in our society instead of sitting on the sideline watching and commenting. We must pray that we our nation can meet in the middle of the road and shake hands and say that we have real problems to solve instead seeking to blame the other side for what’s wrong.

It is that idea of standing up for peace and unity and working together toward solutions I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 23:1-11. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

Chapter 23

1 In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri. 2 These men traveled secretly throughout Judah and summoned the Levites and clan leaders in all the towns to come to Jerusalem. 3 They all gathered at the Temple of God, where they made a solemn pact with Joash, the young king.

Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! The time has come for him to reign! The Lord has promised that a descendant of David will be our king. 4 This is what you must do. When you priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, a third of you will serve as gatekeepers. 5 Another third will go over to the royal palace, and the final third will be at the Foundation Gate. Everyone else should stay in the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 Remember, only the priests and Levites on duty may enter the Temple of the Lord, for they are set apart as holy. The rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7 You Levites, form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to enter the Temple. Stay with the king wherever he goes.”

8 So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended. 9 Then Jehoiada supplied the commanders with the spears and the large and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of God. 10 He stationed all the people around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar.

11 Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws.[a] They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that, after 7 years of rule by Athaliah, the priest, Jehoiada finally mustered the courage to take action against Athaliah. It would have been less risky for Jehoiada to simply go along to get along. To have the courage to confront kings when they strayed from God’s ways was supposed to be the role of every priest in every generation of the kings of the Israelites. Tragically, many priests simply went along with what the kings wanted just so as they would not be exposed to ridicule, prison, removal from office, or death. Very few priests were willing to point out the real issues to the kings. Often we as Christians find ourselves in those situations throughout history of having to choose as to whether we are going to point out the real issues of the day compared to the Bible. Do we keep silent just to get along or do we speak out based on biblical principles and risk being ridiculed, marginalized and canceled out?

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we must all admit that our nation is at a crossroads and maybe that we have all blinded ourselves to the real social issues of our day. We must open our eyes and work toward solutions instead of all of us on both sides playing a blame game and nothing changing. We must all meet in the middle and respect each other’s right to have our own opinions. We must as Christians get into the game. We must represent godly solutions. We begin with prayer. And it begins today in our small little town in a rural area of South Carolina. Let us pray for peace and unity and the ability to meet in the middle and come up with godly solutions to significant social issues. Help us to be bold as Christians to get into the debate instead of being political. Help us oh Lord to stand up and stand out and come up with solutions that will bring peace, unity, and progress to our Land.

Amen and Amen.

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