Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 2 Kings 21-25

Today’s devotional reading brings us to the final years before the destruction of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, and the people taken away captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.  In a testimony of His love and longsuffering, the LORD sent His prophets to prophecy God’s judgment if the people continued in their wicked ways.  Rather than heed the words of the LORD and turn from their sins, the people waxed worse and worse.

As a reminder that character in leadership does matter, the opening verses of 2 Kings 21 give testimony of the ungodly influence of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, who succeeded his father after he died.  While Hezekiah led Judah in revival (2 Kings 18:1-6), Manasseh did “evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 21:2), reviving the worship of idols, witchcraft, and sacrificing his own son (21:3-6).

The LORD sent His prophets to call the nation to repent of their sins and obey His commandments; however, the people “hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel” (21:9).

Notice the phrase, “Manasseh seduced them to do more evil” (21:9). The wicked character of the king so influenced the people their wickedness exceeded the heathen who had not known the LORD or His commandments.

Friend, character does matter and the disciplines and character of a leader will inevitably influence a home, church, community, state and nation. The ungodly character of leaders in our churches, city and county councils, state and nation in the past fifty years has eroded the core values of our homes, churches, schools and nation. Like none other in my opinion, former President Barack Obama and his administration conducted a systematic warfare on spiritual and traditional family values from which, without a nationwide revival, our schools, communities and nation may never recover.

Returning to our study of 2 Kings 21, the LORD sent His prophets to warn the nation God had determined to deliver Judah to “become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies” (21:10-14).   Amon, a son of Manasseh, continued in his father’s wicked ways and was assassinated by his servants (21:20-23).

Proving every generation bears its individual responsibility before the LORD, Josiah, son of Amon and grandson of Manasseh, succeeded his father; however, he did not follow in his wicked ways. We read, Josiah “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (22:2).

Josiah’s reign offered a temporary reprieve from God’s judgment and the young king directed the repairing and spiritual and physical cleansing of the Temple (22:2-6).   A testimony of Josiah’s influence on the nation is the testimony of those repairing the Temple: “there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully” (22:7).  You see, a leader’s character does matter!

Revealing how far the nation strayed from the LORD, workers discovered the Law of the LORD as they cleansed and repaired the Temple (22:8-10).  When the Law was read before Josiah, the king responded in an act of humility renting his clothes and commanding the priest and scribes to seek the will of the LORD concerning the nation (22:11-14).

Because he had humbled himself, God promised Josiah he would not see God’s judgment on Judah in his lifetime (22:15-20). Moved by God’s grace, Josiah commanded the reading of God’s Law before the nation’s leaders, made a covenant between himself and the LORD (23:1-3), and directed the destruction of idols and places of idolatry throughout the land (23:4-24).

Following Josiah’s death, the consequences of Judah’s sins fell upon the nation as God promised and a rapid succession of kings followed (23:31—37; 24:1-1-16) with Nebuchadnezzar decimating the nation removing not only its treasures, but also its leaders.

2 Kings 25 records the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the final days of the nation.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

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