Read 2 Kings 23:21-25
Note the spiritual insight of King Josiah as he reinstates the Passover. The four final kings fail to serve the Lord; the Kingdom of Judah is taken captive; and the Temple is destroyed by the King of Babylon. Read with horror about what happened to the once-mighty Jerusalem.
Just twenty-three years after the death of Josiah, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was defeated, and Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. Under the reigns of its last four kings, who were mere puppets of Egypt and then Babylon, it was trodden down by successive conquests and the pitiful deportations into heathen lands. Jerusalem was invincible while its people were obedient to the Word of God. But eventually it became powerless because of sin. As a result of unfaithfulness and disobedience to the Word of God by its national immorality and violence, its people were reduced to suffering and loss of everything.
Nebuchadnezzar, with an immense army, swept down upon the northern parts of the country (Jer. 34:7) and marched directly against Jerusalem to beseige it. Eventually, the city was reduced to starvation. King Zedekiah, with his wives, children, and guards, fled through an opening that was made in the wall (II Kin. 25:4; Ezek. 12:12), but they were captured in the plains of Jericho. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon (more than 800 miles) (II Kin. 25:7). The agonizing ordeal fulfilled two prophecies that had appeared contradictory: Zedekiah would be taken to Babylon, but would not see it (Jer. 32:5; 34:3; Ezek. 12:13; 17:16-17).
How gruesome and pathetic was the fall of the previously-wonderful Kingdom of Judah! At that time in history, only Judah was known as the worshipers of Jehovah God, and the prophets that God used to provide the Old Testament lived there. We need to see the handwriting on the wall. The United States is recognized as worshipers of the One True God. But, like the Kingdom of Judah before its destruction, our sins betray our trust.
This great nation, known throughout the world as a Christian nation, cannot survive if its people continue to reject God and His righteousness. Isaiah warns of the futility of trying to escape judgment if we do no repent: Let now the astrologers, the stargazers . . . save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame (Is. 47:13-14).
Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required (Luke 12:48).
Thought for Today:
Through the Passover (II Kin. 23:21-23), which, as a type, foreshadowed Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Passover Lamb, who delivers us from spiritual death through His sacrificial death. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Rev. 1:18).
25:12 husbandmen, farmers; 25:16 without weight, beyond measure; 25:27 lift up the head, release from prison.
Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Audrey Hash • Staff: Bill Beach • Government Official: Rep. Mike Kelly (PA) • Country: French Guiana (168,000) on the northern coast of South America • Major language: French • Religious freedom • 85% Christian; 9.5% non-Religious/Other; 2% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray when you are afflicted and suffering (James 5:13).
Optional Reading: Romans 13
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 3:22