Destruction & Captivity

2 Kgs 25:1-30

Today, we come to the end of the book of second kings, and as we read we see it ending in tragedy for Jerusalem.  We had a bit more detail of how the city was captured. With the  Babylonian army surrounding the city, food was cut short. The men of war also ran away from the city, and Zedekiah, the king, too was on the run, but he was overtaken and his men scattered from him. Zedekiah was captured, and brought before the king of Babylon, to be judged. They also slew his sons right before him, and put out his own eyes.

Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard for the king of Babylon, then went to Jerusalem and burnt the house of the Lord and the king’s house, including all the houses in Jerusalem, every great man’s house. The walls of Jerusalem were also broken down, and the multitude of the people were carried away by Nebuzardan.

So, Judah was carried away out of their land, and for the few remnants, Gedaliah was made ruler.

This is definitely not the end of Judah, for God always have a plan for his people. It will however be to our own advantage to obey God and prevent the need to go into captivity for any reason in the first instance.

Some verses to remember

9-11:  And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
2Ki 25:11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

The Destruction of Judah & Captivity to Babylon

2 Kgs 24:1-20

Jehoiakim, as we learnt from yesterday, also did evil in the sight of God, unlike Josiah. In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Judah, and Jehoiakim became his servant. However after three years he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and this led to the destruction of Judah. The bands of Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites all came against Judah, and destroyed it as God foretold.

After Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin became king at the age of eighteen, he also however did evil in God’s sight. It was during this time that the king of Babylon besieged the city, took away the king, his servants, his princes, and all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king. He took all the mighty men of valour from Jerusalem, up to ten thousand captives, leaving only the poorest people in the land.

Zedekiah was then made the king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, at the age of twenty one. he reigned for eleven years and also did evil in God’s sight. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and this led to the people being fully cast out of Jerusalem before the Lord.

When God warns about pending judgment. it is for us to know that he is very serious. His people were eventually taken to captivity as he had persistently warned them due to their disobedience. their measure was full. We will do well ourselves to turn to God before it is too late.

Do it today!

Some verses to remember

13-14: And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

20  For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

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The Acts of Josiah – Away from Idolatry!

2 Kgs 23:1-37

From yesterday, despite the promise made to Josiah that the evil to come to Judah would not happen in his time, he got back and rallied all the people to make a re-commitment to God. This is a very great example from a king who was not just prepared to look after himself only, but would see his people repent, and maybe God would change his mind about destroying Judah.

Josiah did his best to destroy the altars that had been built for other gods, and other vessels of worshipping them. He went as far as defiling the altars that even Solomon built for these strange gods. Notably too was his destruction of the altar that was built at Bethel by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, thus fulfilling the prophecy gave by the man of God who spoke against Jeroboam, that one day the altar would be brought down.

Josiah reinstated the passover which had not been held from the days of the judges nor all the other kings of Israel and Judah. Josiah indeed put in his best to perform all the words of the law that were in the book Hilkiah the prophet found in the temple. he had a testimony that there was no king before or after him that turned to the Lord with all his heart. What a King!

Despite all of Josiah’s acts however, the Lord did not turn from his anger against Judah due to the sins of Mannaseh, as he had already concluded to cast off the city of Jerusalem. Josiah eventually died, having being slain by Pharaoh-nechoh of Egypt at Meggido. He was buried in Jerusalem and his son, Jehoahaz was made king in his stead.

The kings immediately after Josiah- Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, both returned to the evil ways of the kings of Judah, and indeed as God had already decided beforehand, judgment drew nigh.

Some verses to remember

3  And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

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Josiah The King of Judah

2 kgs 22:1-20

Josiah was eight years old when he became king in Jerusalem. We learnt that like his forefather, David, he did what was pleasing in the sight of God. Josiah cared about God’s temple and about God’s name. It was when he sent message through Shapan to Hilkiah the high priest for the people working on repairing the breaches of the house of God that Hilkiah sent him he book of the law which they have found.

When Josiah read he book of the law, he tore his clothes, for he could see how far Israel had departed from the rdinances of God, and he also knew the implications of this from the word of God. He then sent Hilkiah, together with Ahikam, Achbor, Shapan and Asaihiah to go inquire from the Lord about him and the people of the city, seeing they have disobeyed God. They went to Huldah the prophetess in Jerusalem, and she told them God’s verdict.

Indeed God would still bring evil upon Judah and its inhabitants as Josiah read in the book of the law, as they had forsaken God. However, because of Josiah’s attitude, his tender heart towards God and humility, he would enjoy peace in his time, and he would not witness the evil foretold. So these men went and delivered the message to the king.

What happens after this? We would continue to see Josiah’s attitude and reaction.

Some verses to rememberthe right hand or to the left.

2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to

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King Manasseh of Judah

2 Kgs 21:1-26

After Hezekiah died, Manasseh his son, reigned in his stead. We immediately see from this passage the further implications of Hezekiah’s extra fifteen years (check yesterday’s post). Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, this means that he was given birth to in the last fifteen years of Hezekiah (let’s remember that God gave him an extra fifteen year when he prayed to recover from his sickness).

Manasseh was however everything his father was not. He became a new reference for sin, idolatry and evil in the land. He undid all the good works his father had done. He built the high places again, made idols of the host of heaven and also built altars for them in God’s house. He made his son pass through fire, observed times, used enchantments, consulted with familiar spirits, and generally seduced Judah to idolatry.

Manasseh’s acts really provoked God to anger, and he pronounced judgement on Judah and Jerusalem. The people would fall to their enemies because of their sins, and their land would be taken from them. God had great expectations of his people, having delivered his laws unto them, but at this point, they had committed even greater attrocities than the people whom God drove away to give his people the land.

Do we take care to fulfil God’s expectations for our lives, or are we living the same kind of lives his enemies live?

Beware!!!

Some verses to remember

2:  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

11-12: Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.

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Hezekiah’s Sickness, Recovery and Error

2 Kgs 20:1-21

When sickness comes, such as could lead to death, we all become anxious and want to know what’s next. Isaiah told Hezekiah what was next today. He told Hezekiah to put his house in order because his sickness would lead to death. The king then turned to God in prayer, weeping his heart out, and crying to God to remember how he had walked uprightly with him. Just before Isaiah left the palace God told him to go back and tell Hezekiah he would have fifteen more years, he even gave him a sign to confirm this, with the shadow going back ten degrees. What!!!! Has God changed his mind about Hezekiah or what is happening here???

In truth, it appears as though Hezekiah’s prayer moved God to give him more years. God is very compassionate and merciful, however he is also sovereign. In this case He chose to allow Hezekiah more years, though we would soon see better later. One thing we should remember is the fact that Hezekiah ask God for what he wanted, but did he ask for God’s will to be done. After three days, Hezekiah was indeed restored as he recovered from his sickness.

We later read that Berodach-bala-dan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah when he heard he had been sick, and herein came Hezekiah’s error. He received the king’s servant and showed them all the house of his precious things, gold, silver, spices, he left out nothing that he did not show them. When Isaiah knew the mission of these Babylonians, he foretold the captivity of Judah, a time when all the treasures that Hezekiah had shown this people would be carried away to Babylon, along with Hezekiah’s sons. Should all these have happened???

Well, God knows bests! He allowed peace to reign in Hezekiah’s time, and we could argue that had he not had fifteen more years, he would not have flaunted his treasures to the Babylonians. How do you submit to God’s will? How do you see things from his own perspective and not from yours? It could make the whole difference in your perception and interpretation of life.

Some verses to remember

3  I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.

17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

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Hezekiah’s Prayer and Victory over Assyria

2 Kgs 19:1-37

From yesterday, we saw Assyria besiege Jerusalem, and through Rabshakeh, threatening to destroy the whole land. He even went as far as telling the people that they should not allow Hezekiah lead them to believe God would deliver them, the gods of the other lands had been “helpless” when Assyria took the lands.

When Hezekiah was told about all the  threats, he rent his clothes and went into God’s house to pray. He also sent servants to Isaiah, who reassured him that he should not be afraid, God would send a blast, and the king of Assyria would hear a rumour and go back to his own land.

It however did not happen as easily, for we learnt that later, Sennacherib sent another letter to Hezekiah threatening him further, telling him that God would not save him from his hand. At this juncture, Hezekiah took the letter and went into the temple, he laid the letter down before God and prayed. What a king! If current day leaders would hold God as important as Hezekiah did in national affairs, things would definitely be a lot better. In this military issue, Hezekiah called upon the name of the Lord, ad God sent Isaiah to him again, giving him assurance that Sennacherib would not enter the city but return to his own land.

God stepped into action on behalf of Judah, as his angel went through Assyrian host and smote up to 185,000 men before morning. When Sennacherib saw this, he departed from Jerusalem. He was eventually murdered by his own sons, while worshipping his god. Judah’s God delivered them but Sennacherib’s god could not deliver him.

God gives victory when we put our trust in Him. He has promised that he would fight our battles and we would hold our peace. What threats are you receiving today? present them all before God, for he can deal with those who want to deal with you.

Some verses to remember

14: And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.

20: Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

35:  And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

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Hezekiah the King of Judah

2 Kgs 18:1-37

Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz began to reign in Judah at twenty five years old, and he was said to do what was right in the sight of God like David. He removed the high places and destroy the images the people worshipped. He also trusted God and kept his commandments, so God was with Hezekiah and prospered him, giving him victory over the Philistines and helping him resist the king of Assyria.

In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign however, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against and took all the fenced cities of Judah.  This forced Hezekiah to give him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the king’s house. The king of Assyria however still sent his men, Tartan, Rabsaris and Rabshakeh, and a great host with them against Jerusalem.

Rabshakeh then spoke very fearful words to the men on the wall of the city, speaking out threats, and asking them not to believe Hezekiah would deliver them from the great host of the Assyrians. He reminded them that Israel was powerless against Assyria, as well as the other nations, and that Judah would be no exception. At Hezekiah’s command, his men did not say any word to Rabshakeh as the chapter ends.

What happened after all these threats, with this great host against Judah? We would soo find out as we continue.

Some verses to remember

3-5: And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

19 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?

Ahaz the King of Judah

2 Kgs 16: 1-20

This chapter starts with Ahaz son of Jotham becoming king of Judah. Like those before him, he also did not do what was pleasing in the sight of God, even making his son pass through fire like the heathens did.

We also learnt of the war between Ahaz and Pekah the king of Israel, who enlisted the help of Rezin the king of Syria. These two kings could however not overcome Ahaz, as he also formed alliance with Tiglath-pileser the king of Assyria. He gave Tiglath-pileser silver and gold from the temple and king’s house treasuries, and he in turn conquered Damascus for Ahaz, killing Rezin.

Ahaz’s idolatry was made pronounced again when he visited Tiglath-pileser in Damascus and saw an altar there. He desired the strange altar so much that he sent its design to Urijah the priest to build a similar one in Jerusalem. He gave orders to the priest that the offerings should be made on this new altar, and he even moved some of the items for the Lord’s house to be used with his new altar. Ahaz wanted to start inquiring from this altar rather from the altar of God.

God is a jealous God, and he has commanded not to have any other gods beside him. What are the things you are establishing in your life to take the place of God. The world has a lot of distractions, lures of riches and other things that might want to take God’s place, will you allow them?

Ahaz died eventually and Hezekiah his son succeeded him. However, up till now, we still read about his deeds of disobedience to God and his idolatry. What would be said of you after you have long gone? Will be be a man like David after God’s heart?

Some verses to remember

10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.

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Amaziah King of Judah

2 Kgs 14:1-29

Amaziah the son of Joash, began to reign in Judah at twenty five years old. We learnt that he did what was right in the sight of God, though not like David did. The high places were still not removed and people continued to offer sacrifices there.

As soon as Amaziah was established, he slew those who murdered his father, though he preserved their children. He also had victory in war over Edom, taking Selah and renaming the land. Amaziah then challenged Jehoash the king of Israel to war, but the latter declined, warning Amaziah to revel in his victory over Edom but not get his hear lifted up unnecessary. When Amaziah insisted, the two kings went to war, and Jehoash defeated Amaziah. though he did not kill him, he broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and also took away much treasures from the temple and the kings house.

Jehoash returned to Samaria, died there, with Amaziah reigning in Judah fifteen years afterwards. Amaziah was eventually conspired against and murdered. Azariah, his sixteen year old son, was made king in his stead. He had a major achievement of building Elath and restoring it to Judah before his death.

The chapter ends by talking briefly of Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash, who was reigning in Israel. Like the first Jeroboam, he also sinned against God. It was however surprising that despite this, because of God’s mercy on his people, he still used Jeroboam to save his people, for he saw their afflictions.

God works in diverse ways, some mysterious at times. Amaziah a “good” king was defeated by Jehoash, Jeroboam a “sinful king” was used to rescue his people. God’s wisdom pass understanding, he works according to his purpose, and is no respecter of men, he could use anyone, even the evil, to accomplish his purpose and bring glory to his name.

Some verses to remember

13-14 And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.

26-27 For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.

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