Read 2 Kings 23:21-25
In Today's Reading:
Passover restored; destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple foretold; death of Josiah; Jehoahaz' reign and imprisonment; Jehoiakim controlled by Egypt, then Nebuchadnezzar; his death; Zedekiah's reign; fall of Jerusalem; captivity of Judah.
Verse for Today:
The king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land (2 Kings 25:21).
Josiah was the last godly king of Judah before the destruction of Jerusalem. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father (2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chronicles 34:2). He destroyed all the idolatrous practices in Jerusalem and throughout Judah. And he read in their [hearing] all the words of the Book of the Covenant. . . . the king . . . made a covenant before the Lord . . . to keep His Commandments. . . . And he [broke] down the houses of the sodomites (male prostitutes) (2 Kings 23:2-3).
Josiah went beyond the border of Judah, into the Assyrian-controlled former Northern Kingdom, to Bethel, where Jeroboam I had built one of the golden calves. He [broke] in pieces the images. . . . and burned the high place (shrine to worship idols). . . . Josiah . . . took the bones out of the [tombs], and burned them upon the altar . . . according to the Word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed (almost 300 years earlier) (23:14-16; 1 Kings 13:1-3).
The king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover unto the Lord your God. . . . the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the Law (2 Kings 23:21). However, most of the people continued to practice the sins promoted during the reigns of Josiah's evil father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh.
The last four kings who followed Josiah were all puppet-rulers, appointed by, and subject to, first Egypt and then Babylon.
Finally, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched his army into Judah and surrounded Jerusalem, eventually reducing its people to starvation. Rather than repent of his sins and read what God would have him do, as Josiah did, Zedekiah thought he could escape by digging an opening through the wall that surrounded Jerusalem. However, as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 12:12-13; 17:20), Zedekiah and his wives and children were captured a short distance from Jerusalem on the plains of Jericho (2 Kings 25:4-7). Zedekiah was chained by the Babylonians and forced to witness the gruesome murder of all his children. It was the last thing he saw before his eyes were ruthlessly gouged out and he was led blind to Babylon like an animal in chains.
The destruction of the once-glorious Kingdom of Judah and Solomon's Temple reminds us that even the greatest present-day nation on earth, with all its wealth, military might, and nuclear defense, cannot survive, regardless of how much they may pray, when its people continue to ignore the Word of God, the only true Guide that reveals how God expects us to live. We need to learn from the mistakes that the Israelites made (23:25-27). He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination (Proverbs 28:9).
Through the Passover (2 Kings 23:21-23), a type (foreshadowing) of how Jesus Christ, our Redeemer will keep us from spiritual death by His overcoming it (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:6-7; 1 Peter 1:18-19). I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).
25:12 husbandmen = farmers; 25:16 without weight = beyond measure; 25:27 lift up the head = release from prison.
Government Officials: Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) and Rep. Robert Weygand (RI) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Denmark (5 million) in northern Europe · Major languages: Danish and Faroese · Religious freedom · 92% Protestant; 1% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic; .5% cults; .1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Amidst uncertainty, seek the guidance of God (Isaiah 42:16).
Optional Reading: Romans 13
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 1:23