A New Era – 2 Chronicles 36:15-23 – Pastor Eric
As we come to the conclusion of Chronicles, there is a new era and time for the people of God. They have gone through their own suffering of two exiles, but the amazing part of God’s sovereign plan was His purpose to restore His people with hope and encourage them to rebuild the house of God. It is a good example for the church today after two plus years of suffering.
Judah’s suffering was enormous beyond any pandemic that we have experienced to be a displaced people, yet God brings back His people with hope in order that they might worship and exalt Him.
God’s rebuilding plan was and is a restored community of worship beyond suffering and sin. God’s ultimate goal is worship, because this is what our hearts need all the time and what He deserves as our God.
God’s medicine for the heart and the soul is the healing power of worship, praise, and glory together in Christ. There are no replacements for what you and I need especially after these two plus years of the pandemic. We need a communal experience of God. Out of this central truth, God offers three important promises from His Word.
(1) God promises to patiently love His people beyond their sin. God promises to love His people with the utmost patience beyond even persistent sin. God will and does love us with forbearance and restraint not wanting to discipline or to punish but to show grace and mercy. Like a good parent, God patiently cares for His children even when they continually act out. (2 Chronicles 36:15-17)
To catch you up to speed at the end of 2 Chronicles, the focus is upon the nation of Judah, and unfortunately, the final kings of Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord. They did not live up to their high calling from God to serve with integrity and honor. Judah’s end has come with exile, a banishment from their land, but before that happens, God emphasizes His patient character.
The author or Chronicler reminds the people of God, how God was never quick to bring about discipline and punishment. God could have easily brought down discipline and punishment upon His people after the first evil king or their first mistake or sin.
However, God consistently brought messengers, or more specifically, prophets to warn His people about their disobedience. Sadly, again and again, the people mocked God and His messengers. They did not listen to what God had said and what the consequences were to be for their sin and wrongdoing.
We learn from Judah, God remains patient and compassionate even when we are persistent in sin. Even as you might be persisting in sin, God is persisting in patient love and forgiveness. God is not quick to get angry rather God is quick to forgive sin. God is slower than a snail to delicately love you and me, sinners, mockers and scoffers of God.
God doesn’t condone your sin nor does He ignore your sin. God wants you to repent of your sin and to turn away from your sin. God’s patient love ought to draw us back in relationship with Him.
(2) God promises that sin will lead to suffering. This is the hard truth of God’s Word and the gospel. God promises that sin will lead to an eternal suffering and possibly a temporary suffering. It’s simple, if you disobey, then there will be consequences. Sin will always lead to consequences and possibly some type of earthly suffering. (2 Chronicles 36:17-21)
At this point, we understand that the nation of Judah had four bad kings in a row and the people of God went astray from God and His Word. The failure of Judah is not just in its kings and leaders, but in the entire nation of people, who were unfaithful to God.
They continued to ignore the warning signs from the prophets of God. Think about all the warnings given by the Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah and others, yet Judah failed to listen.
They failed to obey for they became idol worshippers and deniers of God’s holy ways. According to the Mosaic Covenant, God promised them that He would punish their sin, and God was faithful to His Word to allow the Chaldeans or the Babylonians to bring God’s people into exile. This is how He dealt with the nation of Judah.
Today, Hebrews 12:3-6 helps us understand God’s discipline and it says, consider Christ and think about Jesus, because sin led to His suffering. He endured suffering for you and me out of love. You see, sin led to the suffering of Christ, and in that, we are humbled and thankful for His loving sacrifice for us.
Then, verse 5 and 6 reveal that sin can lead to discipline, instruction, training, or correction. God loves you enough to send you through a trial, hardship, and suffering in order that you are refined by it, and you will no longer sin or you will sin less. There is a sanctification process and growth process that God does in our lives in order to help us expand our spiritual muscles. He does so not in cruelty, but in love.
(3) God promises a restored community prepared to worship. Through the patient love of God and through the discipline of sin, God restores His people together in order that they might worship Him. The end resolution is worship, an astonishment of who God is, so that we become people who are more and more amazed by God. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23)
In verse 22, Judah went through another exile with the nation of Persia and King Cyrus. This is all done as God said it would happen and as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah. It is truly amazing to think God promised this would happen, and He it did!
Not only is the fulfilled prophecy amazing, but God uses an unbelieving king in Cyrus to proclaim the restoration of the temple, the house of the Lord. God orchestrates through Cyrus the rebuilding of the temple for worship of Yahweh.
It is simply unheard of to think that a king would let alone do this for his own people, but he does it for a foreign group of people. God’s mysterious plan was to restore His people through the rebuilding of the temple and worshipping Him by using a non-Jewish king.
God has the same calling for the church to be a restored community of worship. So, by God’s grace, let us together write a new chapter and a new era in the chronicles of God’s history that the church, the people of God, will be the light of hope for the world to know and to see the eternally patient love of Christ Jesus.
Let this be the time for the community of Christ, both at SanLo and across America, to come together to worship Christ and to be renewed by the Spirit of God and the family of God. Let this be next chapter in your life and the life of the church to praise and exalt our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.