2 Chronicles 31-32 and Romans 15
Today’s reading is packed with so much good stuff, it’s hard to know what to write about.
I could comment about the overflowing generosity of King Hezekiah and the people when giving to the Lord, as found in 2 Chronicles 31. But I won’t.
I could stress how God blessed another faithful king, as found in 2 Chronicles 31:21, which says, “In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.” But I won’t.
I could comment extensively on how Hezekiah trusted God completely when attacked by the Assyrians, and then God sent the death angel, who killed 185,000 of the Assyrian army. But I won’t. (Besides, I prefer the accounts in 2 Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36-37.)
I could talk about how Hezekiah cried out to God when he was about to die, and God added 15 years to his life, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 32. But I won’t. (Again I prefer the 2 Kings 21 and Isaiah 37-38 accounts.)
I could even expound on 2 Chronicles 32:31, “…God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” But I won’t.
Since I already commented yesterday about doing things to build up our neighbor, I won’t comment on that even though it is recorded again in the beginning of Romans 15.
Instead, I’d like to point out Paul’s faithfulness in evangelism. You may remember that Paul had a vision, where Jesus commanded him to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. In Romans 15:19-22, we read, “… So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. … This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.”
It’s easy to pass over what Paul just said, so I’ll point out that according to The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, “from Jerusalem to Illyricum” covers about 14,000 miles (yes, fourteen thousand miles). When you consider Paul’s mode of travel, and the difficulties he endured (read 2 Corinthians 11:23-27), you can understand the immense achievement of Paul’s missionary work.
For your convenience, I’ll include 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 here:
… I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
The real clincher comes in Romans 15:23, “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions…” Did you catch that? Paul has traveled 14,000 miles and told everyone he could about Jesus. Paul is basically saying, “But since there’s nobody else to tell (because they’ve all heard now); I’m done here; so I’ll finally come to visit you.”
What an astounding accomplishment. What an astounding example.
Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded. And part of what was commanded includes making more disciples. So, through the Great Commission, Jesus commanded you and me to share the good news about Jesus with the whole world. Maybe we weren’t told as directly as Paul was, but we were told.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t say, “since I’ve told everybody I know about Jesus, I need to move on to find more people to tell.” I think all of us need a good reminder that God still expects us to make disciples today.