2 Chronicles 26

This story of Uzziah is a textbook entry for showing some of the emphasis and themes of chronicles compared to kings.

  1. Lots of detail about the construction and defence of Jerusalem and surrounding country, which was a pressing issue for the original audience of the book
  2. The better kings are pragmatic realists. They accept Judah for what it is, they don’t try to recreate the glory days where Israel and Judah were united as one nation under David and Solomon. Every alliance with the North brings disaster.
  3. Even the good kings are show to have flaws, more so than in Kings. There is a stronger strain of physical judgement, of the flaws leading to punishment from God. Their burial reflects their godliness – a detail I don’t recall from Kings.

King Uzziah rules wisely and loves Jehovah, but gets pride when he is older and tries to offer incense directly in the temple, instantly getting leprosy, which lasts til he dies. He’s buried separately from the other kings.

The narrative in Kings doesn’t link the leprosy to pride, and doesn’t mention the nuance of the burial.

I think I’m a bit mixed up about reward theology: good things for goodness, bad things for badness.

I reject prosperity doctrine, that God means us to be wealthy in this world. I don’t think aids is god’s punishment for sexual sin, or that failure to be healed by prayer is always because you lack enough faith.

But I do thank God when good things happen, and pray for rain. I don’t connect the rain to deservedness, or the drought to punishment. But I do think there is a connection between prayer and life events.

I’m attracted to T J Wright’s – and the Salvation Army’s – idea that heaven is now, that living a godly life will help “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  If truth is eternal, why not start now?  In that sense I think there are rewards for godliness on earth and punishment for evil.

If you give someone a meal out of godliness, the reward is that that person gets a meal because of God.

Actually, that’s quite sensible, maybe I’m less mixed up than I thought!

 

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