Yesterday’s reading ended during the reign of Asa, who, the author claimed, did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. Especially after the Prophet Azariah encouraged him to “…Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded,” Asa put away the detestable idols…and he repaired the altar of the LORD in front of the Temple, and led all Judah, Benjamin, and remnants of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon to enter into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul…
However, after 36 years of apparent faithfulness, Asa seeks the help of the Arameans to thwart a challenge from the Israelite king, Baasha. Think about this: the king of Judah made an alliance with a former vassal to protect his kingdom from the king of Israel – and he bought this protection with silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the LORD. From one perspective, the gambit paid off; but the prophet Hanani sees otherwise, and tells Asa about it.
Asa is succeeded by Jehoshaphat, who also walked in the earlier ways of his father David, which produced security and prosperity for Judah. But in chapter 18, Jehoshaphat is enticed to ally with the king of Israel – Ahab – for a raid against Ramoth-Gilead in Syria. But Jehoshaphat wants to first seek the input of a prophet of the LORD, which is a positive development…and sets the story in a new direction.
All of the prophets brought before Ahab promise that he will succeed; Jehoshaphat is unconvinced, for reasons that are unclear. “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah, son of Imlah,” Ahab replies, “but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.” You’ll have to follow the banter closely, but remember that dialogue often reveals character. Ahab is fairly one-dimensional, but what do you make of Jehoshaphat? Of Micaiah? Of the other prophets? And of the Syrian response?
Our verse for this week is Matthew 25:40: And the king will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.”
2 Chronicles 16 through 18. Now let’s read it!
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’