Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 11: 2 Kings 25


If you read the Bible long enough, you see a pattern develop. God's people turn to Him and prosper. In their prosperity, they forsake Him for false idols, turn to their own ways, and face the consequences. This pattern repeats over and over.

The same is true for Israel. There is a long succession of kings in Israel. All of them are flawed and have problems, just like we all do. Some are better than others. Some are just downright wicked and rebellious towards God. However, the general trend line is downward throughout the time of their reigns. Revival will come, things will turn around, but only momentarily before it heads south again.

During this time, God continually warns, corrects, and rebukes the nation. He wants them to see that judgment will come unless they repent. Finally, the time for warnings is gone and God sends a foreign nation to judge His children.

2 Kings 25 recounts the utter destruction of Jerusalem - the city of God, home of the temple. Jerusalem finally falls after a siege of 2 1/2 years. When it falls, the destruction is complete. The most important buildings are burned. Their main defense, the outer wall, is completely destroyed. The inhabitants are led on a forced march into exile in Babylon. All of their riches are taken away; the city is utterly pillaged. Finally, their leaders are executed.

None of this is a surprise. It had all been prophesied. In fact, King Zedekiah's fate shows particular insight. Jeremiah warned that he would see Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 32:4, 34:3), but Ezekiel said that he would not see Babylon (Ezek. 12:13). As his fate demonstrates, both were correct in their prophecy.

God is not secretive about His hatred of our sin and rebellion. He continually warns us, corrects us, and calls to us to return and receive His love. However, if we do not return, He also promises that our sin will be punished. This chapter is an example of the judgment of God on the sin of His people.

Apart from God's gracious intervention on our behalf, this is the destiny of us all. Our sin, allowed to grow and prosper, will utterly destroy our lives. It will rob us of everything good, strip down our carefully constructed defenses, and rob us of everything we value. Your sin demands the judgment of a holy, perfect God. He takes sin seriously; He always has and always will.

Our sin demands His judgment and wrath. Ultimately, our sin and rebellion will be punished by eternal separation from Him in Hell. But that is not God's desire. Only a wicked and perverse father would take delight in the sufferings of his children. Instead of punishing us for our sins, God took our punishment Himself. Jesus bore the wrath of God in our place. His sacrifice satisfied the just demands for our sins.

This has always been God's plan, to overcome our sins with the sacrifice of Jesus. He spoke of it in the Garden. He promised it to Abraham. Finally, He made the same promise to David. And here, in the bleakest of circumstances, He is working to make sure the promised Son of God will come. Even in the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, a sliver of hope remains. Jehoiachin, a descendant of David, a king of Israel, sits at the table of the king of Babylon. God provides for him in the midst of the destruction of sin. One day, God will provide for us, too. Jehoiachin's descendants will keep alive the seed of David. They will give birth to the Son of God, Jesus. He will be our sacrifice to appease the wrath of a holy God. He will be our hope and salvation. He is the one who rescues us from the destiny we deserve and provides us with the life God desires.

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