Read II Kings 23:21 -- 25
Josiah was the last godly king of Judah before the destruction of Jerusalem. He did . . . right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of David his father (II Kings 22:2; II 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) (II Kings 23:2-3,7).
Josiah went beyond the border of Judah, into the Assyrian-controlled former Northern Kingdom, to Bethel, where Jeroboam 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 before) (23:14-16; I Kings 13:1-3).
The king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover unto the Lord your God. . . . Moreover 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, Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the Law (II Kings 23:21,24). However, most of the people continued to practice the evils promoted by Josiah's father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh during their reigns.
After the death of godly Josiah, his son Jehoahaz became king and did . . . evil in the sight of the Lord (23:32). He reigned only three months before he was imprisoned by Pharaoh, who replaced him with Jehoahaz' brother, Eliakim, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim remained king for 11 years (23:36), but he followed the popular trend of that time and also did . . . evil in the sight of the Lord (23:37).
The last four kings who followed Josiah were all puppet-rulers, appointed by and subject first to Egypt and then to Babylon.
Finally, Nebuchadnezzar marched his army into Judah and surrounded Jerusalem, eventually reducing its people to starvation. Rather than turn to God, go to the Temple, and pray, as King Hezekiah once did (19:1-4), Zedekiah tried to escape at night by digging an opening through the wall. However, as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 12:12-13; 17:20), Zedekiah and his wives and children were captured on the plains of Jericho (II Kings 25:4-7). Zedekiah was chained by the Babylonians and forced to witness the gruesome murder of all his children and all his family. It was the last thing he saw before his eyes were ruthlessly gouged out and he was led in chains like an animal to Babylon.
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 (23:25-27). He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination (Proverbs 28:9).
Christ Revealed: Through the Passover (II Kings 23:21-23). The Passover was a type (foreshadowing) of how Jesus Christ, our Redeemer will keep us from spiritual death (John 1:29; I Cor. 5:6-7; I Pet. 1:18-19).
Word Studies: 25:12 husbandmen means farmers; 25:27 lift up the head means release from prison.
Government Officials: Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) and Rep. Robert Weygand (RI) · BPM Staff: Rita Guerra · Pray for Dr. Frank Wright, Honorary President, International Bible Reading Association; Director, Center for Christian Statemanship, Washington DC · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Letha Hash's brother Henry Rogers · Country: Guatemala (12 million) in Central America · Major languages: Spanish and Indian languages · Religious freedom · 93% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to help you teach His Word to your children; it will give guidance and instruction as they go through life (Proverbs 6:20-23).
Optional Reading: Romans 13
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:13