2 Chronicles 28 … Consider His Compassion for the Captives

Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers (28:15).

Perhaps you may also feel as I do. If given my preference, I would rather not read about war. It’s gruesome and dark and depressing. I can’t bear to watch war movies and I find it terribly difficult to read details of bloody battles in war novels. But when reading His Holy Word, war is an inescapable reality. And the truth is, war is also an inescapable reality when doing this thing called life.

Scripture is unwavering. For every believer, war is inevitable… until Jesus comes as the Faithful and True King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who will put an end to every war and reign victorious forevermore.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” …19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse(Revelation 19:11-16, 19-21).

In today’s reading, war is waged by none other than God Almighty. Not only did King Ahaz “not do right in the sight of the Lord;” he seemingly went about as far from doing right as one can go.

Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills and under every green tree

And the wages, earned through his sin, incurred the divine wrath of Holy God, culminating in the attack from the enemy. And war has casualties. While many were killed, many of the weakest among them were taken captive.

Wherefore, the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Aram; and they defeated him and carried away from him a great number of captives and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted him with heavy casualties The sons of Israel carried away captive of their brethren 200,000 women, sons and daughters; and they took also a great deal of spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria, (28:5, 8).

And into the midst of this shadow of death and despair is a ray of light-filled hope. And through His prophet, He would make known His Compassion for the Captives.

But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded; and he went out to meet the army which came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand, and you have slain them in a rage which has even reached heaven. 10 Now you are proposing to subjugate for yourselves the people of Judah and Jerusalem for male and female slaves. Surely, do you not have transgressions of your own against the Lord your God? 11 Now therefore, listen to me and return the captives whom you captured from your brothers, for the burning anger of the Lord is against you,” (28:9-11).

Consider His Compassion for the Captives

Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers (28:15).

In this concise narrative that so beautifully reveals God’s heart for the Captives, an eternal truth arises; His Compassion for the Captives is perfectly demonstrated in Jesus Christ, our Savior; sent to Redeem each one of us held Captive by the blinding oppression of our sin.

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
(Luke 4:16-19).

  • His Compassion designates One, by Name, to release the Captives: Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives…
    • Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:34-36).
  • His Compassion provides clothes for the naked Captives: and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes…
    • For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ, (Galatians 3:27).
  • His Compassion prepares the Captives’ feet for the journey: …and sandals,
    • and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15).
  • His Compassion gives the Captives sustenance with His food and drink: fed them and gave them drink,
    • Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst,” (John 6:35).
  • His Compassion anoints the Captives with His oil: anointed them with oil,
    • Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge, (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
  • His Compassion leads and carries the feeble Captives: led all their feeble ones on donkeys
    • “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
      And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
      You who have been borne by Me from birth
      And have been carried from the womb;
      Even to your old age I will be the same,
      And even to your graying years I will bear you!
      I have done it, and I will carry you;
      And I will bear you and I will deliver you,”
      (Isaiah 46:3-4).
  • His Compassion brings the Captives to their inheritance: and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers
    • In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory, (Ephesians 1:13-14).

How do we respond to His Compassion for the Captives?

Don’t you love seeing the scarlet thread of the blood of Jesus throughout every page of His Holy Scripture, to accomplish His Will, established since the beginning of time?

Thus says the Lord,
“In a favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
Along the roads they will feed,
And their pasture will be on all bare heights.
10 “They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them
And will guide them to springs of water.
11 “I will make all My mountains a road,
And My highways will be raised up.
12 “Behold, these will come from afar;
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”
13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted,” (Isaiah 49:8-13).

It is interesting to note in this narrative, the writer is careful to include that the Captives were being returned to Jericho, “the city of palm trees.” So, I wondered, what might be the significance of the palm tree?

“This noble tree is a picture of the upright as clearly indicated in such verses as Psalm 92:12, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar on Lebanon.” A similar allusion is found in Song of Songs 7:7 8 “This thy stature is like to a palm tree . . . ” The palm tree is also associated with victory (Revelation 7:9).” Old Dominion University, https://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/palm.php

The Captives were being returned to stand upright and flourish again, And, perhaps the most significant aspect of the palm tree, is its root structure:

“Jericho’s date palm trees have roots that stretch toward a source of fresh water that has turned a desert into a garden… ‘The city of palm trees’ exemplifies what we imagine when we picture an oasis.” Jerusalem Post: https://www.jpost.com/travel/around-israel/sites-and-insights-jericho-city-of-palms

Jesus Christ is the Oasis in our desert and war-torn wanderings during this life. And in Jesus, our every need is met in His Compassion for the Captives, including everything needed for this life in the here and now: everything needed to clothe ourselves in Christ and to ready our feet with the gospel of peace; everything needed to feed on His Truth through the anointing of His Holy Spirit; everything needed to depend, not on our feeble strength, but on Him to lead and carry us until we reach our eternal inheritance. He has brought us to Himself, an Oasis of Truth, where we are provided everything needed to stretch out our roots and drink deeply of His Living Water.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life,” (John 4:14).

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive… (John 7:38-39).

And we must do just that; stretch out our roots in Him, to drink daily until the war is over and this life is done.

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son,” (Revelation 21:6-7).

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ and rely on His Compassion to set us free from our Captivity to sin, He establishes His rule over our lives. And an entirely new Captivity is to begin. We are then called to become a Host of Captives (a victorious army) now held Captive by His Generous Love and Bountiful Gifts of Grace.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men,
(Ephesians 4:7-8).

And as we stretch out our roots to drink, He will be faithful to grow us that we might spread the sweet aroma of His Compassion for the Captives.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place, (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Let us pray that every place He takes us, others might see Him Who turns our deserts into His gardens, that they too would be drawn to experience the joy, gladness and thanksgiving of His Compassion for the Captives.

Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody, (Isaiah 51:3).

 Let’s Grow Together!

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