June 9: When God Doesn’t Act
2 Chronicles 21:1–23:21; 1 John 1:1–4; Psalm 102:1–28
“When Jehoram ascended to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself and murdered all his brothers with the sword, and even some of the princes of Israel.… And he did evil in the sight of Yahweh. But Yahweh was not willing to destroy the house of David on account of the covenant that he had made with David and since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his descendants forever” (2 Chr 21:4, 6–7).
Biblical stories like this teach us not only about God’s actions, but also about His decisions not to act. It must have been difficult for those suffering under Jehoram’s ruthless reign to understand why God would allow him to stay in power over them, His people. Yet God knew there was something even larger at stake: long-term, righteous reign over His people—and salvation itself. The people’s suffering could not outweigh the importance of preserving the line of David, which held the hope of God’s people. Salvation comes through David’s line, as Jesus, the great Savior of the world, is David’s heir (Matt 1:1).
Eventually, John the evangelist was able to testify, “What was from the beginning [and thus existed even during the times of suffering we endured], what we have heard [being all that has been promised], what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched [because John actually knew Jesus and met Him in His resurrected form], concerning the word of life [being Jesus—God as both His Word and as His personhood].… [Now] our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1, 3). John saw the day when God would ultimately lift the suffering of His people and place it on His Son so that His Son could die as the ultimate sufferer for us (compare Isa 53:10–12; Psa 22).
God does not cause suffering, but there are moments when—as much as it hurts Him—He allows it. If He has a saving act at work among us in the midst of these moments, they’re worth it. God will always make good on His promises, and He will always far exceed our expectations.
What do you think can be accomplished through your current sufferings? Is there a hurting person in your life you could come alongside to offer them the hope of Christ?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Jehoshaphat then slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah. All these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. And their fathers gave them great gifts of silver and of gold, and of precious things, with strong cities in Judah, but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram: for he was the eldest. And Jehoram rose up upon the kingdom of his father, and made himself strong, and slew all of his brethren with the sword, and also of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was two and fifty years old, when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife, and he wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord. Howbeit the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and because he had promised to give a light to him, and to his sons forever. In his days Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over them. And Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote Edom, which had compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots. But Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then did Libnah rebel at the same time from under his hand, because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers. Moreover he made high places in the mountains in Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto. And there came a writing to him from Elijah the Prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, as the house of Ahab went a whoring, and hast also slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thou. Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy substance, And thou shalt be in great diseases in the disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out for the disease, day by day. So the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and the Arabians that were beside the Ethiopians. And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found int he king’s house, and his sons also, ans his wives, so that there was not a son left him, save Jehoahaz the youngest of his sons. And after all this, the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And in process of time, even after the end of two years, his guts fell out with his disease: so he died of sore diseases: and his people made no burning for him like the burning of his fathers. When he began to reign, he was two and thirty years old, and reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and lived without being desired: yet they buried him in the city of Daivd, but not among the sepulchers of the Kings And the inhabitants of Jeruslaem made Ahaziah his youngest son King in his stead: for the army that came with the Arabians to the camp, had slain all the eldest: therefore Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Two and forty years old was Ahaziah when he began to regin, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He walked also in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his other counseled him to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. And he walked after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to fight against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead: and the Aramites smote Joram. And he returned to be healed in Jezreel, because of the wounds wherewith they had wounded him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Arm. Now Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was increased. And the destruction of Ahaziah came o fGod, in that he went to Joram: for when he was come, he went forth with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. Therfore when Jehu executed judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah that waited on Ahaziah, he slew them also. And he sought Ahaziah, and they caught him where he was hid in Samaria, and brought him to Jehu, and slew him and buried him, because said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, which sought the Lord with all his heart, So the house of Ahaziah was not able to retain the kingdom. Therefore when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the king’s seed of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stold him from among the king’s sons, that should be slain, and put him and his nurse in the bed chamber: so Jehoshabeath the daugther of king Jehoram the wife of Jehoiada the Priest (for she was the sister of Ahaziah) hid him from Athaliah: so she slew him not. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land. And in the seventh year Jehoiada waxed bold, and took the captains of hundreds, to wit, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri in covenant with him. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel: and they came to Jerusalem. And all the congregation made a covenant with the King in the house of God: and he said unto them, Behold, the King’s son must reign, as the Lord hath said of the sons of David. This is it they shall do, The third part of you that come on the Sabbath of the Priests, and the Levites, shall be porters of the doors. And another third part toward the King’s house, and another third part at the gate of the foundation, and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. But let none come into the house of the Lord, save the Priests, and the Levites that minister, they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord. And the Levites shall compass the King round about, and every man with his weapon in his hand, and be that entereth into the house, shall be slain, and be you with the king, when he cometh in, and when he goeth out. So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the Priest had commanded, and took every man his men that came on the Sabbath, with them that went out on the Sabbath: for Jehoiada the Preist did not discharge the courses. And Jehoiada the Priest delivered to the captains of the hundreds spears, and shields, and bucklers which had been King David’s, and were in the house of God. And he caused all the people to stand (every man with his weapon in his hand) from the right side of the house, to the left side of the house by the altar and by the house round about the king. Then they brought out the king’s son, and put upon him the crown and gave him the testimony, and made him King. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king. But when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the King, she came to the people into the house of the Lord. And when she looked, behold, the king stood by his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and th trumpets by the King, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew the trumpets, and the singers were with instruments of music, and they that could sing praise: then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, treason. Then Jehoiada the Priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were governors of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges, and he that followeth her, let him die by the sword: for the Priest had said, Slay her not in the house of the Lord. So they laid hands on her: and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king’s ouse, they slew her there. And Jehoiada made a covenant between him and all the people, and the king, that they would be the Lord’s people. And all the people went to the house of Baal, and destroyed, and brake his altars and his images, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And Jehoiada appointed officers for the house of the Lord, under the hands of the Priests and Levites, whom David had distributed for the house of the Lord, to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing by the appointments of David. And he set porters by the gates of the house of the Lord, that none that was unclean in anything, should enter in. And he took the captains of hundreds, and the noble men, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and he caused the king to come down out of the house of the Lord, and they went through the high gate of teh king’s house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom. Then all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword. 2 Chronicles 21:1–23:21
- That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with these our eyes, which we have looked upon, and these hands of ours have handled of that word of life, (For that life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was made manifest unto us.) That I say, which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship with us, and that our fellowship also may be with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write I unto you, that your jou may be full. 1 John 1:1–4
- O Lord hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee, Hide not thy face from me in the tie of my trouble: incline thine ears unto me, when I call, make haste to hear me. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burnt like an hearth. Mine heart is smitten, and withered like grass, because I forgat to eat my bread. For the voice of my groaning, my bones do cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the deserts. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies revile me daily, and they that rage against me, have sworn against me. Surely I have eaten ashes as bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, Because of thine indigation and thy wrath: for thou hast heaved me up, and cat me down. My days are like a shadow that fadeth, and I am withered like grass. But thou, O Lord, dost remain forever, and thy remembrance from generation to generation. Thou wilt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to have mercy thereon, for the appointed time is come. For thy servants delight in the stones thereof, and have pity on the dust thereof. Then the heathen shall fear the Name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory, When the Lord shall build up Zion, and shall appear in his glory. And shall turn unto the prayer of the desolate, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created, shall praise the Lord. For he hath looked down from the height of his Sanctuary: out of the heaven did the Lord behold the earth, That he might hear the mourning of the prisoner, and deliver the children of death That they may declare the Name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, When the people shall be gathered together, and the kingdoms to serve the Lord. He abated my strength in the way, and shortened my days. And I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of thy days: thy years endure from generation to generation. Thou hast aforetime laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thien hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: even they that shall wax old as doth a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall stand fast in thy sight. Psalm 102:1–28