instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, December 21, 2007

A lamp for all time

Despite the unpromising source material, the Chronicler managed to record the story of King Jehosaphat's descendants in a way that plays up the Adventy angle. Of the thoroughly awful Jehoram, he writes:
He did evil in the sight of the LORD, but the LORD would not destroy the house of David because of the covenant he had made with David and because of his promise to give him and his sons a lamp for all time. [2 Chr 21:6-7]
The deaths of both Jehoram and his son Ahaziah are presented as "willed by God," in His typically unsentimental manner of preparing His people to receive His Son.

The revolt against Athaliah was spurred (on the part of the priests, at least) by God's promise to David:
Jehoiada [the priest] said to them: "Here is the king's son who must reign, as the LORD promised concerning the sons of David." [2 Chr 23:3]
And with the crowning of the boy Joash, the covenant between God and His people was reconfirmed:
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king, that they should be the LORD'S people. And all the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed its altars and images, and they slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. [2 Chr 23:16-17]
Judgment came upon the City of the LORD as soon as the presence of the hidden but true king was made known, and finally,
All the people of the land rejoiced.... [2 Chr 23:21]
And if you're really mining parallels, you've got the death of the Holy Innocents and the Flight Into Egypt prefigured by Athaliah's seizure of the throne and killing of her grandchildren.

Here, in an admittedly veiled form, both the Incarnation and the Second Coming are anticipated. Through all the idolatry, the scheming, the bloodshed, the LORD was guiding all things, speaking to and through those He found who fixed their hearts on Him.

Idolatry, scheming, and bloodshed: these words might well describe (metaphorically, at least) what some of us have been up to in the past month. Yet the LORD still guides all things, and He still speaks to and through those who fix their hearts on Him.