Wednesday, April 05, 2023

2023.04.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 21:1–16

Read 2 Kings 21:1–16

Questions from the Scripture text: Who became king at what age, for how long, where (2 Kings 21:1)? Who was his mother? What did he do (2 Kings 21:2)? In Whose sight? According to what sorts of acts? Of whom? What had Yahweh done to them? What three things did he do in 2 Kings 21:3? Unlike whom, and like whom? Where, specifically, did he build altars (2 Kings 21:4)? Why was this city so special? For whom did he build them (2 Kings 21:5)? In Whose house? What four other sins did he add to his idolatry (2 Kings 21:6)? What did he put where in 2 Kings 21:7? Who had made it? Why was this building special? What had Yahweh said that He would do for His people (2 Kings 21:8)? Upon what condition? But what had Yahweh’s people done instead (2 Kings 21:9)? How does verse 9 describe Manasseh’s leadership in this? Whom had they outdone with evil? By whom did Who speak (2 Kings 21:10)? What does He say that He is responding to (2 Kings 21:11)? Whom had Manasseh outdone (cf. Genesis 15:16)? How does 2 Kings 21:12 introduce the sentencing? What will He bring upon them? Of what intensity? To whom does He compare them in 2 Kings 21:13? How does He describe the comparative completeness of the destruction that He is about to bring upon them? What does He call them in 2 Kings 21:14? But what will He do in relation to them? To whom will he give them instead? What will the enemies do with them? What have they done (2 Kings 21:15)? From when until when? What else did Manasseh do (2 Kings 21:16)? How does verse 16 emphasize his similarity to Jeroboam son of Nebat?

How did Manasseh and Judah so greatly provoke the Lord to wrath upon their nation/church? 2 Kings 21:1–16 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Manasseh’s provocations against the Lord were so great because he not only spurned the Lord’s image in man by murder, but even spurned the Lord Himself by idolatry, despite being entrusted with the place and the worship with which the Lord had specifically identified Himself. 

In Genesis 15:16, the Lord told Abraham that He was waiting to destroy the Amorites until their sin was complete. So, when 2 Kings 21:11 says that Manasseh “has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him,” after reminding us in 2 Kings 21:9 that he “seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom Yahweh had destroyed before the children of Israel,” there are two things by which to be greatly impressed: (1) the greatness of Manasseh’s sin, (2) the greatness of Yahweh’s patience.

We have no sense of the glory and holiness of God, so it’s really 2 Kings 21:6a and 2 Kings 21:16a that shock us. He made his children pass through fire and shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other.

But, as we read the passage, we find that these murders of especially heinous quality and quantity are still secondary in their evil to the idolatries. God is primary, and murder is wicked primarily because it assaults His image (cf. Genesis 9:6). The altars for Baal, the wooden image, the altars for the host of heaven, and the carved image of Asherah… the greatness of their offense is magnified by where they have been placed. The city where He has put His Name. The house where He put His Name forever.

The phrase at the end of 2 Kings 21:16 recalls for us Jeroboam the Son of Nebat: “his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of Yahweh.” Measured by the northern capital and nation (2 Kings 21:13a), the southern capital and nation deserve an even more complete version of their judgment (verse 13b). 

We read this passage and think, “how bad things finally got with Manasseh!” But 2 Kings 21:15 sobers us: “they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” Shall we not read this and weep? All of Israel’s devotion to created things, dependence upon created things, delight in created things has been a rejection of the Lord Who created them for Himself and redeemed them for Himself. And so is ours. How wicked and guilty are the grumblings of our hearts and indulging of our desires, our pride and self-reliance.

The Lord will punish idolatrous Jerusalem and Judah in such a way as to make them a spectacle unto all of idolatrous humanity (2 Kings 21:12). Throughout 1 Kings–2 Kings, we have been realizing that no king will do but Jesus. Now, this passage drives home how badly we need Jesus as King. Any other king—especially king “self”—puts us at odds with God Himself. And what He did to the Amorites, Samaria, and Jerusalem are pointers to the greatness of His wrath against our idolatry. How marvelous that King Jesus has taken upon Himself the wrath that His subjects deserve so that they may be His, and He theirs, forever!

How offensive is your dependence upon, delight in, and devotion to created things apart from or in disproportion to the Lord? How would you respond if you really saw that? What hope can such an idolater have?

Sample prayer: Lord, like Judah, Jerusalem, and Manasseh, we have provoked You to anger with our idolatries. Our despising of those made in Your image has resulted from not properly valuing You, in Whose image they are made. For the sake of King Jesus, forgive us our sin, and conform us to His perfect love of You and neighbor, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From Your Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH336 “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”

No comments:

Post a Comment