Good morning everyone.
In finishing up 2 Kings today, we just blew through roughly 400 years in
both the Kings books. That was a lot of names, dates, mothers, “doing evil in the eyes of the Lord”‘s, setting up and tearing down Asherah poles. Yet through it all, there were glimpses of hope in kings, people, and the presence of God. Joshiah is a bright spot in the road. While some kings reigned for a few months or a year, Josiah had the longest at 69 years. Way to go Joe! He is a great example for us to look to as a radical for the Lord.
2 Kings 14:25 Did you see the prophet Jonah made an appearance? This is the same one who heads to Nineveh to preach repentance and has a book named after himself.
2 Kings 15 We had the overthrow of the North by the Assyrians and the deportation of the people to Assyria. Sad moment. It is easy to see how the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel” get lost. They blend in with the Assyrians and, for all intents and purposes, completely lose their original identity. Recall Anna in Luke 2:36ff from the tribe of Asher. A lineage of folks from 722 BC all the way to Jesus never forgot the promise of the Messiah. Remember she was the 84 year old who never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. We need more Annas. Wanna be one? Go for it! You may get to look face to face at Jesus.
2 Kings 19 The prophet Isaiah makes his debut.
2 Kings 20:20 In 1986, Christie and I were in Jerusalem, Israel. We had the privilege and experience of walking from one end of Hezekiah’s tunnel to the other. It was really there. There were times when the water was nearly waist deep. Very cool.
The fall of the South to the Babylonians. Each of three kings were puppets placed by the Babylonian king. Each of them rebelled to those kings, much like they rebelled to Father. Jerusalem was attacked three times. Each of the attacks brought more and more destruction. Each of the attacks sent Judaians into exile in Babylon. Jehoiakim was the first in 609 BC, Jehoiachin was the second in 597, and Zedekiah was the last in 586 BC. Daniel and his buddies went in the first wave, Ezekiel went in the second, and Habbakuk went in the third.
To help me with time context, I took the picture I sent yesterday of the kings and their respective kingdoms and dates and wrote their dates of reigning in my Bible as they appeared to help me in the future. It only took a few minutes and should jog my memory about things in the future.
A short synopsis of both Kings:
The purpose of the two books of Kings is to demonstrate that the kings of Israel and Judah failed to live up to the ideals of the kingship covenant made with David. God is therefore justified in exiling his people. Just as the judges period illustrates the failure of the people to live up to God’s ideals, the monarchy period shows the failure of the kings. This failure is first evident in Solomon, after whose reign the kingdom is divided. Both resulting kingdoms are generally characterized by failure. God continues to reveal what he is like even through Kings’ failures. Sometimes he does this through judgment. Other times he does this by raising up champions or better representatives of his kingship. When Ahab and Jezebel attempt to dethrone Yahweh as Israel’s national God in favor of Baal, it is the prophet Elijah who becomes the champion of Yahweh’s kingship. In many of the biblical accounts, Elijah’s successor, Elisha is seen as a surrogate king. Elisha brings justice for the people and victory over the armies of the enemy.
The books are written from the viewpoint of the exile and seek to offer an explanation of how Israel ended up so far off-course with regard to the covenant. The narrative seems like a blur of king following king, which is exactly the effect the author desire to create. One king blends into another as the pattern of failure emerges. The author was more interested in spiritual issues and the kings’ relationship to God than in political events. The latter are reported only when they communicate something that God was doing. History is secondary to the theological purpose of tracking covenant failures. The books show how God tries to warn and guide the people. God’s role in advising and influencing the kings is represented in the prophets.
Yahweh’s kingship is supreme, and the empires are under his command. When Israel falls to the Assyrians and Judah to the Babylonians nearly a century and a half later, the prophets and the text affirm that this did not happen because Yahweh was inattentive to his people, fickle in his loyalty, or outmatched by stronger gods. Instead it was testimony to his justice. Centuries of repeated faithlessness finally reaped the harvest of his judgment just as the covenant cursed had warned. these curses had been reiterated in the dedication of the temple build by Solomon. When God’s presence leaves the temple and abandons his people the nation falls and goes into exile.
(Walton, Strauss, and Cooper, The Essential Bible Companion. 2006, Grand Rapids, Zondervan. P. 33)
I attached a picture from my charts book. There are so many references to other books as we read along. Here is a complete list of those books and where they are referenced in the Bible.
I pray the remainder of your week is good. Jesus bless you all as you seek Father’s Kingdom. See some of you Sunday. Pastor Mark.