Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

A Secure Country (2 Chronicles 11)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's turn to second chronicles, Chapter Eleven, and here the second of three episodes given to us about king rayabalm. So, Second Chronicles Chapter Eleven, let's give our attention to God's word. When rayebalm came to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin. A hundred and eighty thousand chosen warriors to fight against Israel, to restore the Kingdom of Rayebalm. But the word of the Lord came to Shemah, Shemiam, the man of God, say to Reyebalm, the son of Solomon, King of Judah, and to Israel in Judah and Benjamin. Thus says the Lord, you shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me. So they listen to the word of the Lord and returned and did not go up against Jerobalm rayebalm lived in Jerusalem and he built cities for defense in Judah. He built Bethlem, Bethlehem, eatum, Tacoa, Beth Tsursoko, Oudulam, gaff Morsha, zippa or Zif Odryam, Lakish Ozka, Zora Ajalon, and Hebron fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin, he made the fortress strong and put commanders in them and stores of food, oil and wine, and he put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin, and the priests of the Levites, who were in all Israel, presented themselves to him from all places where they lived. For the Levites left their common lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jerobalm and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the Lord and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made. And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord, God of Israel, came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the Kingdom of Judah and for three years they made Yubalm, the son of Solomon, secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon. Rayabalm took as his wife Mahalaf, the daughter of Jeremath, the son of David and of Abihail, the daughter of Eliab, the son of Jesse, and she or him sons Jush Shamaiah and Zaham. After he took Maka, the daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, a tie, Zizza and Shell O. Myth Rayabalm loved maca, the daughter of Absalem, from above all his wives and concubines. He took eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty eight sons and sixty daughters, and rayabalm appointed Abijah King. Sorry, the rayabalm appointed Abijah, the son of Mah Cod, as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king, and he dealt wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities, and he gave them abundant provisions and procured wives for them. This ends the reading of God's word. May he bless it to us. Last time, when we considered King Rayabalm, newly...

...minted King Rayobalm, we saw what a fool he was. Crazy fool, a stupid fool, a fool who made some decisions which had very, very terrible consequences. You remember what happened newly meant. It is king. He goes to the older advisors, probably as a formality, previous men who had reigned with Solomon, and he says to them, what should I do with these people? They're asking me, the people of Israel are asking me, to lighten their load, to reduce their labor, and the older men say, go for it, it's a good idea. If you do it, you'll have their loyalty forever. He disregards their advice and then he goes to younger men, men his own age, men he'd probably already determined he was going to listen to, and he says, what do you say I do? And they say, well, tell them that your little think del or little finger, is thicker than your father's thigh and that you're going to come down on them harder than they had ever had before. My father disciplined you with whips, I will discipline you with Scorpions. That's right. This is the ray of the advice ray of Balem takes and as a result, the people, rebel Israel under Jarre Boehm, says, we're out of here, we're not going to listen to you. We're not going to beay you. Go each to his own country, to his own city. We're done with you. Judah, the southern portion of what if we've been calling in chronicles, all Israel is now divide. Did Judah and Benjamin in the south Israel, in the north? Raya Balm ruling over the South Israel, and Jeremont Jarabalm a ruling over Israel in the north. Raya Balm's on the run. They kill one of his chief men, assassinate him and he is struggling to survive. This was chapter ten. In that chapter we see it various ways in which Raya Balm exercised a great foolishness and suffered the consequences for it. But we also see in that chapter, and in this one as well, that these things were not just accidents outside the control of God, but they were coming about because of God's will. They were coming out, they were happening because of God's sovereignty over the earth and everything that is in it. That's a point that's emphasized again here at the very beginning of this chapter. Raya Balm, you read the first three roads. When Ya Balm came to Jerusalem, he assembled the House of Judah and Benjamin, a hundred eightyzero chosen warriors. This number, by the way, is we're not exactly sure what is meant by this, whether it's a hundred eighty thousand to a man or collections of people. Nevertheless, it the main point is that he gets this group of men together, these chosen warriors, to go and fight Israel. The specific reason given to restore the kingdom to Raya Balm. But God sends his Prophet. We read in verse to this Man of God, say to Yabalm, the son of Solomon, King of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin. That's an interesting phrase, isn't it? All Israel in Judah and Benjamin. It reflects the reality that Israel, which once encompass this large territory under Solomon in some ways, and primarily in a spiritual way, is now being concentrated in the southern kingdom. Say to these people,...

...don't go verse four. Thus says the Lord. You shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return to your houses. This thing is from me, God tells them. This thing, that this is happening, is from me, and this is where things change. Before Ya, Balm took terrible counsel failed to recognize what it would recognize it for what it was. Here he listens and it changes. He listens to wisdom them, the wisdom of the Lord himself, and it says this in verse. For so they listened to the word of the Lord and returned and did not go up against Jeroboam. Why is this significant? Well, aside from just telling us a little bit about history, this happened and this didn't happen, which is important and interesting. What it's doing is it's setting up a pattern, a pattern of obedience brings about blessing, disobedience brings about curse. Obedience brings about blessing from the Lord, disobedience brings about his breath. This is a pattern that we're going to see played out throughout kings and it's based on the Covenant that God made with David. Remember, he said to David I want I will raise up a son after you and if he follows after me, I will be there for him, I will bless him, I will protect him, I will keep him. This is the promise that he made to Solomon and as we look at Solomon's I'm sorry, the promise that he made David, and as we look at Solomon and each son after him, we're asking this question. Does he obey the Lord? Does he stay with the Lord, does he follow after David and Solomon, or does he go another way? Another way that is going to be typified by Jeroboam Jarobalm becomes the antithesis of how things are supposed to work. If with Rayabalm in the southern kingdom, we see that obedience to the Lord, listening to his council, brings about blessing and security and honor, in the a northern kingdom, we're going to see the opposite with Jerobom and does not bring about these things, but it brings about ruin and destruction and idolatry. Rayabalm listened to God and his blessed. He is at this moment anyway, being a very good king, a godly king, not a perfect king, as we perhaps came to your mind when we're reading about all those wives and concubines, but a king who, in many ways is following after the Lord. I want you to consider some of the blessings that God pours out on Rayebalm. Notice how he's able to strengthen and secure what God gives to him. We read this particularly in verses five through twelve. Rayubalm lives in Jerusalem and he built cities for a defense in Judah. Read a very large list of them. Calls them fortified cities. And Benjamin. He makes the fortresses verse eleven strong, puts commanders in them, stores of food, oil and wine. They were gonna be set these fortresses, these cities were not going to run out of food or oil or wine. They were ready and they were strong. To Verse Twelve, not only do they have all these supplies, they had shields and spears. He made them very strong, and so he held Judah and Benjamin. So God gives to him security and strength because he listened to him. What would...

...have happened if he had done the opposite? Oh, we can't say for sure. We don't know, we're not God, but we do know that similar things happen to other people and happened to Saul. When kings are told to stay and they go, they get spread too thin, their armies get depleted, they lose ground. The opposite happens here with Raya Balm, but in his obedience the Kingdom is made secure. But it's not just a physical strength, it's not just the supplies and the commanders and the weapons, but there's spiritual strength that happens in Judah as well, and this is important because ultimately this is what God is most concerned about. In a sense, the northern kingdom under Jeroboam will have a measure of strength as well, armies and power and fortified cities, but they will not have this, the spiritual strength that God blesses Raya Balm and Judah with. What do I mean? We get this from verses three, I'm sorry, thirteen through seventeen, we're told this. This terrible situation happens when Jerobalm and rheabalm divide, when the northern part of the kingdom divides from the southern part of the kingdom. It's not merely a physical divide, but it's a spiritual one. Because what happens in verse fourteen? The Levites left their common lands and their holdings in the northern part of the Kingdom and came to Judah and Jerusalem. Why? Because JEROBOAM and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the Lord and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made. I want you to imagine yourself for a moment as a levite from the northern Kingdom of Israel. When he says here, when the chroniclers says, that they left their common lands, in their holdings, were talking about the inheritances that God had given them since the time of Moses. People had been living here for generations. You remember, the Levites didn't have a particular land, a particular region in Israel like all the other tribes. They were dispersed. They were dispersed throughout the tribes and and were dispersed for the reason of ministering to the tribes. They were there as God's priests and servants to care and teach and and and and instruct the people in the ways of the Lord and in turn, the people were to supply them with their needs, animals and land and money and various things. But what did Jared Bom do? He takes away the inheritance of God from an entire tribe within his region and he kicks them out, not because of some disobedience, not because they were doing a bad job, not because they had aposticized from the Lord, but because he wanted goat idols and he didn't want these servants of Yahweh mucking that up. He had built golden calves, just like Aaron, and Israel had built down on the ballot base of Mount Sinai, committing these great and terrible sins that would plague the kingdom of Israel, the northern Kingdom of Israel, for quite a long time and would eventually be exiled for it. He kicked out the priests and they went to Jerusalem. They're going to Jerusalem. was obviously a bad thing for the northern kingdom,...

...but oh that was a good thing for the southern kingdom. This great influx of ministers, of people that had been dedicated by God himself to serve the people. Verse Seventeen they strengthened the Kingdom of Judah for for three years they made Yobalm, the son of Solomon, secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon. You see, that's the archetype, that's the model, that's the pattern that people that these kings are supposed to follow the way of David and Solomon, and that's what the Levites did and as a result they strengthened the Kingdom of Judah. So all this to say, in Rayobalm's obedience and Rayobalm's listening to the word of God, we see that his kingdom is strengthened, blessed not only with physical power and strength, but spiritually they are strengthened as well. Instead of falling in and giving over to the idolatry of Jerobalm, they are giving themselves over to the Lord, to his temple, to his sacrifices. They set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel and they came from all the tribes of is real to Jerusalem to sacrifice to him, the God of their fathers, not a goat idol, but God himself. The last way, and just to mention this briefly, we see God blessing ray of Balm is in his family. Barrenness is and and the end of a line is often the sign, or is one of the many signs, of curse under the old covenant, and this is particularly true of the Kings. You remember that David's kingdom began with the finishing out of Saul and his sons. But what do we see happening here, Raya Balm's family flourishes. Now the DISCUSSI. Discussion about polygamy will have to wait until another time. I will say, though, that, though, though chronicled here, it doesn't necessarily make it a good thing or an okay thing. God design marriage to be between one man and one woman, and Solomon, after taking these wives, his own many wives, is one of the great reasons that the southern kingdom would eventually fall, and Jarobalm, or, I'm sorry, Raya Balm, will see problems there as well. Nevertheless, we do see a fruitful family and we also see that these various names that are listed are connected in particular to the Line of David. This is the way the chronicler is once more further connecting a ray of balm to the DIVIDIC Kingdom. So why does all this matter? Why does it matter to see ray of balm listening to this good counsel, paying attention to the word of God and being blessed for it, while on the other hand, seeing rayabalm throw off the Lord God, the God of their fathers, the God of a covenant, and giving himself and his kingdom over to idolatry? One reason we this is important is because in this we see God's keeping his promise to David. Rayabalm was the Chosen One of Solomon, and God is keeping that promise. We it's also important to us because it's through this line that Jesus will come. The son of David is not extinguished, the son of David is not trampled Jereboam doesn't eventually win the day here, crushing out by his idolatry and military power, the Kingdom of God. We see...

God working in all of these things, these things coming from his hand and ultimately being fulfilled in Jesus. But the last reason I want to mention to you is that in the seeing these two kingdoms, a split of two kingdoms diametrically opposed to one another, we learn a pattern and we come to see the Kingdom of God clearly, particularly as it relates to the king. There are two kingdoms here, an evil one and a good one. The evil one that is captive to ambition, idolatry and blindness, that is without grace or the means to it. The Levites left, the worship of God left, but the Kingdom of God in the southern kingdom was a good one and where do we see it's goodness? In its worship, in its refuge, in its strength and its protection, in its food for body and soul. The people of God were being taken care of because the king was following the word of the Lord. This pattern of not following the word of the Lord and rushing headlong toward hell, and following the word of the Lord and finding oneself closer and closer to heaven, this pattern never changes and in fact it only widens, because when Jesus comes, and he comes as the perfect king, as of one who doesn't make any fault or fail in every way or an end in any way, he takes all the safety and security of Raya Balm that was sort of flying spiritually high above the northern kingdom and he just soars up into the highest places, even heaven itself, when King Jesus reigns and rules over his kingdom. And we ask, was he obedient to the word of God? Did the king follow the counsel of the Lord? Did he do so in a way that would provide us safety and provision for both our body and our soul? The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes. At every point where we can see and see see and recognize ray of Balm's success and the blessing that's poured out on him. We see in a small picture, our Lord and our Savior. We see the strength and protection and glory and grace that Jesus provides us. Now I mention this because this is sometimes hard to see. The Kingdom of Heaven under Jesus is not always so obvious. For Raya Balm, you could go to a map, draw it out, say, okay, there's this border and here's this city, in this city, in this city. You could map it all out. You can't do that with the Kingdom of Heaven as it is today. Jesus is he rules, rules over all of us in all kinds of different places. The Gospel has gone out into the world and we find ourselves not bound in a geographic area. In some ways that makes it more glorious. It's everywhere, it's over the whole world, but sometimes it makes it harder to see. To paraphrase one of the earliest ridings after the New Testament. Early is Christian writings after the New Testament in the epistle to diagnosis. We read there that, speaking of Christians, they everyone has a fatherland, but every fatherland is foreign. Don't know if I have that exactly right. It's...

...from memory, but you get the idea. Christians don't reside in this one particular place in this one particular time. They're everywhere. They have fatherlands, they have home countries all over the place, all over the world. They exist everywhere. The kingdom is found everywhere, and yet at the same time every fatherland is foreign. They're living as so journals and exiles all over the world, and that makes it hard to see. With ray of Balm you could go to the giant st more room of wine, let's say that's upon VAT's drums, upon drums, and say wow, okay, we're set. We don't have that here at Covenant Well, have vast store houses filled with shields and weapons and food and oil and wine. That's just not here, and so can be hard to see. The Kingdom of God under Jesus, though it's infinitely more secure, infinitely more stable, it's hard to see. The Kingdom of God is also mixed up in the world and it's mixed up even in the church. Jesus, our king, says that the wheat and the tears are growing up together. And even in ourselves. The goalliness that we see in these levites is a wonderful thing, but we also know our own weaknesses. We know that we often fall into, I cut, various kinds of idolatry. Nevertheless, though, the kingdom is hard to see and it's mixed even in our own hearts. You know it's there and I submit to you that you can see it in some ways. You see it in the love of one brother for another. You see His grace and the way that our lives are encouraged and strengthened in the midst of our weakness and our brokenness. He remains there. He's steadfast. Love endures forever. You hear the Kingdom of God in the preaching. You see it in his servants, you see it in the administration of the sacraments and baptism and communion. You see the Kingdom of God, and Jesus is kingship of it, as lives are changed, as people grow, as we hope, even in really hard times, even in weakness and sorrow and suffering, there is an essential hope that belongs to us as Christians and you can't take that away and you see it and you feel it. We experience it and we hear it. Jesus, of course, does provide for us. He provides for us everything we need, and he promises us not only that in this life but in the life to come, there comes a day when the Kingdom of God will no longer be hidden and veiled and growing up mixed like it is now, but it will be clear and evident, with perfectly definable boundaries and perfectly the citizenship well known and vindicated. But for now, that leaves us with a choice in a lot of ways. Here in this world, now we are, like the Levites, seeing both the Kingdom of God under Jesus and the Kingdom of the world under many antichrists, Satan himself, and we have this choice to make, like the Levites had to make. Well, I stay here, and will I give myself over to idolatry? Well, I give myself over to blindness and sin, or will I run across the border and find my home in the Kingdom of God? It leaves us with this this choice...

...that we, each of us, have to make, and sometimes it will be a choice of great sacrifice. When the Levites left, they left their homes, their families, their cities, their houses, their vineyards, their flocks. They left at all, but they did so for the best reason of all, because they knew that ultimately, the Kingdom of God was not tied up in the land, though it was expressed there and though it was typified there, the Kingdom of God belonged to something much greater and that God, even in the midst of this divided kingdom, this break up, this idolatry and all the rest, that God would take care of them. And he did, and even through them he strengthened the Kingdom of Judah. As each of you think about your own lives and the choices that you have to make, I ask you to think about Jesus, to think about him in his kingship, in his power. Read through the New Testament and consider what the Bible says about the strength of Christ, the power and victory he has over darkness, over the healings that we mentioned earlier, over demons, over authorities, over everything. And when you consider Jesus is powerful and kingly strength. I call on you, exhort you. I say do not remain in the northern kingdom, do not remain in the kingdoms of this world, when the Kingdom of God is at hand. How do we enter into it? We don't have to travel anywhere. We simply give ourselves over to Jesus, to trusting in him and following in his ways. May God enable us to do these things. May God establish his kingdom here among us and in this world, and may we all wait with that great hope for the consummated form of it to come. Let's pray together and ask that God would help us in these things.

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