Reflections from the book of 2 Chronicles
“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
~2 Chronicles 7:16
Time and time again, sin threatens to eradicate the presence of pure worship from God’s people. Time and time again, God preserves worship.
This is the story of God’s people, whom He created and set apart to worship Him. Man fell into rebellion, and he wiped mankind from the face of the earth (remember the great flood?), but preserved a remnant of worshippers in Noah and his family. In the face of demoralization of mankind, God preserved worship.
After the flood, man scattered over the face of the earth. People groups were formed, and nations developed. These nations instituted religions – pagan religions, in which false gods were worshipped while the true God wasn’t. Except for one nation – the nation of Israel. God grew, delivered, and consecrated Israel to himself. In the midst of a pagan planet, God preserved worship.
Israel would develop into a wealthy nation, and one of its kings would build a temple for God – the center of worship in which God’s glory would dwell. Time and time again, sinful people would desecrate His house. Yet, time and time again, His house would be reformed by a righteous king. It looked as if formal, public, and corporate worship of the true God had been eradicated when Babylon conquered Judah and burned down the temple. But just seventy years after Judah’s captivity, Persia took over. And God stirred the heart of the Persian king to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and – lo and behold – rebuild the temple where they could worship God again. In the midst of the destruction of His house and captivity of His people, God preserved worship. This story of the house of God – its construction, reformation, and ultimate preservation – is the story of 2 Chronicles.
It’s an important story – never to be ignored by the believer and non-believer alike – because it screams to all of humanity that God is serious about being worshipped by His people – individually and corporately, privately as well as formally. It is worship that He seeks from His people – worship marked by purity and integrity. Whenever the integrity of such worship amongst His people is compromised and attacked, God steps in. he implements discipline, executes judgment, raises up reformers, and restores His rightful place amongst His people. This was true during the history of Judah as a faithful priest recounts in 2 Chronicles. Over five hundred years after its rebuilding, the temple would be once again cleansed and reformed – by Jesus Christ Himself, who Himself would become the fulfillment of the temple and the center of all worship for God’s people. The reformation of worship continued to hold true in church history.
Today, the integrity of corporate worship continues to be attacked, defiled, and compromised. Not much has changed from 2 Chronicles. Idolatry and worldliness continue to invade and infect the lives of God’s people. Yet, time and time again, God raises up leaders and pastors who confront such idolatry, restore worship to its intended form, and exalt God in His proper place. Time and time again, God makes it clear that – regardless of what is going on in the world and in the church – He will see to it that He is always worshipped at some place in the globe.
Such is the hope for every believer who truly has a heart for the Lord, His glory, and His exaltation. Should you be the man who earnestly prays, “Hallowed by Thy Name!,” take hope. From man’s perspective, pure Christian worship seems to be under constant threat from both the outside and inside. The world is increasingly hostile to God, to His character, and to the truthful preaching of His Word…and the church seems to be caving in and compromising. Pure worship of God as He intends seems to be under the gun, and it’s easy to wonder whether such purity will dissipate with the passing of generations. But the truth is that the sovereign God cares too much about His exaltation to let it dissipate. In the midst of a culture that seems to prioritize integration over integrity, God will be worshipped. For every defilement, there will always be a reform. For every false teacher that misleads, He will bring about a leader who shepherds His people. For as long as the sun continues to rise and set, God will always be worshipped. And even after the sun is no longer in existence, He will still be worshipped. His name can never be forgotten, and can never be eradicated. His people may be persecuted, but He will always be exalted and praised by His people. The orchestra that sings true praise to Him will never cease playing, from one generation to the next.
May the worship of God never cease from His people, and may it never cease from the heart of he who reads this.