Highlights In Today's Reading:
Eight-year-old Josiah takes the throne, institutes religious reforms, and restores the Passover (chapters 34 — 35). Sadly the book ends with a line of evil kings: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Jerusalem is defeated by Egypt and then Babylon, and the Temple is destroyed fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer. 25:9-12; 27:6-8; 29:10; Ezra 1:1-4).
The last four kings of Judah — Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah — were evil and quickly carried the nation to its disastrous end. Jehoahaz (Shallum) (see 36:1; Jer. 22:11), the son of Josiah, succeeded his father; but he was removed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt three months later and was taken captive to Egypt (II Chr. 36:1-4; II Kin. 23:30-34). Pharaoh Neco appointed Jehoahaz' brother Eliakim, who remained loyal to Egypt, to govern and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Soon the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and then Judah. Preferring Egyptian rule, Jehoiakim rebelled — expecting the Egyptians to support him. Denounced by Jeremiah (Jer. 22:15;26:20), Jehoiakim burned Jeremiah's prophesy that had been read to the people by Baruch. Both would have been murdered but the Lord hid them (36:26). After reigning 11 years, Jehoiakim died before Nebuchadnezzar could deport him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon (II Chr. 36:6). His 18-year-old son Jehoiachin, also known as Coniah (Jer. 22:24,28; 37:1), replaced him. He reigned only three months and ten days (II Chr. 36:9) from the death of his father until the capture of Jerusalem and Nebuchadnezzar carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon (II Kin. 24:15).
Nebuchadnezzar then placed the youngest son of Josiah, Mattaniah — Jehoiachin's uncle — on the throne and changed his name to Zedekiah. He was equally as evil, reigning only as a puppet-king. During this time he also rejected the counsel of Jeremiah and refused to humble himself before the Lord (36:12). Finally, after 11 years, Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon's domination. The Lord allowed Jerusalem to be defeated — its walls torn down, its Temple looted and burned, and the survivors of the 18-month siege carried as captives to Babylon.
The long-suffering of God can be seen in that He sent the Israelites messengers, prophets, and priests because of His compassion. But they mocked the messengers, despised God's gracious offer, misused His prophets, and murdered some of them, until there was no remedy. The judgment of God at last had to be fulfilled since He also is a righteous God. The people were carried away into captivity to fulfill the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah (II Chr. 36:21; Jer. 32:43; 33:12; 25:11-14; 29:10).
Many temptations face every one of us, but the Word of God provides guidance so that we might understand the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11). We are not ignorant of his devices (II Cor. 2:11). The judgment on the Israelites is also a solemn warning that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers (Eph. 6:12).
Thought for Today:
We can rejoice that God is long suffering and patient with us, but it is a sin to assume we can take advantage of His graciousness by continued disobedience.
Through the messengers of God who were rejected by His people (II Chr. 36:15-16; compare Is. 53:3; Mark 9:12). Jesus came unto His own (own people), and His own received Him not (John 1:11; also Matt. 21:42; Mark 8:31; 12:10; Luke 9:22; 17:25; 20:17).
35:13 sod =b> boiled; 36:3 put him down =b> deposed him; condemned =b> taxed; demanded tribute; 36:10 brother =b> uncle; 36:15 rising up betimes =b> early every morning.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Government Official: Del. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam) • Country: New Zealand (4 million) two large islands southeast of Australia • Major languages: English and Maori • Religious freedom • 51% Protestant; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% cults • Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a true heart in assurance of faith (Heb. 10:22).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:31