Read: 2 Chronicles 36:1-21
The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 2 Chronicles 36:15-16
The people of Israel had “done evil in the sight of the LORD” one too many times. They refused to listen to Him, they hardened their hearts, they wanted what they wanted more than what He wanted, and God was pissed. Can you write that in a devotional? Can you say that about God? I think it’s an accurate assessment of the situation. Let’s just call it what it is.
Have you ever found yourself pushed to the breaking point? “If you do that one more time I’m going to have to… .” I think this is where God is with His children. It says in vs.15, “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through His messengers again and again because He had pity on His people.” He didn’t want to punish them, that’s not His heart, but they chose to put Him in a situation where He had no choice.
You see punishment isn’t about punishment. I know, right? Pretty profound. It’s about correction. It’s often about getting our attention long enough for us to listen. For us to repent, for us to come home. When we’re neck deep in our sin sometimes it takes pain for us to hear. In this situation, after years and years and kings and kings, God says – okay, they’re not going to listen, so it’s time for punishment.
If you know the rest of the story – the exile in Babylon, the return of the Jews, and all that happened in between, you know that it’s all an important part of the story of Israel. And that God used it all to bring His people back to Him.
The lesson here for us is: want what God wants more than what you want, keep your heart tender toward Him, and listen. Life goes so much better when we do and our hearts come alive in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” If you want straight paths, trust, submit and follow God.
Father, help me to want what you want, help me to hear you and follow well. In Jesus’ name, amen.