2 Chronicles 24:17-22 (Part 1) – God’s Grace: It’s There & It’s Up to Us to Grab Hold of It

Posted: October 6, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 24:17-22 (Part 1 of 2)

Jehoiada’s Reforms Reversed

Opening Illustration/Comments

Last week at our weekly Bible study, one of my dear friends and my Monday morning theological debater (as has become our custom since I have been at Lamar UMC) asked an intriguing question. There are places in the Bible where disciples are told to dust their feet off as they leave towns that have rejected the gospel message. That led him to ask the question, does God turn His back on those people who reject the gospel or reject God? He said it seems that when, multiple times, the disciples of Jesus who go to a town to preach the gospel and it is rejected or certain groups of people that the disciples are instructed to move on and basically forget about those folks.

Does God turn His back on us? Does God give up on us and dust his sandals off and forget about us? It was John Wesley who stated that God’s grace is all around us, always. He called it prevenient grace. It is all about the grace. God is searching for us. It is us that rejects Him. We turn our backs on Him not other way around. God is pursuing us all, all the time. He may not stop events from happening that are the aftereffects of our sins. He may use events and circumstances to get our attention. He may inspire trusted friends to “tell it like it is.” He may use even enemies of our to speak truth into our lives when it’s really needed and we are vulnerable enough for it to hit home. Just as God used the prophets to warn Israel of the coming disasters that would befall them if they followed their present courses of action and failed to return to God. Oh God does not turn His back on us. We turn our backs on Him. Even then, his grace surrounds us. It is up to us to recognize it and take hold of it.

His biggest pursuit action was the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live in the flesh. Through Jesus, he demonstrated to us our need for God and for Jesus to be our Savior. So God sent His only Son into the world so that the world might live through Him. God sent Jesus to be the full payment for the sins of all who believe in Him. That means that sinners can have their biggest problem completely erased by believing that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and trusting Him as savior. So in reality, God does NOT turn His back when “people most need Him.” God actually already took care of our greatest need. It is we who have turned our backs on Him. It is we who turn away from God and then, when we don’t like the consequences, we blame Him. We say He turned His back on us. However, it’s when the consequences of our pursuit of sin that lead us to the always negative consequences of sin. Sin ALWAYS has negative consequences. ALWAYS. And we act all shocked when we realize that this is the case. God constantly warns us that this is the case. He is not trying to keep us from something. He is trying to protect us from that which, in His eternal wisdom, He knows will hurt us or destroy us. God is always there pursuing and surrounding us with His grace. It is us who puts the blinders of sin on. But God never gives up on us. We may give up on Him and may reject Him all the way to the grave. But up until that point of death/passing into eternity, God pursues. And there is grace there in the form of what Jesus did on the cross. And it does not matter if we rejected Him for 74 years and 364 days, and accepted Christ on our 75th birthday, and then immediately died, we are His. The grace is there. It’s up to us to recognize it!

It is that idea of God constantly pursuing us that I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 24:17-22. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.

20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now he has abandoned you!”

21 Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple. 22 That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!”

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that, when King Joash and the nation of Judah abandoned God, the Lord sent Zechariah to call them to repentance. Before dispensing judgment and punishment, God gave them chances to return to Him. In the same way, God does not abandon us or lash out in revenge when we sin. Instead, he aggressively pursues us through His Word, His Spirit in us, the timely God-inspired words of others, and, yes, sometimes through discipline (allowing our sins’ consequences to play themselves out in our lives). God gains no pleasure from or has no desire for our destruction, but He allows events to unfold negatively in the natural course of what sin does to our lives so as to urge us to return to Him. God will always pursue us so stop and listen. Allow your ears to be open to hear what God is warning you of through all the different ways that God speaks to us.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that God’s grace is there all around everyone and He has no time limit on it – except when death occurs, then it’s too late. Up until then, no matter what we have done, God’s got a grace for that. God relentlessly pursues us even when we are actively rejecting Him. God took care of what we need to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. We can spend our entire lifetimes rejecting Him but His is pursuing even then. His grace is still there in Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. All you have to do is recognize it. No one is too far gone to accept Jesus into their heart when on their knees in all humility before God. Thus, we as Christ followers should never right anybody off. We may have to distance ourselves because of their sinful practices that they are glorying in, but that does not stop us from loving them, praying for them, trying to reach them in loving ways with the gospel message, and welcoming them into our fellowship so that they can hear the Word of God. No one is too far gone from the reach of God’s grace. He will be in pursuit and so should we. Let us be the ones people turn to when their quit turning their back on God. Let us be the ones they turn to when they are ready to accept God’s abundant grace.

Amen and Amen.

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