Today’s Bible Reading:
2 Kings 23
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
2 Kings 22:20 (CSB): “ ‘Therefore, I will indeed gather you to your ancestors, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.’ Then they reported to the king.”
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
In 2 Kings 20:16-18, King Hezekiah was told by the prophet Isaiah that God’s judgment would come on the nation but not during his lifetime.
How did he respond? Did he mourn over the coming plight of his descendants? Not a chance! He was simply grateful that the calamity wouldn’t come during his own life. It’s as if he looked forward in time to his descendants and said: “Sorry about your luck, kids! At least it’s you and not me.”
2 Kings 20:19 (CSB): “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,’ for he thought, ‘Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?’”
When king Hezekiah died and his son, king Manasseh, assumed the throne, he was eventually taken captive by the Assyrians. He suffered the humiliation and agony of being pulled along by hooks that pierced his body on the lengthy trip to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:9-11).
Many years later, Hezekiah’s great-grandson, king Josiah had a visit from a prophet of the Lord. The prophet essentially told him that God would bring judgment on the people of Judah and Jerusalem. However, Josiah would be spared because of his repentant heart (2 Kings 22:18-20).
It’s like déjà vu. King Hezekiah and king Josiah had essentially the same prophetic message.
We know how Hezekiah responded. How did Josiah respond? Did he behave in the same way as his great-grandfather? Was he grateful that the calamity wouldn’t come in his time but demonstrate a callousness to his descendants who would suffer under that divine judgment?
Not a chance! As you read 2 Kings 23 today, you will observe that Josiah’s call for radical reform and revival was carried out in great detail. Virtually the entire chapter recounts how Josiah did a thorough purging of the land. He also informed the people of his resolve to obey the Lord’s commands and called them to do the same.
But when we come to verses 26-27, we observe something we didn’t expect. We would ordinarily think that Josiah’s task of cleaning up Judah and Jerusalem would lead God to relent. We might think that the judgment that God had promised would disappear because of the regional revival that was led by king Josiah.
If we thought that way, we would be wrong.
2 Kings 23:26-27 (CSB): “In spite of all that, the LORD did not turn from the fury of his intense burning anger, which burned against Judah because of all the affronts with which Manasseh had angered him. For the LORD had said, ‘I will also remove Judah from my presence just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, “My name will be there.” ’ ”
When did God’s judgment occur? Well, when we look back to Hezekiah’s example, we observed his indifference and then read that his son was taken captive with hooks on his way to Babylon. Now, when we look at Josiah, we realize that it was also his son who was taken captive. King Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon (2 Kings 24:11-14) and there has never been a king from David’s dynasty on Israel’s throne since then.
But, even though Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s sons were taken into captivity, only one of them did whatever he could to keep it from happening. Only one of them sought the Lord’s favor and worked for reform, drawing people back to God, in hopes that judgment would not come.
Because of this, even though Josiah’s son was judged by God, Josiah could go to the grave with a clear conscience. It wasn’t his fault. He had done all that he could to pass on a blessing to his descendants.
Friend, do you have children and/or grandchildren? If so, while you may have made peace with the Lord, do you care about the spiritual well-being of your descendants? Is what you are doing today going to set a good example for them to follow? Are you teaching them the Bible and calling them to obey its commands with all of their heart? Are you seeking the Lord and working for revival in your family and in your church so that the next generations can powerfully experience Him, drawing them into a meaningful relationship with Him?
I truly hope so. And if you are doing that, then regardless of what happens to your descendants, you can go to your grave knowing you have done all that you can to pass on a godly heritage to your posterity.
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Lord Jesus, my heart burns when I think of just how calloused and self-centered Hezekiah was. I am in utter shock when I observe how he was confronted with his own life of ease as he reflected on his children who would experience God’s judgment. I’m not OK with that. And I’m not OK with having that mindset regarding my own descendants. I want the resolve of Josiah to do whatever I can to pass on a spiritual blessing to my family who will come after me. I pray for their salvation and growth in Christlikeness and I will work to that end. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.