This is the audio (34:28, 31.9 MB) of a sermon delivered at First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly, NJ on July 16 entitled, “The Good Samarians.” The primary text was 2 Chronicles 28:1-15, and the other readings were Luke 10:25-37 and Psalm 102:13-22. I was pleased to be able to share with the congregation that is sponsoring me for ordination. Corrie and I also sang one of her father’s songs, “I Will Wait.”
Here is an excerpt:
One way to look at this story is to say: Look how bad Judah became, look at the effects of idolatry and self-love in this society! Even though we have this moment of repentance, obedience and mercy shown by Israel, it wasn’t enough to save that nation from destruction, either. (It’s like getting to the end of the book of Jonah—and realizing that God eventually destroyed Assyria for rebellion.) While this is true on some level, I don’t think it’s the way that the Chronicler wants us to read the story.
I believe that the positive way that the Chronicler wants us to look at it is: No matter how far is the human descent into sin and depravity—and it is far!—God is present. He is willing to descend into that darkness to rescue his people. In this story, it takes the form of a prophet, Oded, who probably wasn’t listened to much of the time! But God was present there. And God was present in the Chronicler’s day, as well—despite the fact that a Persian Emperor ruled over God’s people, not the chosen descendant of David.
Audio and text: ©2017 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.