Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
French Countryside near Bannalec

Friday, May 19, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for May 20, 2 Chr 35-36

Today's readings are 2 Chr 35-36.

While Josiah continues to enact reforms, including a reinstitution of the Passover (2 Chr 35:1-19), Judah still struggles with the sins perpetrated by the people in Manasseh's time (2 Kings 23:26-27).

As godly a man as Josiah is, he has his own struggles. After ignoring a word from God delivered through the Egyptian king Neco, Josiah intervenes in an Egyptian attack on Carchemish, a Syrian city.

Josiah’s actions are revealing. He listens to Huldah when she brings the word of God but chooses to ignore Pharaoh Neco when he brings the word. Josiah fails to heed the full counsel of God, choosing instead to make his own decisions after receiving the blessing through Huldah. Josiah was happy to have the blessing but ignored the warning of doom. As a result, he enters the battle on his own.

We are always at the peril of being left to our own devices when we choose to ignore the full counsel of the word. 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 have less excuse than Josiah did.

Josiah dies in the battle and is buried as an honored and godly king (2 Chr 35:20-27). The battle at Carchemish proves to be significant. It is the beginning of the military dominance of the Babylonians who will eventually carry Judah and Jerusalem off into captivity.

Jehoahaz takes Josiah’s place and does evil in the sight of the Lord. Pharaoh intervenes and makes Josiah's son, Jehoiakim, the king (2 Chr 36:1-4). Jehoiakim, even though he is Josiah's son, aligns himself with Pharaoh and becomes an evil king, who is captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon. Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, another evil king, takes his place. He is taken to Babylon as well. Zedekiah, yet another evil king, takes his place (2 Chr 36:5-13).

So, we see that God will hold those who reject Him accountable as He does in the case of the people of Judah. A godly leader, Josiah, brings a reprieve but as soon as Josiah dies, the new king and the people slip backward again.

All four volumes of Kings and Chronicles span most of the Old Testament period from the time of David through the end of the fifth Century BC. Beginning around the fourth century BC is a period known as the “400 years of silence” when there were no prophetic utterances between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.

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