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We have seen at the conclusion of 1 Chronicles that David had assembled all the material for the temple, had arranged for the manpower, had given encouragement to the leaders of the nation Israel and to the people, organized the service of the temple, provided all the money, and told Solomon to get busy. Now in 2 Chronicles Solomon is going to get busy.
We have seen that 1 Chronicles was actually all about David. It began with those long genealogies. There was a lot of begetting from Adam right on down to David. Why was the genealogy given? Because it led to David. Why David? Because David leads to Christ, and the New Testament opens with: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David …” (Matt. 1:1). That is the reason it is given.
I will mention again that in the Books of Chronicles we are getting God’s viewpoint. In the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings we were given man’s viewpoint. This does not mean that those books were not inspired. They are inspired. But He gives first the human viewpoint, then the divine viewpoint. And the emphasis is on David. Where did David put the emphasis? He put it on the building of the temple of God.
In 2 Chronicles we will find two major themes. The first is the building of the temple. The second theme is revival. This book covers chronologically the same period as Kings but gives certain notable emphases.
The first nine chapters are given over to the reign of Solomon. Six of those chapters are concerning the building of the temple. It is pretty evident where God is putting the emphasis. The building of the temple was Solomon’s greatest accomplishment. People always think of Solomon in regard to all the wives that he had. That is quite spectacular—no question about it—but it is not where God puts the emphasis. His having many wives wasn’t in the will of God. That was contrary to the will of God, and that was a factor which brought about the division of the kingdom. Don’t tell me he got by with it. He didn’t. Sin always brings judgment. It doesn’t matter who it is that commits the sin, it will bring judgment. The only way that anyone can get to heaven is to have a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
So the first major theme of 2 Chronicles is Solomon’s construction of the temple. That is important. God thought it was important and inspired the writer to devote six chapters to it.
From chapter 10 to the end of the book the kingdom is divided. We have seen from the Books of Kings that after the kingdom was divided there were many kings who ruled and that most of those kings were not very attractive. We have made the statement that there was not a single good king in Israel, the northern kingdom. So we find in Chronicles that there is no emphasis on the kingdom of Israel at all. The emphasis in this book is on the southern kingdom, Judah, and on David’s line. That was a pretty bad lot, too. However, there were five of those kings who were outstanding: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, Josiah. These five kings were the means of bringing revival back to the nation. God puts the emphasis on revival, and we will spend a great deal of time talking about revival in this section.
Many years ago I belonged to a group of ministers who were praying for revival. I finally quit going because the attitude was that if we prayed hard enough, God would send revival.
May I say that God is sovereign. We are not going to make God do anything. God has a program and He is not about to change His program for you or for me. The important thing is for you and for me to get in step with God! I tell you, the will of God comes out of eternity, down through the centuries, and moves on through the centuries into eternity. God pity the little man who gets in front of that steam roller. It will go right over you, brother.
Someone will be sure to say he doesn’t like that. May I remind you that we are the creatures. The creature does not try to get God to do something. It is God who is trying to get us to do something. That is the big problem. We tend to get things backwards. It is not God’s duty to obey us. It is our duty to obey God. You may ask, “Well, doesn’t God want to send revival?” Sure He does. And aren’t we to meet His conditions? Yes, but I don’t think they are meeting His conditions. It is interesting that the spiritual movement which has come about in our day did not come by these perspicuous theologians putting down conditions and the churches following them. The spiritual movement is not even in the church today. Most of the churches are as dead as dodo birds. The movement today is not among these brainy theologians. I get so tired and weary of reading their material today. Oh, they speak ex cathedra: they have all the answers! They have answers but no action—there’s no spiritual movement.
Out of some of our seminaries today there is coming a great deal of material; these professors write with great authority. They have a lot of authority, but they haven’t any action. (And I really don’t think they have much authority.) May I say to you today, my friend, we need to learn to bow to the will of God and to come in very close to Him: cast ourselves upon Him. We’re going to see that there are certain men—even kings—whom God used in a marvelous way, because they were willing to take orders and not give orders. I believe that the biggest hindrance to revival is the church leadership. They are the ones who are holding it back—and have been for years.
You may be saying, “Why, McGee, you sound like a revolutionary!” My friend, I have been a revolutionary ever since I entered the ministry, but nobody ever listened to me. I have said from the very beginning that we don’t bring revival by listening to the theologians. We need to listen to the Word of God. And that is the reason I am trying to give out the Word of God. Now let me confess that I have had some ideas myself. But I am retired now, and I have discovered that the great ideas and the great programs that I had worked out were never used by God. I am beginning to suspect that revival could not come if God followed my plans either! It is “… Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). It is not by brain nor by brawn, but by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to learn that, by the way.
The spotlight of this book is on the kings who followed in the line of David. Special prominence is given to the five kings in whose reigns were periods of revival, renewal, and reformation. The book concludes with the decree of Cyrus after the seventy years of captivity. No record is given of the period of the captivity. That was “time out” in God’s program. Remember that this is the record from God’s point of view.
(McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 14: 1 & 2 Chronicles. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.)