2 Chronicles 31
By Pastor Mark Hudson
As you read chapter 31, remember that II Chronicles is written for the post-exilic community. As they return to a rundown Jerusalem, face opposition, and begin to organize their lives after the exile, the author of II Chronicles is teaching them by carefully choosing his material from Judah and her Kings. In this chapter, the author underscores a number of themes that are needed for the returning exiles.
Notice that before the faithful from Israel return back home, they broke in pieces the pillars and other tactics to rout out idolatry from the nation of Israel. But these activities did not end idolatry. This continued idolatry is a terrible sin against God. God’s people just can’t seem to obey the command, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
In verse two Hezekiah is once again promoting his service to God as King by following God’s Word regarding worship. He appoints divisions of priest and Levites and all these so God’s people could worship. Like kings before him setting the precedent, King Hezekiah contributed to the sacrifices from his own flocks and herds.
In verses 7-10, the author points to the contributions of the people. The reader can surmise why this aspect of giving is so important to the Chronicler. For the believers returning from exile the community needed to work together which means, in part, this post-exilic believers had to give financially. In this account in chapter 31, the people gave so much they had heaps of food.
We don’t want to absolutize giving neither do we want to minimize giving. When we give, we allow others to fulfill their calling. So when you give to the church, that allows pastors to work full-time to the ministry of the Word and sacraments. When we don’t give, our ministry is out of kilter. In the case of priests and Levites, they will be working in the fields rather than ministering as God has called them.
Notice in verse 15 that what these priests do. They not only give to those who are active in serving the Lord, but they also “distribute to the portions to their brothers, old and young alike by division.” The priests are looking out for the elderly and the young. God also puts it on the heart of His people to care for those left behind. This compassion and tenderness is always part of who God is and therefore who God’s people are.
You may notice that in both these sections, the giving is connected to the word of God. In verse three, writing about Hezekiah’s contribution, the author comments, “as it is written in the Law of the Lord.” Then in regard to the people’s giving, we read in verse 4 that their giving allowed the priests to “themselves to the Law of the Lord.” Notice the summary verse of this chapter, “And every work that he (Hezekiah) undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments . . . . Our service to God, worship, teaching, and our lives have to line up with the word of God. God has spoken. He is not silent. There is no true spirituality without obedience to God’s Word.
One of the themes the Chronicler is trying to stress is that when we obey God and His word, we are blessed. We see the righteous enjoying God’s blessings, but they are blessed people in terms of their overall well-being. In chapter we see words like prosper (v. 21), did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord His God (v. 20), for the Lod has blessed His people (v. 10), and they blessed the Lord and his people Israel (v. 8). God wants to bless us. Contrary to what we often say about God, He wants to bless us so we have enough to give to the ministry as well as others.
Our holy, heavenly, loving Father, we worship You with our obedience to Your commands and delighting in You, the very One we worship. You are so, so good. All we have is from You. Lord, help us to live out the gospel and when we have opportunity to speak up for Christ. Remind us to order our worship after the Word of God. Visit us with Your Spirit so we can be filled to overflowing. Grant us Your peace and patience so we draw others to Your Son. In Christ’s name, Amen. …