2 Chronicles 18:1-15 – When the Hard Times Just Get You Down, God Is Still There!

Posted: October 14, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 28:1-15 (Part 2 of 2)

Ahaz Begins His Reign in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

Yesterday, I saw a post from a single mom who was part of the circle of acquaintances that we had when we went to church at LifeSong Church in Lyman about how she was tired of life being like it was for her right now and for quite some time now. She was tired of the weight of raising two boys on her own and everything being a struggle. Of course, the life path that she has been on for about 6 years now was forced upon her by the drug addiction of her ex-husband. The single mom thing was not something that she had asked for. I see her posts on Facebook because we are distant acquaintances but rarely reply to any of her posts. But there seemed a tiredness and desperation to her post yesterday that I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to give some encouragement.

In my post reply, I stated that sometimes all we have is the hope given to us by the Lord. And there are periods in life where we just have to trust Him and keep plowing the field in front of us. The trusting of the Lord when everything seems to be so far off and bad things keep happening is the hard part. But that’s when our faith is made real when the only thing we have is faith and hope of a better field to plow. I don’t know if that helped her in any way, but that is the truth. I know from my own life that some days, some weeks, some months and even some years it seems that there is just darkness and dreariness of the soul and the only thing is that you see this sliver of light, this sliver of hope, in the darkness that makes you put one foot in front of the other. It keeps you going when you are emotionally wiped out to the point that you feel tired all the time. It keeps you going because there is that sliver of hope that things will get better and that God has not forsaken you.

Faith is easy when times are good. It is when we are in the depths of bad times that seemingly are never going to end that our faith is tested. I know that when my second marriage ended, I fell into this dark valley in that first year where it was difficult to just get up and go to work each day. In the years that followed after that, there was still a sense of loneliness that was difficult to deal with at times. But all along I held on blindly to that sliver of hope that comes from the Lord. When you are going through tough times, it is hard to see what’s going on in God’s grand plan for you. However, when you do get beyond the dark valley and are able to look back and process those things, you can see God at work in it. For me, the long road to recovery from the second failed marriage was that I had to go through it which was kind of like addiction withdrawal. In addiction you make a drug your god. For me, in my addiction, I was addicted to approval from the woman in my life. I found my value from what that person thought of me. Thus, in the absence of that drug, I was lost and alone and adrift.

So, after my 2nd failed marriage, God allowed about 6 years of me being on my own to make realize that my approval should come from Him and not a person. I was of value alone to God. I was of value whether I was in a relationship or not. I needed to learn to trust in Him for my value. It was only then that I learned that relationships are nice but they do not define you. It was only when I learned that a woman in your life is a complement to your life and not the reason for your life that I actually came to find the best relationship I’ve ever had. Elena and I have been together for 13 years now and have been married almost 10 of those years. And there is a peace in our relationship that gives me comfort and security that I had never known before. So, the dark valleys probably last a lot longer than we want them to, because we want to be happy all the time. The dark valleys though serve a purpose for what God has next. The valleys strip away what’s unimportant and lead us to what is important – dependence on God.

It is that idea of trusting God even when the dark valley seems to be never ending is what I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 28:1-15. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done. 2 Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel. He cast metal images for the worship of Baal. 3 He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing his own sons in the fire.[a] In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.

5 Because of all this, the Lord his God allowed the king of Aram to defeat Ahaz and to exile large numbers of his people to Damascus. The armies of the king of Israel also defeated Ahaz and inflicted many casualties on his army. 6 In a single day Pekah son of Remaliah, Israel’s king, killed 120,000 of Judah’s troops, all of them experienced warriors, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 7 Then Zicri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah, the king’s son; Azrikam, the king’s palace commander; and Elkanah, the king’s second-in-command. 8 The armies of Israel captured 200,000 women and children from Judah and seized tremendous amounts of plunder, which they took back to Samaria.

9 But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there in Samaria when the army of Israel returned home. He went out to meet them and said, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah and let you defeat them. But you have gone too far, killing them without mercy, and all heaven is disturbed. 10 And now you are planning to make slaves of these people from Judah and Jerusalem. What about your own sins against the Lord your God? 11 Listen to me and return these prisoners you have taken, for they are your own relatives. Watch out, because now the Lord’s fierce anger has been turned against you!”

12 Then some of the leaders of Israel[b]—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—agreed with this and confronted the men returning from battle. 13 “You must not bring the prisoners here!” they declared. “We cannot afford to add to our sins and guilt. Our guilt is already great, and the Lord’s fierce anger is already turned against Israel.”

14 So the warriors released the prisoners and handed over the plunder in the sight of the leaders and all the people. 15 Then the four men just mentioned by name came forward and distributed clothes from the plunder to the prisoners who were naked. They provided clothing and sandals to wear, gave them enough food and drink, and dressed their wounds with olive oil. They put those who were weak on donkeys and took all the prisoners back to their own people in Jericho, the city of palms. Then they returned to Samaria.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that God preserved Judah in His providential care. I am certain that the captives of Judah being marched off to Samaria figured well this is it. We are in for long hard lives of slavery and abuse that will never end for us. However, God in His providential care for our lives keeps all the promises he makes. Judah was the tribe from which Jesus was to arise so He always ensured safety for that human lineage of the King of Kings. God keeps His promises even when it seems as though all is lost. He made a promise to the tribe of Judah and He kept it. The same is true for us. There are times we just got trust the promises that He has made to us – even when the dark times seem to be last far beyond what we perceive as our limits of tolerance of pain and sorrow. Job kept the faith in the promises of God when all was falling down around him. Sometimes, we just have to hang on to the belief that God has providential care and just ride the lifeboat in that hope.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that it is mighty tough going through hard times. Nobody likes it. If you did, you would just be like the weirdest person ever! LOL! It is a lifeboat adrift in stormy seas that nobody wants to be on. However, trouble does come to our lives. None of us are exempt from it. We live in a fallen world full of sin so there will be trouble in our lives. We cause a lot of our own troubles by decisions we made in our past, but sometimes, we get dumped on, plain and simple, by other people’s actions. Either way, trouble comes. Jesus never said if when he talked about trouble. He said when. We will have pain and suffering. It is not peculiar to you alone (though it feels like that when you are going through it). The common thing for believers is that God has plans for us, as Jeremiah 29:11 tells us. He has plans for us to prosper us and not to harm us.

Thus, God has promised those who love Him that he will carry us through the storm. He will sometimes remove the storm but most of the time He will see us through it. So, even when things are bleakest, hold on to that sliver of hope, that small light at the end of the tunnel that are God’s promises of better times to come. Embrace the moment and instead of seeing what’s wrong, see what God is trying to teach you through the hard times. Because when you get to that high, dry place in the light on the mountaintop, you will see the point – growing our dependence on Him. You will see that it all prepare you for the moutaintop that you are on. You will also appreciate the mountaintop so much more than before – when you realize that God had a purpose and a plan all along. As we learn this, that hope in the hard times becomes a bigger sliver of light for us in each succeeding hard time in our lives.

Amen and Amen.

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