Be Distinct (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles): Standing Firmly Against the World’s Tides is Warren Wiesrbe’s short commentary on those two books of the Bible.
I read this book while reading 2 Kings 2, so it was nice to have the parallel material from 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to fill in the rest of the details.
2 Kings covers a sad time in Israel’s history. The northern kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians, and the southern kingdom of Judah continued its descent from what it had been during the reigns of David and Solomon. A few of Judah’s kings were godly and enacted various reforms away from idolatry and back to the worship of the one true God as He had laid out in His Word. But the next generation would fall away even further than they had before. Finally, Babylon conquered Judah, destroyed the temple, burned Jerusalem, and took most of the Israelites back to Babylon. Different prophets were sent with God’s warnings, but were largely ignored.
It’s not hard to see history repeating itself in our day. America is not Israel, of course. But any people who have had God’s light and turn away from it are going on a similar collision course. As Dr. Wiersbe says:
When society around us is in moral and spiritual darkness, God’s people need to be lights; and when society is decaying because of sin, we need to be salt. We must be distinctive! Paul calls us to be “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2: 15 NKJV). . . .The hour has come for God’s people to be alert to the voice of God and obedient to the will of God—to be distinctive. God is seeking transformers, not conformers (p. 11, Kindle version).
Throughout the book, we also see the grace of God in keeping His promises to David and offering help multiple times.
Some quotes that stood out to me:
The gospel isn’t only a message to believe; it’s also a mandate to obey (p. 19).
During the years that I was privileged to instruct seminary students, I occasionally heard some of them say, ‘Why should we attend school? Charles Spurgeon never went to seminary, and neither did Campbell Morgan or D. L. Moody!’ I would usually reply, ‘If any of you are Spurgeons, Morgans, or Moodys, we’ll no doubt discover it and give you permission to stop your education. But let me remind you that both Spurgeon and Moody founded schools for training preachers, and Campbell Morgan was once president of a training college and also taught at a number of schools. Meanwhile, back to our studies.’ God has different ways of training His servants, but He still expects the older generation to pass along to the younger generation the treasures of truth that were given to them by those who went before, ‘the faith … once for all delivered to the saints’” (Jude 3 NKJV) (p. 21).
Never underestimate the power of a simple witness, for God can take words from the lips of a child and carry them to the ears of a king (p. 53).
To the humble heart that’s open to God, the Word generates faith, but to the proud, self-centered heart, the Word makes the heart even harder. The same sun that melts the ice will harden the clay (p. 74).
[Uzziah] had a wonderful beginning but a tragic ending, and this is a warning to us that we be on guard and pray that the Lord will help us to end well. A good beginning is no guarantee of a successful ending, and the sin of unholy ambition has ruined more than one servant of the Lord (p. 140).
Even though 2 Kings ends on a bleak note, God has not entirely forsaken His people. After 70 years in captivity, they would be allowed to return. And several hundred years later, the rightful ruler of the throne of David would come to earth. He would not to establish His physical kingdom at that time. But He would provide for their salvation.