RHYTHM: Making it Great – 2 Chronicles 15

Easter 7 2 Chronicles 15Tuesday before the 7th Sunday of Easter: 2 Chronicles 15:1-15

Reading: 2 Chronicles 15:1-15

Making Israel Great Again

I’m not a big fan of claiming God’s name in relation to acts of violence.

In the chapter before this passage, Asa has gone to battle with the Ethiopians, terribly outnumbered. He points out to God that they’re fighting this fight in God’s name, so God might as well help out. The fight goes great; they even “plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.”

So God shows up back in Jerusalem for round 497 of Israel’s on-again off-again relationship. Azariah brings the terms: if you’re with God, God is with you. If you abandon God, God will abandon you. So they throw in to the familiar countryside cleanup, removing the idols, repairing the altar, and getting everybody together for a little sacrifice and BBQ. Oh, and just to be on the safe side, anyone who won’t seek Yaweh, the God of Israel, will be put to death. Regardless of whether they’re old or young or a man or a woman.

What? This is the acceptable, faithful response?

Passages like this one are where it’s much easier to point out the fallacy of the “big book of God’s promises” take on scripture. Or that individual verses are mandates from God. Or that it’s reasonable to beat each other to death proof-texting social issues. Worse, when we do that typically the argument devolves into a fight over interpretation and the issue itself suffers decades of neglect. It happened over slavery. It happened with the lopsided stigma over divorce. Stop it.

For reflection:

When have you seen scripture used as a weapon?

How do you process passages like this one, where God appears to honor violence?

 

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