TODAY’S READING: 2 CHRONICLES 25-28
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
This was the first scripture I ever knew beyond a mere intellectual understanding. I was at the lowest point of my life, but I told God that his word said this so I believe that he would do it. No matter which way my situation went, I believed that God would cause it to result in my good, which, as the next verse says, is to be conformed to the image of Christ.
But, why does Paul say that this is so “for those who love God?”
Because those who love God know that God is good and only good. Those who love God know that God made his creation good – “and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) And, those who love God know that God is restoring all things to their original very good state.
Ephesians 1:9-10 says this is “the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Because God is good and only good, if all things are to be united in heaven and earth are to be united in him, then all things will be good.
However, because God is love and love does not seek its own, does not force anything, it is not directly obvious that God is working in all things for good. Yet, God is always there, ever present, in every situation bringing about his goodness. It’s as if God is working behind the scenes, even if we don’t see it.
I believe this is evident throughout Israel’s history. The Spirit reveals God at work behind the scenes in the little, seemingly insignificant, details of each of Israel’s kings.
Take Uzziah as an example.
The name Uzziah means my strength is Yahweh or strength of the Lord.
His mother’s name was Jecoliah, which means Yahweh is able or made strong of the Lord. Jecoliah was from Jerusalem, which means possession of peace or foundation of peace.
Just by these names, God was reminding Israel that he was their true king and that he was Israel’s strength to bring about real peace.
But, in what way would God’s strength bring about Israel’s peace?
The two numbers that define Uzziah’s reign explain how.
Uzziah’s reign began when he was 16 years old.
Almost everyone, given how often it is used in weddings, knows that 1 Corinthians 13 is about love.
Do you know many characteristics Paul lists about love in 1 Corinthians 13? 16!
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love does not envy.
- Love does not boast.
- Love is not arrogant.
- Love is not rude.
- Love does not insist on its own way.
- Love is not irritable.
- Love is not resentful.
- Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
- Love rejoices with the truth.
- Love bears all things.
- Love believes all things.
- Love hopes all things.
- Love endures all things.
- Love never ends.
Agape (the noun not the verb) is the Greek word for God’s love. It is used 18 times in 1 John. But, the 16th time the noun love is used John writes, “But perfect love casts out fear.”
1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” The seeming weakness of Jesus, the son of God, on the cross truly revealed the incredible strength of God. What power must it have taken to remain on the cross despite all the calls for Jesus to prove he was the son of God by taking himself down from the cross? Which one of us could resist proving our power to all those mocking us?
Uzziah’s reign began with a reminder of God’s strength, his love.
And, Uzziah’s reign lasted 52 years.
I wrote a few days ago in The Gospel of Christ: For He Is Good, For His Steadfast Love Endures Forever that the number 26 symbolized the gospel of Christ.
Of course, the number 52 is 2 x 26.
The number two can symbolize union or separation.
So, the number 52 symbolizes or union to gospel of Christ that separates us from the world. This is what love does.
Ephesians 2:4-6 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
How do we know this, that we are joined together with Christ, is true? What guarantees this for us?
Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
The Holy Spirit seals us in Christ. His seal is like a wall that keeps us in Christ.
Did you know that the wall around Jerusalem was connected to the number 52?
Nehemiah 6:15 says, “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.”
But, the number 52 is connected to the Holy Spirit in another way.
Acts 2 records the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost took place 50 days after the feast of first fruits. The feast of first fruits was the day that Jesus was resurrected. Therefore, the Holy Spirit was poured, became a seal, a guarantee, a wall around believers, 52 days after Jesus was crucified, which revealed the strength of God’s love and brings us back to the number 16.
Speaking of Jesus, Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
When we know Jesus as the one that created everything and the one who holds everything together then is no doubt that he is working all things together for good.