DISASTER – OR NOT?
Lord, teach me to accept Your teaching and Your correction in my life. Shape me into who You want me to be.
Read 2 Chronicles 36:2–23
Jehoahaz King of Judah
2 Jehoahaz[a] was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. 3 The king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents[b] of silver and a talent[c] of gold. 4 The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Eliakim’s brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God. 6 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also took to Babylon articles from the temple of the Lord and put them in his temple[d] there.
8 The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.
Jehoiachin King of Judah
9 Jehoiachin was eighteen[e] years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 10 In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the Lord, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle,[f] Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Zedekiah King of Judah
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Fall of Jerusalem
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians,[g] who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
a 2 Chronicles 36:2 Hebrew Joahaz, a variant of Jehoahaz; also in verse 4
b 2 Chronicles 36:3 That is, about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons
c 2 Chronicles 36:3 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms
d 2 Chronicles 36:7 Or palace
e 2 Chronicles 36:9 One Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 2 Kings 24:8); most Hebrew manuscripts eight
f 2 Chronicles 36:10 Hebrew brother, that is, relative (see 2 Kings 24:17)
g 2 Chronicles 36:17 Or Chaldeans
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTry to put yourself in the place of God as he sees the repeated failure of his people. How do you think he feels?
The story is coming to its tragic end—except that it is not the end. Josiah met his death at the hands of Pharaoh Necho (the king of Egypt in verse 4), then the Babylonians took over and things in Judah spiraled out of control until the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 B.C.
Both Kings and Chronicles see this as a direct consequence of Judah’s rebellion and idolatry; they brought it on themselves. This was not what God had wanted—so many messengers (24:19) and such little result (15; Matt. 21:33–46). God still patiently, lovingly reaches out to those who have turned their backs on him. There is always a way back for prodigals if only they will take it (Luke 15:11–32). Judgment is always something that we bring on ourselves (John 3:18). Verse 21 underlines this; the land itself was affected and needed time to recover. Human sin has far-reaching effects.
As things collapsed, the prophets (at this point, Jeremiah, as we saw yesterday) pointed to a new hope. The return from exile was a further mark of God’s grace (23). But the final and greatest act of grace was yet to be.
Are you facing any consequences for your sins? Read Hebrews 12:7–13. How does this affect your reaction toward God’s consequences and discipline?
Pray for any you know who have turned away from God, asking that they might come to their senses (Luke 15:17).
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