Today’s readings are 2 Kings 20-22
Today we will rejoice as we read of King Josiah, one of my FAVORITE Kings of Judah – one that we all have MUCH in common with.
Take a deep breath, we’re diving in!
2 Kings 20:1 tells us that king Hezekiah, one of the rare kings who walked in obedience to YHWH, became sick and was at the door of death. So Isaiah the prophet tells him that he is going to die. What does Hezekiah do? He turns to the wall and begins praying. I see this as him turning his back to the world and his face to YHWH.
2 Kings 20:12-15 Where exactly did Hezekiah go wrong? In these passages, a significant event takes place that causes YHWH to declare a punishment which will have some of Hezekiah’s descendants living as servants to the king of Babylon! What happened exactly?
There are actually a lot of theories on this but I’m going to focus on the two that I feel are intertwined and the most plausible. I encourage you to do your own research, pray about it, and seek the truth for yourself. But you should also know that it is okay not to know everything. Many of these mysteries I just tuck in my back pocket and keep my focus on what the Father has revealed because goodness knows that keeps me busy enough!
Sidenote: Regarding not knowing everything. Never be afraid to admit that. I see a lot of proud people who can never admit they don’t possess the knowledge of the Almighty Himself. As far as our witness goes, this makes us ineffective and actually sends people away rather than attracts them. Instead, if you’re ever asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, I want to encourage you to respond, thoughtfully, with something like “That is a really good question. I don’t know the answer right now but I look forward to searching the Scriptures and finding out what God says.” <- Answers like that will earn you respect.
So the first theory is that Hezekiah was being boastful. This enemy king sends an envoy to bring gifts of celebration to congratulate the Hezekiah’s recovery and the text tells us that Hezekiah welcomes them. Not only that, but he shows them every bit of treasure and all his possessions. Not only is this betraying any advantage he may have had, but most see this as him being boastful.
Theory #2 Historians of the time state that the king of Babylon was there to seek an alliance with Hezekiah against Assyria. Recall that in 2 Kings 20:6 YHWH told us that He, Himself, would defend Judah against Syria. I wonder if it is possible that word of this got back to the king of Babylon? Either way, as they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But also, here we have the king of Judah openly welcoming the kingdom of Babylon. This appears to be a slap in the face of YHWH.
Personally, I think both of these theories, together, are likely what happened. The tragic thing is, up until this point, Hezekiah was a King after YHWH’s heart! And now, having just come from being delivered from his ailment and given new life, he relishes in the favor of Babylon.
Now think about Messiah, and how He gives us new life – how often do we, then, turn from him and relish in the favor of Babylon?
2 Kings 20:19 breaks my heart. Judgement is pronounced against Hezekiah and he shrugs it off, content that it will be upon his descendants rather than himself. It makes my heart sink to even think about it.
I want to take a break here and remind you that the Father blesses the descendants of those who walk in His ways. The way you live your life, now, today, these hours you are spending reading and studying His word, they will bless your children and your grandchildren and your neighbors and everyone else who comes into your life. He will bless them through you and because of you. AMEN!
2 Kings 21:1-4 shows us another king, Manasseh, who not only does what is evil in the site of YHWH , but he REBUILDS The high places that were torn down! He goes on to build altars in the temple and then pretty much goes down an entire list of things we are told not to do, complete with gruesome child sacrifice, checking each one off as he does them.
8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 2 Kings 21:8
This behavior of King Manasseh is a direct result of YHWH’s people not heeding His repeated “IF/THEN” commandments and declarations.
However, even though Manasseh was one of the worst kings Israel had ever had, he ended up coming to know and serve the Father later in his life. You can read about this in 2 Chronicles 33. Glory to YHWH! No one is beyond His reach if they will turn to Him!
2 Kings 21:14 shows us YHWH forsaking His remnant. In our western “all about me” mindset we think this is harsh. But we overlook 2 Kings 21:15:
because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.”
This was a direct result of their actions, of choices they made, repeatedly. This is not what YHWH wants to do. He WANTS us to return to Him. He wants to be our God. But when we repeatedly spurn His wisdom, when we choose to set ourselves apart from Him (exempting ourselves from His commandments), He does exactly what He said He would do.
2 Kings 21:16 = see Matthew 5:19
2 Kings 21:22 shows us King Amon, another evil king, and a key action he took.
He abandoned YHWH, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of YHWH. 2 Kings 21:22
The key here is who abandoned whom. Humans have a propensity of abandoning YHWH and His ways and then rather than accept that they have brought this about, they like to turn the tables and claim that it was YHWH who abandoned them.
2 kings 22:8 ..”I have found the book of the law in the temple of YHWH…”
The transliterated word here (if you check out interlinear on Biblehub https://biblehub.com/interlinear/2_kings/22-8.htm ) instead of law is actually Torah. There is some debate about whether or not “law” is the best interpretation for this word and personally, I think it depends on what exactly you are referring to, but in general I believe (along with many Bible scholars) that “Teachings” is a better word than law.
(Plus, if you tell anyone that YHWH has laws that need to be obeyed, they freak out. We’re totally cool with our country having so many laws that no one can even tell us an accurate count -estimates are well over 50,000. But even hint that the Creator of the universe might have a few rules He plans on enforcing and people lose their wigs. So let’s stick with “teachings” )
Torah refers to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In these books we find the history of all things and the personal words: teachings, instructions, commandments- of YHWH Himself.
With all of this in mind, and having read it ourselves and seen firsthand how much personal knowledge of our Father He reveals to us in these books, we can only begin to scratch the surface of how important these five books are to mankind in general, believers especially.
Josiah was already doing what was right in YHWH’s eyes (2 Kings 22:2) and walking in the way of David, as well as he knew how. And then, the Father stepped in and filled in the details, allowing Josiah to walk even closer to how the Father desired – by allowing the High Priest to find a Torah scroll (whether it was one or many, we aren’t told).
Josiah heard the words of this book and realized that he had not been living according to it, nor his forefathers and he was greatly distressed. Although it is worthy of note that the Father already considered Josiah to be righteous for his heart being wholly after YHWH.
But isn’t that the sign of a righteous man? He followed YHWH to the best of his knowledge and ability and when he realizes that he has inadvertently sinned against the Father by not doing all that is required of him, he grieves, repents, and immediately steps in line.
THAT IS WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE TODAY! When we opened this book, we were handed a scroll, and as we read it and see what we have neglected due to our own lack of knowledge, we are grieving, repenting, and stepping in line!
And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before YHWH, to walk after YHWH and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant. 2Kings 23:3
May we respond just as Josiah did!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!