2 Chronicles 27:1-9 – Changing the Culture Can Feel Like Changing a Hurricane!

Posted: October 12, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 27:1-9

Jotham Rules in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

If you are not a big college football fan, you may not know the legacy of University of Miami Hurricanes football. Although they were a pretty darn good football program in the 1950’s that played in bowl games often, they kind of fell off the map in college football during the 60’s and 70’s. However, beginning in the late 70’s the program began turning around from a program mired in mediocrity to a bowl contending program under Coach Howard Schnellenberger. After he left, Jimmy Johnson was hired and forever changed the program. His legacy continued on through several coaches who came into the program after Johnson left to coach in the NFL.

From the early 80’s through 2003, the program was always in the national championship hunt, always a top 10 team. One of the things about the program during this era was that Miami had developed a reputation as the bad boys of college football. They had swag. They had bravado. They were a in-yo-face kind of football team. And it became part of the Miami Hurricane football program persona. They were such an intimidating group that they won ball games before they walked on the field. They intimidated other teams with their in-your-face style and their trash talk. The thing was…was that they could always, always back up their bravado, bad boy image, and trash talk on the field. It was just the persona of the program.

However, along the way, with every successive coaching change and with several NCAA rules violation investigations, what had once been the unbeatable bad boys of college football the wheels began to come off the program. Since 2003, Miami has not contended or even come close to winning a national championship. The program has been mired in mediocrity since that time. However, the bravado, the bad boy, bling-bling, trash talking of the program never left. It is in the culture of the program and deeply ingrained.

Never more evident was this than on this past Saturday night. Miami is trying its best to return to the conversation of the elite programs of college football but they are just nowhere near it yet. However, like I said, the bravado and the trash talk always evident in the program since the Jimmy Johnson era was on full display on Saturday night. As you may know, unless you have been living under a rock, for the last decade or more, the dominant football programs have been two teams – Clemson and Alabama. You can throw in Ohio State and Oklahoma if you like. Nowhere in those conversations is Miami. However, this past Saturday night, when Clemson and Miami tangled, the bad boy persona is still in the Miami program.

They were thoroughly manhandled by the Clemson Tigers from the opening kickoff until the last play of the game. Clemson was about to score again when time ran out. They were on the Miami 1 yard line when the final play was done. Clemson won the game 42-17 and it could have been an even worse score than that. However, even when they were down 42-17, they were still trash talking and still getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The difference between now and the old days is that in the old days, Miami could back up that trash talk with precision football. However, now, it just wears thin when you are losing a game by 25 points (and like I said, Clemson could have beat them much worse had they not made some offensive mistakes during the game). But that’s the turnover chain, bling bling, trash talking, look at me culture that has developed in Miami and it will be tough to change it.

It is that idea of the difficulty that there is in changing a culture of an organization much less a nation that I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 27:1-9. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

Chapter 27

1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.

2 Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done, except that Jotham did not sin by entering the Temple of the Lord. But the people continued in their corrupt ways.

3 Jotham rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord. He also did extensive rebuilding on the wall at the hill of Ophel. 4 He built towns in the hill country of Judah and constructed fortresses and towers in the wooded areas. 5 Jotham went to war against the Ammonites and conquered them. Over the next three years he received from them an annual tribute of 7,500 pounds[a] of silver, 50,000 bushels of wheat, and 50,000 bushels of barley.[b]

6 King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord his God.

7 The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, including all his wars and other activities, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. 9 When Jotham died, he was buried in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that, although Jotham was generally a good king (see 2 Chronicles 27:6), his people remained as corrupt as they had been during the reign of his father, Uzziah. It is often hard to change the culture of an organization. Just imagine how hard it would be to change the culture of a nation. The habits of idolatry had become pretty well ingrained in the culture by the time that Uzziah and Jotham ruled over the nation of Judah. Just because there are not immediate results of your attempts to influence and change the culture should not deter you from living your life for the Lord.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that cultures of organizations have habits, values, and behavior patterns that become ingrained in those organizations, including not only college football programs but also in churches. Like football programs that have been around for a very long time, there are churches that have been around here in the USA anywhere from 125 to 250 to 300 or more years. Those churches are like the football programs in that they have a cultural identity. To expect to be able to change the course of a church or a football program overnight is impossible. To change the culture, it may take generations. If you are trying to redirect a church back to being an evangelistic and outreach minded church, it can take a long time if the church has been accustomed to thinking inwardly. Does that mean, a church member or a preacher stops doing what God calls them to do, no. What a single outreach minded church member or a pastor can do is plow the hard ground and set the example regardless if there are any immediate result. To resign yourself that it is useless perpetuates the culture that is in place.

It is the same with us as individual Christians living out in the world in a culture that is increasingly hostile to biblical life principles. Do we give up on trying to change the culture and just join in with the culture? No. We do not stand quietly as the country turns from God. If we are silent, then, those that hold anti-biblical principles are the only ones doing the talking. Just as in a football program where bravado is more important that taking care of the details of a game that lead to victory, there must be a voice that screams that we are not going to do it this way anymore. We must as Christians on the ground in the world live in a way that influences the culture toward God. That includes speaking out, in loving ways that make biblical sense and are grounded in Scripture, about what needs to change in our culture. We must be that one voice that is willing. If one voice is willing, then, maybe there’s another voice and another voice and another voice until the culture is changed. But in plowing the tough ground, we must keep plowing even if there are no immediate visible results. God sees you being faithful to him. God sees that you are trying to live a life to give Him glory regardless of the earthly result Let us not give up. Let us keep plowing. Let us not worry about whether we are making a visible difference. Let us worry about whether we are giving God glory by what we are doing. If our Father in heaven says, well done good and faithful servant that is the accolades we should be looking for, not earthly accolades anyway. Thus, while we are here, let’s keep plowing the field. Let’s keep doing God’s work.

Amen and Amen.

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