2 Kings, 15, 16, 17, 18

So my Christian blogging sisters and I love to write.  We love God's word, and we are enthusiastic to blog for Him.  All the while, we HAVE A LIFE and LIFE slows us down or gets in the way of blogging sometimes, and sometimes the reverse.  We have to TRY not to let blogging (even for Christ) to get in the way of LIFE.  Always a juggling act. 

from my town,  Aren't I blessed?  Yes.  Took this picture on morning stroll to the park with my baby that I babysit, now that I retired from teaching.  I give up on finding applicable photos like Angela does, and I am grateful when I can blog, at kiddos naptime...

As we READ THROUGH THE BIBLE cover to cover, we take turns Blogging Through the Bible, usually addressing two chapters at a time, but this time I will do four chapters.  I will not address them as thoroughly as my sister Angela does, but she is a full time secondary English teacher and... we had to adapt our schedule a little to give her some breathing room.  You can see her fabulous, index of our blogging through the Bible, here at this page on her blog, > No Longer Lukewarm.  You can see where Stacey addressed chapter 13 and 14, here at >Scribbles and Sustenance.

You can browse at Grandma Mary Martha, and Telling Hearts to see my contributions to this purpose, and here I go addressing chapters 15-18 in brief, in talking points, and in prayer, but before I go on, can I just say, "This is difficult and confusing, to keep up with the kings.  Well, really, I barely do, and I am sure that it will not stick well in my history challenged brain, but still  I AM SO BLESSED TO BE READING THROUGH THE BIBLE COVER TO COVER, and I know that you would be too!  Would you join us?"

2 Kings  chapter 15
Now please take this blog post for what it is:  My pleasure to reflect and share thoughts on scripture, as I read, so this is my opinion and observations, NOT any authority.  In fact this is my first time to read every word of some of these books of the Bible.  

If you are reading these books with us, or if you are more studied that I am, you have caught on, that God's people are divided?  His people, Abraham's ...  have not only one king, but multiple kings, and as always, BLESSINGS seem to multiply where reverence and obedience are practiced, and where irreverence and carelessness toward's their heritage, laws from God, well, BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

This is a major Bible theme in the Old Testament.

Jeroboam- king of Israel
Azariah- king in Jerusalem, of Judah,  for 52 years!!!
"He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord just as his father Amaziah had done." (2 Kings 15:3)
However he failed to remove the "high places," which I believe represents idolatry by some of the kingdom, and in verse 5 we read that he was struck with leprosy.

Zechariah- king of Israel in Samaria, for only six months, and "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord..." (2 Kings 15:9)  He was attacked and assassinated in public by Shallum, son of Jabesh and then he became king in his place.  Nice politics huh?  How would we feel about a king or president that came into position such as that?  But this actually brought about a prophecy from the Lord to Jehu. (2 Kings 15:12)

Uzziah- king of Judah in Samaria for one month!!!  He was assassinated by Menahem who then succeeded him as king (that would be- of Judah).  How has it worked for the people to go against God's perfect will, to get a human king?  Remember, God wanted to be God AND king to them.

As always, Bible references to "book of annals of the kings of Israel," as a more complete documentation of history, repeatedly.

Menahem- NOT NICE... As king of Judah, he went on an attacking spree. (2 Kings 15:16) "He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women," then he became king of ISRAEL in Samaria and continued his evil.

Now, get this, a guy by the name of Pul who was king of Assyria, invaded the land, and Menahem paid him off to leave them alone. (2 Kings 15:19-20)  He took money from the citizens to do this!  Pekahiah, Menahem's son, succeeded Menahem as king after his death but Pekahiah was assasinated by one if his own chief officers named Pekah, with the help of 50 men, and then Pekuh became king!  2 Kings 15:28 tells us that DUH, not surprising, "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord."

Can I stop now?  Do you see the trend, get the message?  This society is a hot mess because they have fallen from the ways of God.  Seriously, I am skipping some details to get to the next juicey points.  Fast forward past another assassination and more upheaval... we do get to a good king.  

2 Kings 15:34 tells us about Jotham, king of Judah, that, "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord..." Yet to some extent his life and reign contained compromises. 2 Kings 15:35 tells us that he did not take down the "high places," of idol worship, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there, though he did rebuild the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord.

Now, 2 Kings 15:37 is interesting to me because it says, the Lord began to send...someone against Judah.  WOW.  Ahmm.  Remember?  Obedience begats protection and blessing, and disobedience begats loss of protection and blessings?

Chapter 16
Ahaz, king of Juday did not do right in the eyes of the Lord and this illustrates just how far some of the people had strayed from the Lord's will:
2 Kings 16:3
"He followed the ways fo the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out ...." (NIV)

The rest of chapter 16 gives more details about the people's and the kings depravity and LOSTNESS.  They no longer know who they are before the Lord, or even seem to care to serve him wholeheartedly.  They have allowed their precious heritage in the Lord to be diluted, as they assimilated to more closely resemble the pagans around them, even to the extent of with no instructions from God (as previously honored) changes and alterations and revisions were made to the altar and temple that was supposed to be for their one and only Holy God.  They have spiritually adulterated. 

Chapter 17
 They have been hard hearted and foolish and chapter 17, more kings discussed, also other techniques and artifacts of pagan worship are described and language from God is documented to remind me of a patient and kind Father talking to his or her children who have limited understanding or ability to focus, with themes and messages repeated over and over.  I can only assume or conclude this to be a reflection of the Father's heart ties to these people, though they let Him down and sin.  He loves them and reaches out to instruct and remind:

2 Kings 17: 13
"...Turn from your evil ways.  Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets."

More of the same.  Bad news, but it has actually escalated.  Lions are sent to kill, and  there are deportations and transplanting of people, like mandated moves, to make people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim to settle into Samaria to "replace the Israelites." (2 Kings 17:24)

Then a priest was sent to teach them to worship the Lord, but they still continued their pagan practices, including (2 Kings 17:31) burning their children in fire as sacrifice!  THAT is NOT of/for our Holy and True God, and yet AGAIN towards the end of chapter 17, God's expectation, standard, and history with these people is repeated, almost as if He is pursuing them, woo-ing them with reminders of their history and position in His life.  I wish for you to read the entire chapters for yourself, but because it is so beautiful I think, the way the Lord STOOD FAITHFUL in His covenant with them, I wanted to quote here:

2 Kings 17:35-40(KJV) from my friend, biblegateway.com
35 With whom the Lord had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.
39 But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.
41 So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
Chapter 18 blog post, linked >here<
As I read chapter 18 again, to figure out what I was going to blog, I thought Hezekiah deserves a blog post all to himself, so I will continue in another post, and link it here.   Hope you will join me.
Thanks for visiting!