Here begins a new section. Of the kings of Judah who now come to our attention, it is mentioned of seven kings that they do what is good in the sight of the LORD. The other kings fail. That failure is painted, despite the difference with both books of Kings, where the emphasis is on responsibility and therefore on failure. The emphasis in the books of Chronicles is not on that, but on the grace of God.
From the reign of King Rehoboam 2 Chronicles becomes a book about a period of almost four hundred years (from 930-538/536 BC) showing a history of failure and grace. The emphasis is on the restoration that may follow in God’s grace time and again on failure. God does not prevent failure, but provides restoration. We see this for example with Peter, who fails, but for whom the Lord has prayed (Lk 22:3232but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”).
The first and second book of Kings mainly describe the history of the ten tribes with a single reference to the two tribes. In the second book of Chronicles it is mainly about the two tribes with a single reference to the ten tribes. The emphasis here is on the two tribes because in Judah is Jerusalem and in Jerusalem stands the temple and in Jerusalem sits a prince from David’s house on the throne. There is God with His heart.
There is not one king in the ten tribes who does what is good in the eyes of the LORD. There everything is failing with perhaps a small exception with Jehu, who at least started well. 2 Chronicles will turn out to be a book of revivals. So we notice that Rehoboam is humiliating himself (2Chr 12:6,126So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.”12And when he humbled himself, the anger of the LORD turned away from him, so as not to destroy [him] completely; and also conditions were good in Judah.). Yet he is not a type of the Lord Jesus, although he is a son of David, for he also does what is evil in the eyes of the LORD (2Chr 12:1414He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.).
The Lord Jesus never had to humiliate Himself. He can say: “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mt 11:2929Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.). Humiliation always comes after sin, personal and communal. Humility is a present mind and does not suppose sin.
The LORD has given authority to the king that rules over his people, He entrusted that authority to him. All kings exercise the power of David. The only question is how they do it. They are nothing but servants of God. In David and Solomon we have, besides references to the kingdom of peace, also references to the present time. We too have to do with the kingdom of God. Of that kingdom the Lord Jesus is the Commander, the King, and the believers are the subjects.
That kingdom is not a public kingdom, but a kingdom in secret. Anyone who confesses Christ as Lord is a subject in that kingdom. Wherever the authority of Christ as Lord is established and confessed, God’s kingdom becomes visible. We can think especially of the lives and families of the believers. That authority is not always direct authority, but it is also indirect, for example by parents (Eph 6:11Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.). The kingdom of God is an important topic for the early church, as we see in the book of Acts.
After the Lord Jesus went to heaven, He entrusted the government in His kingdom –hidden from the eyes of the world – to the responsibility of His subjects. The question then is how someone behaves in God’s kingdom, when the Lord of that kingdom is absent, in heaven.
We see this in the parable of the good and the evil slave (Mt 24:45-5145“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?46Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.47Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.48But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’49and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;50the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect [him] and at an hour which he does not know,51and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.). When the Lord comes to ask for accountability for the policies of His slaves, it becomes clear that there are faithful and faithless subjects (slaves). For those who have a position of authority in that kingdom, it is so, that he who is first a good slave, becomes an evil slave.