Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, April 28, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Apr 29, 2 Kgs 23-25.

Today's readings are 2 Kings 23-25.

Even though Josiah has God's promise that he will be spared, he enacts godly reforms in 2 Kings 23:1-15. He tears down the altar and removes the high places. He restores the temple, renews the Passover and eliminates the ungodly mediums and seers (2 Kgs 21-25).

Judah still struggles with the sins perpetrated by the people in Manasseh's time (2 Kings 23:26-27). Josiah dies an honored and godly king, but Jehoahaz takes his place and does evil in the sight of the Lord. Pharaoh intervenes and makes Josiah's son, Jehoiakim, the king. Jehoiakim is placed on the throne by Pharaoh. He aligns himself with Pharaoh and becomes an evil king.

In 2 Kings 24:1-7, King Jehoiakim of Judah becomes a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar according to the prophecies delivered to Hezekiah in 2 Kgs 20:17 and Manasseh in 2 Kgs 21:12-14.

We see how Zedekiah came to be king after Nebuchadnezzar first came against the city and captured many but was unsuccessful at taking the city (2 Kgs 24:15-17). This was not yet the siege that was coming and would bring near total devastation to Jerusalem. That is described in detail after Zedekiah, who was set up as king by Nebuchadnezzar, rebels against him. Note that Judah's kings are now chosen by a Babylonian rather than by God. 

The siege lasts over two years. Jerusalem is destroyed and the Temple is burned (2 Kgs 25:1-17). Evil King Jehoiachin, Zedekiah's predecessor, is captured by the Babylonians. He is befriended by Nebuchadnezzar and lives in luxury. Meanwhile, Zedekiah, who was originally in league with Nebuchadnezzar, suffers at his hand.

So, we see that God will hold those who reject Him accountable as He does in the case of the people of Judah. Their godly leader, Josiah, brings a reprieve but as soon as Josiah dies, the new king and the people slip backward again. Israel is gone, taken captive by the Assyrians. Judah is crumbling. The temple, the symbol of God's presence among His people, is in ruins, a sad reminder of the deteriorated relationship between Judah and God.

We've watched Israel, then Judah, try to align with the world, try to dig themselves out of a mess, both kingdoms creating a greater mess in the process.

We are always at the peril of being left to our own devices when we choose to ignore the word of God. We have an advantage over Josiah, though. We have the complete Bible to refer to, God's immutable word in writing. It is our duty to know what it says and heed it. As believers, we actually have less excuse than Josiah did.

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