Thoughts on 2 Chronicles, Day 15 of Lent 2013

I finished 2 Chronicles today in my big, fat Lenten Bible reading. I'm surprised how much I liked it. As I said yesterday, the Chronicler is a generous historian, sort of like a proud grandparent, like when they brag on the kid working successfully toward retraining at a new trade without mentioning that the previous trade was stealing cars, and the retraining occurs in the laundry room at prison.

The Chronicler, unlike the Kings historian, focuses on the southern kingdom kings. The northern kings only show up as occasional foils or stumbling blocks for the southern kings, those who are David's descendants. It's not only good news, but if there is any good news to report, it's reported. Any reform movements are celebrated and hyped up. Hezekiah's reforms are a big deal. Coincidentally, or not, Hezekiah's story is bigger in 2 Chronicles than in 2 Kings. As far as Hezekiah was extreme in his religious devotion to Yahweh, his son, Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:1), was just as extreme in devotion to all the other gods. Nevertheless, Manasseh had the longest reign of all the Jewish kings, 55 years. He was extremely wicked and (as a result) was captured and brought to Babylon. He had a jailhouse repentance and God responded favorably to him and restored him. God's grace is so loudly on display in this guy's story. I'm a cynical guy, who doesn't want to trust penitents after they've been caught. In my experience, those people are more sorry they are caught than what they did to get caught. I'm a wicked man, I know. But God had mercy. He restored Manasseh to his kingdom. Manasseh went about doing the reforms his father did, that he had undone. His repentance was true. His life did change.

It's this story, that shows how hopeful this book is, unlike Kings. No matter what, God is more than ready to change his course with me, if I will humbly let Him. My name gets put in the book of life, even if I'm a nobody. He's the famous one, I'm just part of his posse.
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