It’s the 108th day of this one-year trip through the Scriptures, and I’m feeling somewhat hopeless. I really rooted for Abraham and Joseph, Moses and Joshua, Naomi and Ruth.
I pondered their struggles, holding onto the edge of my chair. And, I celebrated their triumphs with my fist pumping in the air. I knew what was to come, but somehow I was still hoping the descendants of Jacob would finally come to their senses.
But they didn’t. And they lost it all.
As I close the book on 2 Kings, I admit that I’m a little disheartened and disappointed. I understand why God had to do what He had to do, but I still feel sadness for His people. That sadness is easily transferable to those who call themselves God’s children today. Why? Because the same spiritual influences at play in ancient times are still plaguing the planet today.
What we learn from reading the Old Testament is: The more things change, the more they stay the same. And considering the clear consequences that jump off the pages of Scripture, staying the same is a dangerous place to be.
So, yes there’s a part of me that’s left feeling hopeless after reading about the plight of the ancient Israelites in the Old Testament. But, I’m eternally hopeful because I’ve also read much of the New Testament. And, there’s Good News written within that will make perfect sense of all the events leading up to it.
But, until we get there, feel free to take a look at some more of the notes I’ve taken along this memorable journey…
Day 108 - 2 Kings chapters 23-25
(As always, you can click the verses to be taken to the actual Bible passage.)
23:2-3 - Faith comes by hearing! Josiah read the book out loud and the people, once they heard it, reconfirmed their commitment to the covenant. 23:4-14 - Josiah!!! Now THIS is how you clean house! I bet some of the people were absolutely livid! It says in verse 3 that the people joined in the covenant. But I wonder if that means he had 100% compliance. If human nature was then what it is now, there had to be a sizable amount of people who were completely attached to their ways of life. And these people probably put up some type of resistance. Even if that resistance had to be underground due to fear of the new regime.
23:15-16 - So Josiah crossed the border into the northern kingdom? I didn't realize they still had access to that land since the Assyrians took over Israel. Then, he's in Samaria? Had the Assyrians abandoned the land sometime after their takeover? Did Judah reinhabit the land after God killed the Assyrian king who tried to come up against Hezekiah?
23:22 - Wow...they weren't even observing the Passover?!? They had not celebrated the Passover for over 300 years?!? They had really turned their backs on God, dating all the way back to Judges! 23:25 - So King Josiah was even closer to God than Hezekiah, who was even closer to God than David. No other king like him before or after. But wait...didn’t the text say the same thing about Hezekiah? This verse says,
“Before him there was
no king like him,
who turned to the Lord
with all his heart
and with all his soul
and with all his might,
according to all the Law of Moses,
nor did any like him arise after him.”
But, 2 Kings 18:5 says,
“He trusted in the Lord,
the God of Israel,
so that there was none
like him among all the kings
of Judah after him,
nor among those
who were before him.”
So which is it? I suppose no other king trusted the Lord like Hezekiah did. And perhaps no other king followed the Law of Moses with all his heart, soul, and might like Josiah. 23:29 - Why does God allow Josiah to die in this way, instead of at an old age? He was obedient, turned to the Lord, led the people back to observing the Law, burned down the high places, etc. God was so angry that He couldn’t give Josiah credit for his efforts to bring back the Law to the land?
24:4 - The Lord couldn’t pardon the sin of shedding the blood of the innocents. 25:16 - Where's the Ark of the Covenant? If Nebuchadnezzar's men would've touched it, they would've been struck dead. I searched for the last mention of it and it was in 1 Kings 8:21 when Solomon was building a place for it in the temple. There's no other mention of the ark after that. 25:25 - This is the first time we're seeing this word, "Jews." Before now, they were "men of Judah" (16:6). So, it looks like Jews back then were not Israelites, but Judahites. Right? Or, perhaps Israelites weren’t considered Jews? 25:27-29 - This reminds me of Joseph’s release from prison by Pharaoh after he accurately interpreted the king’s dream and saved the land from famine. So I wonder what prompted the Babylonian king to release Jehoiachin and also give him a seat at the table. Maybe there’s more about that in Chronicles. We shall see.
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