Bible Readings for December 27th
What the Chronicler emphasizes in 2 Chronicles about Hezekiah is strikingly different than what we read about this godly king in 2 Kings. In 2 Kings (as well as Isaiah 36–39), the focus is on the military and political aspects of Hezekiah’s reign—specifically, the stories of Sennacherib’s Assyrian invasion of Judah and Hezekiah’s failure with the Babylonian envoys. The shape of the narrative for Hezekiah’s life in 2 Chronicles, however, focuses more on the overarching theme in the books of Chronicles, which is this: As the nation’s worship goes, so also goes the nation. In other words, Hezekiah’s battles and political decisions—along with their respective victories or defeats—come as a direct result of the health of the nation’s worship, so that the Chronicler does not find these battles nearly as important in and of themselves.
It isn’t that the Chronicler sees Hezekiah’s political and military intrigue as unimportant—we do find a fair amount of detail about these stories here in 2 Chronicles 32. But, 2 Kings devotes three chapters to those stories, and Isaiah contains four, whereas we find all of those stories summarized in this single chapter of 2 Chronicles. Instead, the Chronicler spends most of his time exploring the worship and religious reforms of Hezekiah, so that the ratios are reversed—what 2 Chronicles explores over three chapters, 2 Kings summarizes in three verses (2 Kgs. 18:3–5). Remember that the Chronicler’s account of the warrior-king David—the king who could not build the temple because of his bloodshed (1 Chron. 28:3)—included only a smattering of stories of David’s battles but twelve chapters of David’s reforms in Israel’s worship (1 Chron. 13, 15–17, 21–26, 28–29).
The significance of this theology corrects a misunderstanding we fall into far too easily. We sometimes slide into implicitly believing our corporate worship on the Lord’s Day is the one of least important things we do in the week. We look at the many battlefronts of our lives—daily decisions in our families, our neighborhoods, and our work—and think that those are the chief battlegrounds for God’s kingdom. Instead, God directs us to pay attention to our worship. Are we loving him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength? Are we exalting Jesus Christ together, pleading with our Father in heaven who has promised to hear our prayers and asking for the Holy Spirit to transform our own hearts, as well as the hearts of those around us? We were created chiefly for worship, so if we neglect that vital relationship to God, nothing else in our lives will fit together.
Hezekiah saw great success as a king because he put God first so that he could respond to everything else—good or bad—from the core of worship. What role does worship play in your life?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.