What a blessing!!
What a wonderful pleasure it has been to have fellowship as I endeavor to read through the Bible cover to cover! Finishing the book of Kings very shortly, you can join in the fun as well, by catching what Stacey blogged @ Scribbles and Sustenance, or Angela has a wonderful index of our Blogging Through the Bible posts at her blog called No Longer Lukewarm, and I am thrilled to introduce the newest to our group, Tatiana, of Musings of Mum, and Teach Me Apologetics. She will follow with a post on the last book of Kings, very soon.
2 Kings chapter 23 and 24
It is my turn, to address now, chapters 23 and 24, of 2 Kings. My goodness, the drama just does not slow down!
Vegetable Juice and Good Faith Efforts
So in chapter 22, we read about a "book of the law," being found, literally, as if the copy of God's word was literally lost to the people. Can you imagine? Well a king at the time, was JOSIAH. "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord..." (2 Kings 22:2) so this re-discovery of some scripture seemed to be a shot of vegetable juice for the people, under JOSIAH's caring leadership. Most of chapter 23 is about an apparent covenant renewal ceremony (2 Kings 23:1-3) of the people toward's God and then JOSIAH's campaign to end idolatry.
The idolatry of the time is astounding to me. In this chapter, I even read something that my husband had mentioned to me several times, but I had never read for myself, until this Blogging Through the Bible endeavor. Here are some of the dreadful idolatry details to be noted:
- in the temple were articles made for false gods Baal, Asherah, the starry hosts, (v.4)
- and idolatrous priests in the temple? (v.5)
- "high places" in the towns devoted to burning incense to Baal, the sun, the moon, and the constellations, and "starry hosts"
- an Asherah pole in the temple!!
- place for male shrine prostitutes, in the temple!!
- and a place for women to do WEAVING for false god Asherah!! (That is just the first 7 verses of chapter 23.)
Oh spare me. I don't want to list more....but skip down to verse 10. This is what I really had to read to believe, what my husband had told me of... They had sacrificed their children, sons, daughters, to Molek!!
A Good King, gives a Good Try
Most of chapter 23 is about what and how Josiah worked to bring down the false gods, destroy the idolatrous artifacts, altars, and artifacts, and get the people of Judah and Jerusalem back on the right track. But Josiah was brazen. He did not stop at destroying the THINGS. He also slaughtered priests of the false gods (v.19-20)
2 Kings 23:25
"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did- with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses."
Just Too Late
Unfortunately, v.26 tells us in other words, it was too late in God's view. His anger still seethed, and consequence crept closer. Judah was to fall. Poor Josiah. A good man, did his job well, but caught in the cross-hairs.
Foreign Rulers Gain Control
The Pharaoh of Egypt killed Josiah. For three months his son succeeded him and then Pharoah Necho took him in chains, and made Eliakim king, and made him change his name to Jehoahaz. Talk about being suppressed and controlled... And they had to pay taxes and fees to their political oppressor. (v.31-35)
2 Kings chapter 24
More bad kings, more oppression.
2 Kings 24:14 (about the oppressive Nebuchadnezzer)
"He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and ll the skilled workeers and artisans- a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left."
He took the current king captive and installed Mattaniah, Jehoachin's uncle and made him change his name to Zedekiah. He did evil in God's sight.
Remember the idolotry epidemic?...consequences...
2 Kings 24:20
"It was because of the Lord's anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from His presence."
Dear Father in Heaven, these chapters just leave me GRATEFUL that I live here and now, and I have Jesus, and I have my Bible. By Your Holy Spirit may I live and grow, to be a bright light for you, and a vessel for Your purposes. And Lord, I thank you for your love and mercy and grace that is through Jesus, for any of us who sin because we have not fully sacrificed our living selves for you. Whether our sin is evil hidden in our heart, or simply blind selfish intent; son or daughter sacrificed in abortion, on a figurative altar of our own making in our own mind, I ask for forgiveness. In your mercy, grace, and precious blood, is our HOPE. We thank you that in Jesus, we are washed white and blameless. May we live like it. In Jesus's name I pray, Amen.
* Dare you to list and count all the idolatrous practices of the time documented in 2 Kings. Do you think idolatry has become more sneaky, even in the lives of professing Christians? How so?
* So some of the people were literally sacrificing their sons and daughters to a false god. Are sons and daughters unborn, sacrificed today? On the altar of what god?
* Recall, why were the people of Judah and Jerusalem at that time, thrust from God's presence? Where is our HOPE for today?
Having just read something about the consequences of God's anger, would you like to read something about His Grace? I invite you to read my poem, "His Grace is Sufficient."
If you want to learn more about being saved through Christ, I invite you to read this post written for you at the blog Telling Hearts where sisters tell it messy, true, and wonderful, because we ARE HIS!