As I looked back over my journal entries tied to today’s reading, for the past several years it’s been the reading in 2Chronicles that’s caused me to pause and reflect. And invariably it’s been on the same theme–voices. The voices we listen to, the influences we succumb to.
Joash the kid king did great while he listened to the godly counsel and exhortations of Jehoiada the priest. Great reforms in Judah during that part of his reign. But then Jehoiada dies, and a new set of voices catch the king’s ear–the princes of Judah butter up the fickle king and he listens to them as they steer him towards idol worship.
And so I note, be careful of the company you keep, of the voices you listen to, and “do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals'” (1Cor. 15:33).
But this morning, as I hover over 2Chronicles 24 again, it’s another aspect of the story that captures my attention. Another set of voices. And a reminder that where there is great guilt and going astray, there is a God of great grace calling sinners to repentance.
Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet He sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD.
(2Chronicles 24:17-19a ESV)
Yet . . . that’s the word that I’m chewing on this morning. The fickle king has a new bunch of friends, a new peer group to impress, and so they desert the house of God. They forsake the living glory of heaven and, instead, pursue some wooden goddess of supposed happiness. And they begin to reap what they’ve sown. The wages for their sin starts to be required. Yet, God sends them another set of voices, the voices of prophets, to call them back to Himself.
Had God written off the regime, He would have been fully justified. Had He destroyed the wooden idols and those who bowed down to them with the fire of judgment, there would have been no grounds for argument. Yet, in forbearance and grace, He calls them to repent and return. How come? For our God is patient, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2Pet. 3:9).
The Father sent John the Baptizer to call a people hardened by religious tradition to repentance. He sent His Son to the sinner, not to the saint, to preach repentance unto life, and life abundantly. Stories were told of the greater joy in heaven experienced over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who needed no repentance.
Yet is code for “kindness.” For it’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance, the riches of His forbearance and patience (Rom. 2:4). God desiring a turning away from the things of the flesh, and the enticements of the world, towards a knowledge of the truth. A repentance that does an about face from the ways of darkness and death and, through the power of new life in Christ, pursues the way of light and life everlasting.
Yet He sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD.
O, praise God for His glorious acts of yet. Even as we falter, even as the alluring voices of the world try and turn our hearts toward the pleasures of sin for a season, yet His voice is every present through the Word before us and the Spirit inside us. Calling us back through the blood of the Christ who died for us.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
(Revelation 3:19-20 ESV)
Yet He is patient. Yet He is overflowing with kindness. Yet He desires to be let in, again, and abide in intimate communion. Mine is to hear the voice and heed the call to return.
What amazing grace! To Him be everlasting glory!