Posted by: arieliondotcom | July 7, 2013

Multiplied Misery (2 Chronicles 27-28)

Multiplied Misery (2 Chronicles 27 – 28) In today’s Scripture we are told the answer to a difficult question. That question i:/ what are Believers to do about all those who are being punished by God?

The answer is difficult because we don’t like to think of God punishing anyone in the first place. Some have even preached that doctrine that there is no hell where the Bible clearly says there is. All to ignore this difficulty. It is difficult because we cannot know whether others are being punished by God or we just wish they were. And whether that wishing is sin in itself.

The answer to what to do in situations of those who are being punished by God is also difficult because it will always be “it depends.”

Jotham becomes king of Judah after the death of his father King Uzziah. He had unofficially been running Judah when his father became a leper as a punishment for pride Now that his father was dead Jotham became the official king.

Just as Uzziah had done well in his service to God, Jotham was the same way. He did no better and no worse. But his son Ahaz outdid both his father and grandfather in evil. Instead of following the God of Judah Ahaz followed the idols of the rebellious 10 tribes of Israel. In fact the Scripture emphasizes that he made idols out of metal as if to say he made the idols more durable and improved on how to go to hell for more generations.

As a result God brought punishment on him with war from Syria and from the tribes of Israel whom he tried to imitate. All of these enemies robbed Judah and took its people as slaves. The tribes of Israel are taking their fellow Israelites from Judah into captivity in Samaria. But a prophet from God stops them.
The prophet tells the Israelites to let the people of Judah go. He tells the Israelites that although God is punishing Judah they are not to increase Judah’s misery. They are just as sinful as Judah is. They have sins of their own that God is punishing them for. So they clothe the people of Judah, the tribe they had once entered the Promised Land with. They feed them and treat them well and send them home instead of enslaving them.

God had more punishment and more captivity for the tribe of Judah. But it was not at the hands of their fellow children of Israel.

So, again, what do we do with those who are being punished by God? There are portions of Scripture where God gets upset when people bless the people he intends to punish. God wanted all of the people in the land he was giving to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be wiped out from the land because of their idolatry. Instead, the children of Israel let these people live and fell into the sin of idolatry. That got God upset. And although Israel made the members of those foreign people servants, they still suffered and suffer today for not obeying GOD because the land was never completely claimed.

But overwhelmingly God wants us to bless instead of curse. Everywhere else in the Bible, God says to treat those who are suffering well no matter why they are suffering. And as this portion of Scripture shows especially if they are family members or spiritual family members.

There is irony that the sinful tribes of Israel were used to punish the sinful tribe of Judah. We will see in the coming chapters that sinful foreign kings were used in the same way to punish the entire 12 tribes of Israel. And yet when they forgot there were only being used by God they, too, were punished.

God sometimes, and I emphasize sometimes, uses bad situations to bring people to Himself. Paul many years later will say to put a sinful member of the church out of fellowship for a season so that he could be disciplined by having the result of his sin take effect. But when Paul hears the church has totally turned her back on this person he telsl them to take the hurting person back in before he is destroyed.

The captivities of Israel and Judah were sorts of Spiritual “time outs” from GOD. As in the instance with Paul, GOD sometimes allows people to suffer to bring them to their senses and to Him. Tough Love is a Biblical concept. But it is to be used in mercy. We must always remember it is tough love not tough judgment. The intent is to be a wake-up call not abandonment.

In our portion today the tribes of Israell help make the tribes of Judah in the same condition they were when they found them. Like a baseball hit over a neighbors’ fence the neighbor could either keep it as a dog toy or return it and put the baseball back into play. Israel did as GOD commanded and put the ball of Judah back into play as it were.

We are all of us in need of a new heart from GOD. That can only come from faith in Jesus Christ. Even that faith is a gift of God. But sometimes that gift comes as a discipline that drives us to Him in tears. When those who already know Christ find someone who is suffering either as a fellow member of the body of Christ or someone he is disciplining to Himself our response is to be love.
That love is GOD’s love. Not permissive (there are boundaries). Not accepting of sinful behavior. But loving them as Jesus loves because it is Jesus who loves them through us.

And when, God willing, their time of trouble brings those being disciplined closer to JESUS, may they have cause to say they came to Him because they saw Him in us.

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