Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 1 2019 - 2 Kings 24:18-25:26 – The fall of Jerusalem

Faithful Josiah was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz who seems to have been intent on reversing the reforms of his father. His kingship was cut short by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt who took him off in captivity in chains. Neco appointed Jehoiakim, another of Josiah's sons, as king over Judah, but he seems to have been as bad as his brother in leading the people back into idolatry. Jehoiakim was succeeded by his son, Jehoiachin. During his reign Jerusalem was besieged by the Babylonians. Eventually, Jehoiachin surrendered to the king of Babylon and was taken captive. The treasures of the temple were plundered and Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, was appointed as puppet king by the Babylonians.

This is where we pick up the story in today's reading. Zedekiah proves as faithless as his nephew, "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done" (2 Kings 24:19). So the Lord determined to pour out his judgment on Jerusalem and its evil kings. Here is how it came about.

After eleven years, Zedekiah rebelled against the rule of Babylon. 2 Kings 25 tells of how the army of Babylon came and destroyed Jerusalem and its temple and captured Zedekiah. His sons are put to death in front of him, the last thing he will ever see, for his eyes are then gouged out. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are then led away into captivity in Babylon.

A kingdom has been destroyed because of the faithlessness and wickedness of its kings.

God's purpose is not to destroy his people but to stir them up to turn back to him and seek his salvation. One such prayer is heard in Psalm 74:

O God, why have you rejected us forever?
   Why does your anger smoulder against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
   the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed –
   Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
   all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary...

Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD,
   how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
   do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
   because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
   may the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;
   remember how fools mock you all day long.
Do not ignore the clamour of your adversaries,
   the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually. (vv. 1-3, 18-23)

Ultimately, this cry for God to act in salvation is answered in the Lord Jesus. He is the Christ, the faithful son Of David, the one who brings Israel's captivity and exile to an end. It is because of his faithfulness to God's calling that he shall reign over a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.

Gracious Father, you have given your Son for us that we might never be banished from your presence. Fill us with joy as we live under the reign of our Saviour-king, Jesus Christ. Keep us faithful in the work of his kingdom.

Peter Misselbrook