As I continue to read through the list of the Kings of Judah, I find it interesting that the criteria the King is judged on is so specific and consistent. The conversation over the last 8-100 years in our culture over what a good leader is, has been over character or policy or even who the President's pastor was. I think all of these things can be implied here in Chronicles. What we truly believe, determines what our character, policy, or even who our pastor will be. But here in Chronicles the plum line is always one thing. It is worship.
The good Kings would tear down the false idols. The bad Kings would raise them up. The good Kings would restore true worship in the temple. The bad Kings would restore worship at the other holy or high places. Is not this interesting? Why is this the case? Why is this the one thing that God judges the King to be good or bad? Why is worship the one thing that decides whether the King and the Kingdom will be judged with curses or blessed with blessings?
1) I want to just point out that worship is inevitable. There is no neutrality. People are not neutral. We all love and worship something. Jesus said it right when he said you're either of your father the devil or your father in heaven. We all will worship something, so let us worship the right thing.
2) Worship is a culmination or climax of our strongest desires. The thing we love most is the thing we will worship. This is why people will skip church and go to a football game. This is why many people delay having babies. This is why our society is obsessed with buying the bigger home, buying the nicer car. We can all ask ourselves what we love most. We should ask ourselves what we spend our time day dreaming about? What do we plan for? What are we spending our money on? All of these things are indicative of what we worship.
Ultimately, why is worship so important? Worship is so important because our God is a jealous God. Our God has saved us from the evil one. He has ordained from all eternity past that he would save a people to himself. Our God has covenanted with us that he would be our God and we would be his people. This is only possible if we are holy like he is. That's why the cross was so important. On the cross, Jesus took our sins and bore the punishment we deserved. Now we are free from the power (not necessarily the presence) of sin. Now we can live holy lives in the presence of our holy God.
One last point, this is why the physical gathering of the local church is so important. Worship is warfare. When we gather together we are fighting back against the evil one. We are laying our allegiance down in support of King Jesus. When we make the decision to not gather for whatever reason, we are making a statement. We are making a worship decision. God has given us the Lord's Day as a sabbath rest to gather and worship him corporately together. This is what the church, the called out ones do. We gather together to worship God by receiving the ordinary (not extraordinary) means of grace (the word and prayer). This is how God grows his people and this is how God invades the territory of the evil one.
So Christian, worship your God. Gather with your brothers and sisters. Fight sin and the devil. Love God and worship him according to his word.
Ultimately this is what the Kings of Chronicles shows us.