Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11 - 2 Kings 25

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 25. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Here we get the conclusion of the 1 and 2 Kings books of the Bible, which detail a certain period of the history of God's people. After having God establish them as a nation, and bless them, but warn them that there would be consequences if they turned from Him, in this chapter we see the final ugly result of God's people's rebellion against his love and leadership.
  • There are several other books of the Bible which describe the same time and events as we read about here in 2 Kings 25. Comparing them is interesting. For example, the prophet Ezekiel (in Ezekiel 12:13) predicted that Zedekiah would be brought to Babylon, but not see it (which we see fulfilled here in verse 7). And we learned that Zedekiah could have prevented all of this happening to himself and to Jerusalem if he had listened to the prophet Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 38:14-28).
  • The Israelites of Judah being taken from their land and led into captivity (see verse 21) was a promised consequence of disobedience to God (see Leviticus 26:33 and Deuteronomy 28:36).
  • If you want to read more detail on the assassination of Gedaliah (see verse 25) check out the book of Jeremiah, 40:13 - 41:15.
  • We don't know why the new king of Babylon showed kindness to Jehoiachin (verses 27-30), but it does allow the book of 2 Kings to end on a hopeful note.
  • There are other books in the Old Testament of the Bible (such as Nehemiah) that go on to tell what happened after the events of 2 Kings, including the return of the Israelites from captivity to Jerusalem.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God established the Israelites as a (political, temporary) nation of His people. He promised to bless them if they stayed faithful to Him, but that they would be cursed if they didn't stay faithful to Him (see, for instance, Deuteronomy 28). The Israelites ignored God reaching out to Him, lived in disobedience to His commands, and so were led into captivity. Let's compare that to us. God has established Christians (those who put their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord) as a (spiritual, eternal) "nation" of His people. He promises to bless us if we stay faithful to Him, but that we will be cursed if we do not. Jesus warned that if we ignore God reaching out to us and live in disobedience to His commands, we will be led into an eternal captivity in Hell. (To see some of Jesus' warnings about Hell, check out: Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29, Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 7:13, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25:26-30, Matthew 25:41-46, Mark 9:42-48, Luke 12:42, Luke 16:19-31).
    • When we read of the Israelites, it seems incredulous that they disobeyed God and gave their allegiance to lesser things, especially considering the fact that they were warned of the consequences.
    • But do we also disobey God and give our allegiance to lesser things, even though we've been warned of the consequence.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • God has promised to bless you (in this life, and especially in eternity) if you make Him your God and stay faithful to Him, and God has warned you that there are consequences (in this life, and especially in eternity) if you don't make Him your God and don't stay faithful to Him. Like the Israelites, it's easy to get blinded by this world and to stop seeing God and His truth, and then to stop living for God. But let's not make the same mistake they did. The consequences are too severe, and too severe.
    • What do you need to do to keep God as your number one priority?
    • What do you need to do to help you live faithfully and obediently to Him?
    • Do it.