Saturday, June 1, 2024

June 1, 2024

Jehoiakim, king of Judah, was captured by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, and he served him for three years until he rebelled against him. Nebuchadnezzar then sent his servants from several other countries against Judah. Jehoiakim died and received a burial like a donkey, and his son, Jehoiachin, became king. Jehoiachin reigned three months in Jerusalem before he, his family, and all the noblemen gave themselves up to Nebuchadnezzar, who had come against the city, captured it, and carried off the precious metals from the temple and the king's house. Nebuchadnezzar sent all the people to Babylon except a few poor people. God had enough of their shenanigans and threw them out of Judah. This timeline is during Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and some minor prophets. The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoichin's uncle, king of Jerusalem but changed his name to Zedekiah. 

A country cannot continue to provoke God to anger and expect his mercy. God's wrath comes upon the wicked. When God wants to punish a nation, he gives them an evil king, and the United States is dealing with such a king/president. Stay faithful to God; He is merciful to his children, those who've accepted his Son. Get out your popcorn; things are about to become interesting!

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. 2 Kings 24:20

Friday, May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024

Josiah might be my favorite king, aside from David and our ultimate King, Jesus. He called all the noble people and the common people of Judah and Jerusalem to come to and hear the Covenant found in the temple; they stood up to hear it read. He then restored the Passover, which hadn’t been done since the judges. Josiah made a covenant to walk after the Lord and keep his commands. 

He honored God by demolishing every high place, altar, idol, and grove. He thoroughly cleansed the temple of everything that honored other gods, slew all the priests that were involved, and burned them on their high places and altars along with other human bones to make their worship of other gods putrid to the people who worshipped there. He devoured anything and everything in Judah and Jerusalem that might have even hinted at disgust to God. Unfortunately, he died in a battle that he shouldn’t have been involved in. However, when he died, he was at peace with God, as was prophesied by Huldah, the prophetess in 2 Kings 22. His son became king in his place but was carried off to Egypt, where the Egyptian king replaced him with his brother. According to the scriptures, both of them were evil. 

Remember, our temple is our body, and anything in it that dishonors God must be removed. When we accepted Jesus, he came in and wiped it clean, so we are clean, but if we keep living our lives like we have no God and keep dishonoring Him, are we really saved? You must do an about-face and turn away from the evil you were involved in before you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Be like Josiah and remove anything that might stand in the way of your salvation. 

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. 2 Kings 23:25

Thursday, May 30, 2024

May 30, 2024

Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah. He was a good king. In the eighteenth year of his reign, he had his men go to Hilkiah, the priest, and gather the silver collected at the temple door to give to workers to make repairs. The workers were honest men who could be trusted with the money. When the work was started, Hilkiah found the book of the law that must have been hidden in a remote place in the temple. He gave the book to Shaphan, the scribe, and he took it to King Josiah and read it to him. Josiah was overcome with fear and despair and tore his clothes. He sent his men to inquire of the Lord through Huldah, the prophetess, because great was the wrath of God that was written in the book of the law, and they had neglected to follow what was written. She told them that God's wrath would be brought upon them, but because Josiah the king was sincere and overcome with grief over his people's neglect of God and His word, he would be spared of living through the torment of his wrath and would die in peace. 

How will you know that you are following God's Word if your Bible is sitting on the shelf collecting dust like the Law of Moses hidden away in the temple? You may not understand every word, but learning is a process, and wisdom comes from being diligent in your efforts to understand. Not only will it help your relationship with God, but it will also guide you in your daily life to do what is right and help you understand His ways. 

I cannot overlook that the king's men received a word from God through a woman, Huldah, the prophetess, much like their ancestors did when Deborah was their judge. 

Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. 2 Kings 22:19

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

May 29, 2024

Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, was twelve when he began to reign in Judah. He did everything opposite of Hezekiah and rebuilt all the high places, built altars to Baal, made a grove, and worshipped the host of heaven, who were likely demons. He also desecrated the temple by building altars to other gods where God’s altar should be. He allowed his sons to be burned on the altar of Baal. As a reminder, if you are not worshipping the one true God, then you are worshipping the devil and his minions. If you can’t say that Jesus is the son of God and that he is God, you are worshipping some other being. God will punish those who reject him. According to 2 Chronicles, Manasseh was bound and carried off to Babylon by the king of Assyria, where he was afflicted. There, he repented, and God sent him back to Jerusalem, where he tried to bring Judah back into worshipping God. He died and was buried in his backyard, and his son Amon began to reign. Amon was evil and put everything back in place that his dad, Manasseh, had torn down, but he only reigned for two years because his servants killed him. He was buried with his dad in his backyard. These two kings were so evil that they weren’t good enough to be buried with David. 

Use caution when emphasizing physical things more than God; worship Him in spirit and truth, and never let your pursuit of happiness outweigh your love for Him.

And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead. 2 Kings 21:18

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

God sent Isaiah to Hezekiah to tell him he would die from the boil he had and to get his house in order. Hezekiah prayed for God to heal him and give him more time, and before Isaiah was too far away, God sent him back to Hezekiah to tell him he would heal him. Hezekiah wanted a sign to know when God had healed him, and he gave him a choice to either have the shadow on Ahaz's sundial go forward or backward. Hezekiah chose backward since it would be harder to do. Hezekiah lived for fifteen more years. An interesting note is that Isaiah told him to use figs to draw the poison out of his boil, a natural remedy. I'll bet figs could be helpful for boils today.

Hearing about Hezekiah's sickness, the king of Babylon sent an envoy bearing gifts and goodwill. Hezekiah, unfortunately, allowed himself to be swayed by their flattery and decided to show them all the treasures of his kingdom. This act of pride and lack of humility, not giving God credit for his wealth, and not valuing Isaiah as the messenger of God had severe consequences. Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would carry away all the treasures of the kingdom and his sons would become eunuchs and work for the king, a harsh reminder of the importance of humility and gratitude.  

Hezekiah was a good guy and loved God, but that didn't keep him from getting sick to death. Our devotion to God doesn't ensure we won't get sick or face hard times. It also doesn't protect our children from suffering. We each have our own burdens to bear. We should look at them as Hezekiah did and understand that if God brings it, it is good, even if it causes us or our children discomfort and stress. 

Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days? 2 Kings 20:19

Monday, May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Hezekiah was overcome with grief and tore his clothes because he heard that the king of Assyria was coming after his people to take Judah into captivity. He put on sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. The priest sent word to Isaiah, the prophet, about what was happening. 

And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. 2 Kings 19:6-7

Then, the king of Assyria sent a letter telling Hezekiah not to believe what the Lord said and not to trust him; that was a bad idea! Hezekiah took the letter and spread it out before the Lord in the temple. He prayed for God to see the letter, hear what he said in private about Him, and save them from his hands. Isaiah told Hezekiah that God had heard his prayer and would defend this city, to save it, for His own sake and His servant David's sake. Then, an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and sent the king of Assyria running back home where two of his sons killed him with a sword. 

We must never underestimate what God can do or how much he loves us and righteousness. Hezekiah had brought the people back into the good graces of God, and he defended them vehemently, to the destruction of the Assyrian king and his soldiers. You would be wrong to think he will not defeat the enemy of the people in this day and age. Those who love Him will receive His mercy, and those who deny Him will receive His wrath. We can trust God and count on Him to defend those he loves. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

May 26, 2024

Hezekiah became king of Judah, and he trusted in the Lord. He was a good king. He destroyed all the high places, temples, idols, groves, and altars to prevent the people from worshipping other gods and bring them back to the temple in Jerusalem for the worship of God. The people were even burning incense to the brass serpent on a pole Moses had made in the desert; Hezekiah destroyed it because it was not a god to be worshipped. 

For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. 2 Kings 18:6

He also rebelled against the king of Assyria and didn’t serve him. Six years after Hezekiah became king, Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria. Nine years later, they came after Judah and overthrew several of Judah’s cities. Hezekiah wanted the king of Assyria to stop his invasion, so he asked him what it would take for him to leave them alone; he wanted 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. He emptied the coffers of the temple and his house, but Assyria’s king reneged and sent some of his representatives to offer them nice land in Assyria as they have in Judah.

Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. 2 Kings 18:32

Simply put, you will own nothing and be happy! Hezekiah had told his men not to answer him back; they did what they were told. The story continues into 2 Kings 19. Hezekiah didn’t give into the promises of evil but relied on the promises of God. When you trust in God, it ruffles the feathers of the devil, and he comes after you hard! Stand your ground in the strength of the Lord, and he will help you.