Last Words: “Let Him Go Up”

In the period of the judges, Israel asked for a king so that they could be like all the other nations around them. This was a rejection of God, because unlike all the other nations that had a man as their king, Israel had God as their king. When they asked God for a king, God told Israel what having a king would do to them and that it would not go well.

So, it’s interesting to know how the books of the Hebrew Bible are ordered, which is different than the ordering of our Old Testament. The last book of the Hebrew Bible is 2 Chronicles. Listen what it says about the last king and the people of Israel before they were exiled from the land:

“He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel. All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem.”

God brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt through miraculous works of his great power. God gave them a land with cities and vineyards, full of milk and honey, that they did not have to build. God even drove out the people that were occupying that land for Israel. But, Israel rejected God as their king. And, the Hebrew order of the Old Testament ends with the last king and the people completely rejecting God and in full rebellion against him. Israel became like the nations around them, full of all the abominations and evil and wickedness that those nations had done.

It wasn’t because God didn’t try to stop it. 2 Chronicles continues, “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.”

Here we see the longsuffering, the patience, and the kindness of God. He did everything for his people that he could. But, God created us with the capability to reject him. And, if that is chosen, then there is no remedy for that. But…

God is a god of hope. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that faith, hope and love abide. Elsewhere in the New Testament is says that our hope is in Christ. He lives forever and so does our hope. There is always hope with God.

So, even though Israel had completely rejected God and there appeared to be no remedy, the final words of 2 Chronicles and the Hebrew Bible say, “Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.” These words were spoken by a Gentile king that God was going to use to free his people from exile so that they could begin to rebuild the temple of God. The very last words – “let him go up” – ring out with the hope that there will be a people that meet with God, whose garden and dwelling place were often pictured on a mountain.

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