Readings: 2 Kings 21:19-26, 2 Chronicles 33: 21-25; Luke 14: 7-11
“Throughout 208 years under 39 kings, both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom repeatedly turned their backs on God, and it was time for drastic actions.” (1) Our Lenten journey will take us up till the time when God takes the last drastic action. The northern kingdom is gone, and if things don’t change soon, the south is ready for the same destination. We still have two more kings and more prophets to meet, and one is a woman! I have laid out on paper, a map of sort, to sort out the OT trail before this ultimate fate. Today we meet Manasseh’s son, not much to say about him. And then we meet the glorious Josiah, another king that gives Hezekiah a run for his money in true righteousness. We will spend 5 days with the prophet Jeremiah and pause the journey on the map at Passover, Josiah’s Passover. Start thinking about how you will celebrate Passover because no stops held back for this event. I will do the same.
So let’s meet Manasseh’s son. His name was Amon. He became king when he was 22 years old. 2 Kings 21:22 tells us that he abanded the Lord the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the lord’s ways. Wow, surprise. Out of the 39 kings, only 5 honored the Lord. (1) It’s always interesting to me to see the difference between the two accounts of scripture, King’s verses Chronicles. Each often tells the same story, but Chronicles often gives a little more insight. In 2 Chronicles 33: 23 we learn the Amon, unlike his father, never humbled himself before the Lord. Instead, Amon sinned even more. Let’s pause here.
We have spoken before about humility. The topic humility, the act of being humble occurs 73 times in scripture. (2) Jesus himself taught his students about humility and tried to give them a plausible example to illustrate the point. Here’s an account of his story in the Message translation. (Luke 14: 7-11) I love his stories. His manner of telling a story in a simplistic way helping us get it. Because obviously, we have a history of not “getting it”.
7-9 Jesus went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Embarrassed, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.10-11 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around all high and mighty, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
We are called to be “simply ourselves”, the person that God created us to be. Most likely not Instagram famous, popular among your neighborhood, or even noticeable to anyone in a line up of 5. As we move forward, expect to see and hear a lot more from Jesus. This is a Lenten study, a forty-day journey to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. In all lenten studies, the ultimate goal is to arrive to the time when Jesus came into Jerusalem. I guess a little foreshadowing; the city of Jerusalem still existed when Jesus was on the earth and still exists today. So something drastic must have happened, right?
(1) Frazee, Randy; The Heart of the Story, 2011, p. 142, 143