Wednesday, May 10, 2023

2023.05.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 23:28–24:20

Read 2 Kings 23:28–24:20

Questions from the Scripture text: What are written where (2 Kings 23:28)? Who helped whom, where, in Josiah’s days (2 Kings 23:29)? When Necho had to pass through Israel to get there, what did Josiah do? With what result? What did Josiah’s servants do with the body (2 Kings 23:30)? Who took whom to replace him? What did they do to him? Who became king in 2 Kings 23:31? How old was he, and how long did he reign? What was his mother’s name? What did he do, in Whose sight (2 Kings 23:32)? According to what? Who did what to him in 2 Kings 23:33? What did Necho impose on the land? Whom did Necho make king in whose place (2 Kings 23:34)? To what did he change his name? What did Necho do with Jehoahaz? Who paid the imposed tribute (2 Kings 23:35)? How did he come up with the money? How old was he when he became king (2 Kings 23:36)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do in Whose sight (2 Kings 23:37)? According to what? Who came up in his days (2 Kings 24:1)? How did Jehoiakim respond to this? For how long? Then what? Who(!) sent whom against him (2 Kings 24:2)? To do what to Judah? According to what word? How does 2 Kings 24:3 emphasize the reason this happened? Whose sin, particularly, had led to this (cf. 2 Kings 21:16)? And what else had Manasseh done (v4)? What wouldn’t the Lord do? What are written where (2 Kings 24:5)? What happens to Jehoakim in 2 Kings 24:6? Who reigns in his place? What no longer happens in 2 Kings 24:7? Why not? How old was Johiachin when he became king (2 Kings 24:8)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do in Whose sight (2 Kings 24:9)? According to what? Who came up at that time (2 Kings 24:10)? Against where to do what? Who shows up in 2 Kings 24:11? Who respond in 2 Kings 24:12? By doing what? And what does Nebuchadnezzar do in which year of his own reign (2 Kings 24:12-13)? What did Nebuchadnezzar do to whom in 2 Kings 24:14? Which people in particular? Whom did he leave? Whom else did he take where (2 Kings 24:15)? How does 2 Kings 24:16 catalog this exile? Whom does the king of Babylon make king in 2 Kings 24:17? How was he related to Jehoiachin? To what did the king of Babylon change Mattaniah’s name? How old was Zedekiah when he became king (2 Kings 24:18)? How long did he reign? What was his mother’s name? What did he do in Whose sight (2 Kings 24:19)? According to what? Why did all of these bad kings and defeats and exiles happen (2 Kings 24:20)? Until he had done what? What does Zedekiah do at the end of verse 20? 

How did God finally punish Judah? 2 Kings 23:28–24:20 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord punished His people by giving them evil kings who not only continued to offend God but were also unskilled leaders, suffering defeat and destruction. 

How to read this history. 2 Kings 24:2–4 and 2 Kings 24:20 must control how we read this history. Others may get excited about the decline of Assyria, the rise of Babylon, the last gasp of Egypt, and the smaller players jockeying to fill various vacuums in the midst of it all. But, the Spirit gives us interpretive comments to keep us from getting wrapped up in all of that. It is not geo-politics but God-pleasing that matters in history. Necho and Nebu may think that it’s all about them, but they’re only permitted whatever power will suit the plan of the history of redemption. 

Point of no return. We’ve seen this once, already, when Josiah sought the Word of Yahweh, and the Lord responded that indeed the curses threatened in Deuteronomy were now coming irreversibly, as soon as Josiah died. But here it is again in (2 Kings 24:3); Manasseh was the tipping point. It is dangerous to offend the Lord and take grace for granted. Particularly for churches and nations, there’s a point where God has glorified His patience as much as He is willing and turns instead to glorify the justness of His wrath. Now, Josiah is dead (2 Kings 23:28–30), and the destruction ensues. 

Either a household, a church, or a nation is reforming and repenting, or it is backsliding and hardening. There is no neutral, which the Bible calls lukewarm, and God describes as vomitous. And, frighteningly, if one of these is not reforming/repenting, it cannot know how close it is to that point of no return. It is essential to the life of a covenantal body that it actively seek to please the Lord, in dependence upon His grace. 

For individuals, there is a similar dynamic. There is a point at which the Lord stops giving the mercy of the pricked conscience, the terrors of Hell, the sense/curiosity that God might be desirous and glorious. When there is no repentance and faith, there is the terrible danger that one is reaching the point when God leaves him to himself. Ultimately, nothing matters compared to one’s condition before God.

Boring destruction. Ostensibly, this history is full of intrigue. Necho prefers Eliakim to Jehoahaz, and renames him Jehoiakim, so that even his identity will remind him that he’s Egypt’s choice. Then Nebu prefers Mattaniah to Jehoiachin, and renames him Zedekiah, which has the same effect. Everyone’s got an agenda. But in the end, we just have four reigns in a sing-songy pattern of 3mo-11yr-3mo-11yr with the above parallels already mentioned. It’s all ho-hum, given in fairly rapid-fire narrative. Like when the northern kingdom was going down in chapter 15, now it’s Judah circling the toilet bowl. They go out not with a bang, but with a series of boring, rhyming whimpers. 

What is the most important part of the history of your household? Your church? Your nation? Your life? Why is it so dangerous to “coast” either in the Christian life, or in the life of a household, church, or nation? How are you currently participating in reformation/repentance in each of these spheres? 

Sample prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your marvelous patience. We see how patiently You bore with Judah for so many generations, and we know that You have been similarly patient with us. Forgive us for how we have taken that patience lightly. We see how Egypt, and Babylon, and Judah were all concerned with their interaction with one another, but disregarded what was most important: how they interacted with You. Forgive us for when pleasing You, in dependence upon Your grace, isn’t the great and all-encompassing concern of our church and our households. Have mercy, and do not let us decline into the repetitive pattern of those who spiral away from You. Grant to us, instead, to return to You with all our heart and always be reforming and repenting by the grace of Jesus Christ. We rejoice at the infinite value of His atoning blood, and come to You through Him alone, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP80 “Hear, O Hear Us” or TPH80B “Great Shepherd Who Leadest Thy People”

No comments:

Post a Comment