Steadfast Love – 2 Chronicles 23:1-21 – Pastor Eric
We all are devoted and committed to something or someone, but what about God? Do you love God with the same commitment and same passion? Will you still love God, even in the moments of trial or struggle? Will you still remain steadfast to God, even in the physical sufferings of life with cancer or covid? Will you still be committed to Christ, even though you might experience racism or injustice?
There are many things that can and will challenge our devotion and commitment to Christ in this world. The reality is that we live in a fallen and broken world, yet the gospel and Word of God informs us of this very foundational truth that God’s steadfast love empowers His people to love Him.
We must always know especially in times of difficulty that God’s love never fails. God’s love is so strong that it can’t be moved or shaken by anything. Thus, we, the church, God’s people are empowered by His steadfast love to remain committed to Christ and His purposes.
(1) God has always been committed to His saving promise. God has always been faithful to do what He said He would. As we live in a world filled with broken promises, God never breaks His promise. God was always committed to His saving promise of a Messiah and a Savior in Jesus Christ. (2 Chronicles 22:10-23:3)
Athaliah is an opportunistic evil queen, who sees her son die, and she sees an opportunity to grab the throne for herself. The major dilemma in the storyline is linked to the promises of God, because the Davidic covenant and promise of a Messiah, the Savior is on the line. If there is no son or descendent, then there is no savior. Thus, the people of God were deeply concerned about what would happen if the queen gets her way. But of course, we are thankful to know that evil doesn’t prevail but good does. It is through Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king and the wife of the priest, that she saves the boy king, Joash.
There is the coronation for Joash as the ruling king of Judah, and Jehoiada reaffirms God’s covenant promise. As the new king is raised up and so are the promises of God. It it truly miraculous to think that throughout the ages, God continued to be faithful to bring about His saving promise and the Savior, Jesus Christ, from the line of David.
The pathway to Jesus is a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs, but God remains steadfast and committed to fulfill His redemptive plan of salvation. Maybe you can relate to that, your life and history feel like a rollercoaster ride at times.
The beauty of the whole gospel story reveals to us that if God can fulfill this historical promise of a Messiah, then certainly God can and will meet all our earthly needs in Christ Jesus. God was fully committed to bring about a Savior and to save you and me from our sinful and dead state. Thus, God is fully committed to carry you through life circumstances both past, present, and future.
(2) God has always been committed to execute His justice against evil. God is steadfast in dealing with sin, evil, and injustice. God doesn’t turn a blind eye to the horrors and wrongs that we see in our world. He is ever present and active to deal with them all. (2 Chronicles 23:12-15)
Queen Athaliah hears the commotion of the crowd with people excited for a new king. The queen hears this and sees the people rejoicing, singing, and playing music. She becomes so upset. Her cry for treason is ironic, because she really has no right or power to do so.
Yet, God does execute His perfect justice against the queen, and she is removed from her illegitimate post.
We learn a few important things about God from this story: (1) God takes injustice and evil seriously as a just and holy God. His very nature is to hate evil and to deal with it. (2) God is not absent when injustice and evil takes place in the world. God is present. (3) God is committed to rid the world of evil, and as a merciful God He withholds more evil from happening in the world.
So, what can we be assured of when injustices happen in the world like the shootings in Buffalo, New York or in an Orange County church? What can we rest our head and hearts upon as Christians?
We rest on two critical and crucial things: the Cross and Eternity. The cross is the ultimate symbol of love and justice. God has cancelled the sin debt of every believer upon the cross of Christ. He has erased every wrong that you and I have ever done and satisfied the wrath of God. Christ has paid in full the crimes that we have committed against God and others. The cross of Christ offers perfect justice against evil for those in Christ.
Second, eternity, specifically Hell, offers justice. Hell is an awful and hard place, yet it is a necessary place, especially around the conversation of injustice. For example, if or when earthly justice does not take place, then where is there justice and peace? This is why an eternity of Hell can be a small comfort, not in a malicious way, but it a real way to understand that God’s justice will be executed against evil and sin. The truth of Hell teaches us that God will ultimately deal with every injustice and nothing will ever go undone.
There are two profound truths about God’s steadfast commitment - His saving promise and His perfect justice. This leads us to respond to God’s steadfast love and commitment.
(3) God’s people can be committed to joyfully follow Him together. The church ought to respond in steadfast love to Christ and the church. We can do so together in the body of Christ with great joy and rejoicing. God doesn’t try to twist our arm into worship or fellowship rather, through His steadfast love, draws us to follow and worship Him. (2 Chron. 23:16-21)
As you look at the covenant reforms made by Jehoiada, it is important to see that he does it with all the people of Judah. There is an emphasis by the Chronicler with the phrase, “all the people.” There is a community aspect and a togetherness that takes place to renew their dedication and commitment to the Lord. It wasn’t just an individual choice or individual action.
This community reform happens in three different ways. First, God’s people were committed to holy living. In verse 17, they removed the idols of Baal and killed the priest of Baal. They were committed to a holy lifestyle. They dedicated themselves not to follow the ways of the world and their culture, but the ways of God.
Second, God’s people were committed to worship together through giving. Jehoiada gathers the priests and Levites in strategic fashion to bring burnt offerings to the Lord. This was a normal Old Testament practice of worship in the house of the Lord to bring your offering to God. The burnt offering was an animal sacrifice for sin. As New Testament believers, Christ was our sin offering and He canceled all animal sacrifices as the sacrificial lamb of God.
The third and final reform was the people’s commitment to serve. Jehoiada brings together the people to ensure and promote the worship of God. He gathers the captains, the nobles, the governors, and all the people to celebrate the king’s reign and God’s promise. He employs every single person available for the celebration of this special time. He teaches us that every single person is significant and meaningful in the kingdom of God.
The same goes for the church, every single person is significant and meaningful in the house of the Lord. The church needs every person to be use their gift for the benefit of all. Remember, God is committed to all of His people, so that all of His people serve, worship, and glorify Him.
The commitment and devotion of God’s people in Chronicles ought to pull and tug at our hearts, so that we check our hearts this morning and ask, am I devoted and passionate about the holiness and purity of God? Am I devoted and passionate to show up on Sunday mornings to worship God and tangibly give what is really His in the first place? Am I devoted and passionate to serve the King of Kings at church and in life?
Even though, we may falter and waver, our God does not! Jesus Christ is fully and wholeheartedly in love with you, even when you might wander or stray. God’s love for us doesn’t change, and He remains devoted to His purposes and His promises for His people.
Christ was devoted to die for your sin and to love you like no else can. Christ was devoted to offer you forgiveness even when you lack commitment or lack devotion. Christ was devoted to empower you by His Spirit, so that you might faithfully worship and serve Him.
This is wonder and joy of the gospel, a fully devoted, fully committed, and fully faithful God in Jesus Christ!
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Christ Our Hope in Life and Death, Jesus Paid it All, Living Hope, Doxology