Daily encouragement

Video by

Kendra Cortez

ACF Devo Team

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2 Chronicles 30:26

So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever cried out with an exasperated: “So what!?” Probably not since you were a kid, but I think we all have. I hear that echoed throughout this chapter. Any time a verse begins with a word like “so,” it tells you what came before is important to understand. Especially true here - the “so” is clearly the reason for the joy in Jerusalem. What was it - this thing that hadn’t occurred since the days of Solomon?

Hezekiah was a king of the Hebrew people during a time when the Assyrians were consolidating power throughout the land. While this power eventually came to an end and the Assyrian army was decimated with a plague (2 Kings 19:25), the people of God had been distant from their religious heritage under the oppression of this nation for quite some time due to the corruption of Judah’s previous king, Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:16). So what? Hezekiah was the king who encouraged them to rid the land of the Assyrian cults and gods after Judah began to regain political and religious independence under Hezekiah’s rule (2 Kings 18:7). He then had to teach them their own heritage, which had not been practiced and very largely forgotten by the people.

As you might expect, when they discovered that what they had been worshipping or allowing to influence their lives was so far off from their heritage - a history of God protecting and preserving their people - they were repentant and eager to return to worship.

Make it Real

So what? The people of God were learning, many for the first time, that they were the chosen people of God and had been denied the truth about who they were as a people, and they were eager to come back to him. They threw out idols, cleaned the temples, and began learning with enthusiasm about this great God who was their own.

It started with repentance - a term which means to stop, turn, and go the other direction. That’s exactly what they did. They threw out the Assyrian idols and turned to decorate their place of worship in the way God had prescribed, offer sacrifices the way he had prescribed, and worship with joy.

This word for joy - it doesn’t just mean they were happy to do it. It means they made a sacred festivity. It changed their behavior. Think of holy holiday traditions - they had a party, invited everyone, made a spectacle in the community. They celebrated in outrageous ways, much like us bringing a chopped-down tree into our house and putting lights on it. When you think about it, how nuts! They were beside themselves with excitement and joy because they were able to turn back to what God wanted for them.

This is repentance. It brings joy - the kind that changes your life and makes you live differently in a very observable, counter-cultural way. But sometimes, repentance also hurts. No doubt some people were skeptical about throwing valuable materials into the river when they cleansed the temple to leave no trace of a foreign god. I encourage you to ask the “so what” about the character of God and what He has done for you. It might hurt to “throw out” some stuff from our lives for the sake of repentance - but that can quickly be followed by the joy of celebration in what He has done and will do in your life with the space you’ve made for him.

End in Prayer

Father, I have been oppressed by following the rules of someone other than you. I desire to be one of your children who sits at your table. I want to joyfully celebrate your great work and live in your mercy. I know that begins with repentance. I am sorry for my sin, including that which I didn’t even know was sin. Teach me your ways. May I find joy in the learning. Thank you for your goodness. Amen.

Written by

Drew Ames

ACF Devo Team