“God nurses a hatred for sin in His heart beyond our wildest comprehension. Yet, He stands alongside the murderer as he does his dreadful deed and does nothing. He listens to the vilest obscenity and does nothing. He hears the most appalling blasphemies and holds His peace. He sees little children being corrupted, body and soul, by men of the vilest character and does nothing…There must be a reason of extraordinary force and significance that stays His hand.”
This is the observation of Bible commentator, John Phillips. Do you sense a similar angst as you read 2 Chronicles 21? King Jehoram mercilessly slaughters his brothers working “that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 21:6). The only thing holding back the hand of God was his promise to David over one hundred years earlier. This king forsook the Lord God of his fathers and led, even forced, the people of Judah to participate in his debauchery.
We have and will ask questions like: Where’s God in this crisis? Why isn’t God doing anything? Why does He let these people suffer? Why do these atrocities occur unimpeded?
The Bible does not give us much of the emotional status of the country during King Jehoram’s reign, but we do know three things: First, it appears the only qualification for Jehoram’s kingship is “he was the firstborn.” While others are simply named the king, this disclaimer attached to his inauguration indicates he was an inferior choice especially since he is told his brethren “were better than” himself. Second, we do have one recorded dissident, Elijah. He writes a fuming opinion piece to the king indicting the king for his idolatry and prophesying his death. Third, when King Jehoram does die (as prophesied), the official record indicates he “departed without being desired.”
As the opening quote proposed, “There must be a reason of extraordinary force and significance that stays His hand.” The writer of these Chronicles wanted God’s people to recognize even through the worst of times, God is still the King! He is absolutely in control. Phillips continues his explanation: “And so He waits and waits. That ought not surprise us. If He held His hand at Calvary, it is no wonder He has continued to hold it…The great example of God’s sublime patience is Calvary. There men murdered their Maker and, not content with calling for His death, took pleasure in torturing Him to death on a cross and in mocking Him as He died. Only a word from Christ, and twelve legions of angels would have poured over the battlements of heaven and ushered in Armageddon then and there. That word never came.”
Whatever hurt we may endure, whatever inconvenience we may suffer, none of it compares to the undeserved violation Jesus endured on the cross. Even still, God was on the throne.
November 21, 2018
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