The Last Kings of Judah
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 36:1-23, Jeremiah 25:1-7, Romans 11:1-2
BY Erin Davis
If you love happy endings (and who doesn’t?), the final chapter of 2 Chronicles is bound to leave you wanting.
Remember how the story of Israel’s kings began. God’s chosen had His unmatched affection and protection, yet they clamored for a human king (1Samuel 8:6). In response, God shot them straight.
These are the rights of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots….When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but the LORD won’t answer you on that day.
—1 Samuel 8:11–18
God was right, of course. Rather than ending in crescendo, the era of the kings petered out with a few insignificant monarchs who could not hold on to power, the sacred city of Jerusalem being burned to the ground, and the promised land becoming a war-torn wasteland.
As we step into holy week, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Kings and kingdoms remain on their perpetual carousel: rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. War-torn lands still exist. God’s people remain scattered.
Where is the hope in all of this?
Lent is our annual reminder that true hope remains where it’s always been. On the throne of David, with the One who wears not one but many crowns (Revelation 19:12), the One who came to serve and gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
It is fitting to head into Holy Week with the heaviness of heart that comes from facing the fact that all human leaders will fail us, all political systems will buckle, and all earthly reigns will come to an end.
That perspective shifts our longings into overdrive as we look toward an otherworldly King. The One who: Chose a donkey over a chariot (John 12:12–19), willingly laid down His life for the ones who had rejected Him (Romans 5:8), laid dead in a cold, dark tomb and burst forth on the third day with the keys to death and Hades in His hands (Revelation 1:18).
It’s true the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles won’t win any awards for the happiest of endings, but they are mere chapters in the greatest story ever told. In this season, be reminded that yours is a King who reigns victorious. Where every other ruler has failed, the King of kings and Lord of lords has won. He is real. He is risen. He is returning.
The ending of all things is happy, after all.