Scripture text for Friday, February 26th, 2010: 2 Kings 25:1-25:30
Is God losing patience with you?
In 609 B.C., the last “good king” of Judah–King Josiah–died. Josiah “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength.” (2 Kings 23:25) Josiah recognized that being one of God’s chosen people was a privilege that should not be taken for granted.
Unfortunately, Josiah’s descendants did not have the same understanding. Their willingness to accept other gods and worship idols fueled God’s ever-growing anger with Jerusalem. Scripture makes it clear that Josiah’s sons (Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah) all became rulers of Jerusalem who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (see 2 Kings 23:32; 2 Kings 23:37, 2 Kings 24:9, and 2 Kings 24:19). Josiah had ruled Jerusalem for over 30 years, following the Lord’s commandments. His sons ruled Jerusalem for another 30 years afterward, continually falling farther and farther away from their father’s covenant with God. 2 Kings 24:20 finally says, “It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.”
Jerusalem fell because God had lost patience with its people and its rulers. When God loses his patience in chapter 25 of 2 Kings, the consequences are severe. King Zedekiah’s eyes are gouged out, but not before he is forced to watch his family murdered. Everything the tribe of Judah had built is burned to the ground, and its people are either killed or forced into servitude. Despite warnings that God was not happy with their actions, Josiah’s sons continued to follow the same path away from God that many of their ancestors (Ahaz and Manessah, for example) had followed. What was once a nation of privilege, a people who had been favored by God for generations, was completely destroyed.
As followers of Christ, we have the same responsibility to follow God’s law that Jerusalem had. When we disobey God’s commandments, God is rightly angry with us. We are called to “love the lord [our] God with all [our] heart, and with all [our] soul, and with all [our] mind” (Deut 6:5, Matthew 22:37). We may live in a fallen world, but we are privileged to be part of God’s kingdom. That’s a privilege we must not take lightly.
Devotion prepared by Kelly Blanchard