There is a hopeful logic to the attention paid to the priestly order in today’s opening chapter. Accounts of Levi’s descendants being arranged and commissioned signal that Judah’s king had both a heart and the time for such work. After all, not only did David and Solomon possess hearts that were faithful to the LORD, but they also had a significant era of peace within which to build the religious infrastructure. And indeed, the first decade of Hezekiah’s reign was infinitely more peaceful than any moment during his father’s tenure.
That peace is threatened, though, when Sennacherib – the son of Ahaz’s nemesis – drives the Assyrian army into Judah, with his sights set on her capital. After acknowledging Hezekiah’s acts of faithfulness, as well as his strategic efforts to protect Jerusalem, the author recounts the psychological warfare waged by Assyria’s king: “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.” And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands.
Hezekiah’s response to this – with an assist from the prophet Isaiah – follows the pattern of faithfulness we’ve observed. However, the second half of our reading today inverts this ascendant hope: Hezekiah’s pride wins his heart; his son, Manasseh, was even worse than his grandfather, leading Judah to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel, and his successor, Amon, barely deserves mention. Our reading ends today over 350 years since David was first installed as king, and with a sense that the end may be drawing nigh.
Our verse for this week is Revelation 22:5: And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
2 Chronicles 31 through 33. Now let’s read it!
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.