READ THE BIBLE IN 2022: This past week, May 15 through 21, we read 2 Chronicles 18 through Ezra 3. As we read about the reigns of the kings of Judah, we can recognize a theme—God tests the hearts of His rulers. Jehoram, for instance, was among Judah’s worst kings, so that God raised up enemies to war against him and had Elijah sharply rebuke him. But Jehoram never humbled himself before God to repent or pray for help. Because of his hard heart, “he died in great agony” (21:19). King Hezekiah, on the other hand, was humble before God. In his reforms in Judah, he restored the sacrifices and temple worship, because it was in his “heart to make a covenant with the LORD” (29:10). Hezekiah’s son Manasseh reestablished idol worship and was among Judah’s worst kings. After the Lord brought him to ruin, Manasseh “humbled himself greatly” (33:12) and prayed. And God restored him. Zedekiah was Judah’s last king. Even when king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against him he “hardened his heart against turning to the LORD” (36:13) so that Jerusalem was plundered and the people of God were exiled. 2 Chronicles closes and Ezra opens with the proclamation of King Cyrus that God’s people were free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This week (May 22 - 28) read Ezra 4 through Nehemiah 11.