From 2 Kings 23-25
Judah is being punished for the sins of a former king. They have not done anything to make amends and the LORD had to punish them. This looks like the end for Judah. Can the LORD turn it around. In the gospel we see some pretty momentous events happening. Yet the LORD turns things around to his good purpose.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Nearing the end of the books of Kings, Judah’s start in the promised land is about to end. The LORD is fed up with her continued disobedience, idolatry and sin.
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done. (2 Ki 23.36-37)
Jehoiakim is one more evil king, added to a long line of Kings that have turned Judah away from the LORD.
The LORD is not mocked, he must punish sin. What does this mean for Judah?
24 In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldeans and bands of the Syrians and bands of the Moabites and bands of the Ammonites, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servants the prophets. (2 Ki 24.1-2)
The LORD raises up another nation. Mighty and strong to do his bidding. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and raiders from their neighbors, Moab.
The author clearly implies worldly punishments are dealt out to sinful nations.
Jehoiakim, king of Judah is forced to serve Nebuchadnezzar. These happenings were warned about and predicted time and time again by his prophets.
Did this mean the end for Judah?
3 Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the LORD, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, 4 and also for the innocent blood that he had shed. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD would not pardon. (2 Ki 24.3-4)
‘Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the LORD’. The author is aware the LORD works in political upheavals.
When you sees momentous events in the news do you see God at work?
The author attributes the punishment to Manasseh’s wicked behavior (2 Ki 21.11; 23.26).. There are some sins the LORD will not overlook or pardon. Perhaps some tried to atone for the sin? The LORD would not pardon. Manasseh’s sin had far reaching implications affecting those after him.
5 Now the rest of the deeds of Jehoiakim and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place. 7 And the king of Egypt did not come again out of his land, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates. (2 Ki 24.5-7)
Jehoiakim does without much mention and his son takes his place. Judah is still under the rule of the foreign king Nebuchadnezzar. Their allies have been defeated and have abandoned them.
Did this mean the end for Judah?
Judah is on the cusp of their ultimate punishment. Exile. They will try again to get the support of another country against Babylon, but to no avail.
“Egypt no longer threatens Babylon. Judah, still reeling from constant pressure, must stand alone. Egypt has turned out to be as weak an ally as Assyria suggested (cf. 2 Kgs 18:21). Judah has no ally in the Lord either, since Jehoiakim has reversed all of Josiah’s religious gains.” (House, P.R., 1995. 1, 2 Kings, Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
Judah was sent into exile. What happened to Judah is an instance where the sin was so great, the LORD had to punish it. Yet the LORD was still able to use what happened to Judah to his purposes.
In the gospel some pretty terrible things happened. There was persecution for God’s people and political upheaval. After Jesus was born another king tried to kill him.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Mt 2.13-23)
But horrible as it was, things changed for the good. Herod died and little baby Jesus was taken to Nazareth.
Some events might look like the end. But the LORD can turn them around for his good purpose.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.