The End Of An Era

(Today's post by Chris Queen)

2 Kings 24-25

The last two chapters of 2 Kings tell the story of the end of an era. We read about the last kings of Judah, and finally, the fall of Jerusalem. In these two chapters, one verse, 25:21, stands out in a really sad way:

So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.

For the first time since the day of Moses, God’s chosen people were not living in the land He had promised for them. After the days of David and Solomon, the kingdom divided into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah. For several decades, the kings of Judah generally followed God while Israel’s kings turned their backs on Him. Eventually God allowed foreign invaders to take the people of Israel into exile and ransack the country.

Judah’s kings drifted further and further away from God – with a few exceptions, like Hezekiah and Josiah. However, the sins of one king, Manasseh, were enough for God to allow the Babylonians to take over Judah and its people.

So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.

What led to this defeat and disgrace of the people God had promised to protect? The answer is simple – their disobedience. You can’t say they weren’t warned. In Deuteronomy 30, God made it crystal clear:

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lordis your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The Israelites chose the path of disobedience, death, and curses. And here we read that they lived in exile, separated from God spiritually, and in a way, physically.

The takeway I get from these chapters is basically this: we don’t need to forget the lessons that come from Israel’s disobedience. God offers us the blessings that come with obeying Him, and He warns of the consequences of turning our backs on Him. I pray that we all choose to obey.

 

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