Today you should read: 2 Kings 24
In today’s passage, God responds to the evil deeds of men. Beginning with Jehoiakim rebelling, and ending with his successor’s successor also doing what is evil, this chapter is tough to get through. I found myself being hopeful that, eventually, a king would heed God’s commands and not lead his people astray, but each king in this chapter was a disappointment. God sent armies to overthrow Jehoiakim when he rebelled, and then his son, Jehoiachin, took over. This reminds me that all things are temporary, even and especially positions of power. They’re temporary gifts that we should use to honor the Lord instead of elevating ourselves. Jehoiakim was a vicious king whose evil deeds would not go unnoticed by the All-Seeing God.
Here are two lessons I’d like to focus on today:
- Sin blinds us to the things of God and the attacks of the enemy.
Jehoiakim was a rebellious, sinful king; following the Lord was not his goal. He was blinded by sin and self-importance. Very many kings throughout this book have been the same way. He couldn’t have anticipated the bands of armies coming for him; he was weak and his kingdom fell. Before long he “slept with his fathers, [joined all those who had died before him] and Jehoiachin, his son, reigned in his place,” (v. 6) All the wealth and power he’d amassed was no longer his, but passed down to his son, who hardly held onto it himself.
Your wealth and power simply won’t last forever. Don’t be blinded by the sin in your life, thinking that things like power, pleasure, and wealth are treasures. Things like that were never meant to satisfy you. Worse, they’re traps that will make you vulnerable to enemy attacks. Doing what is evil, you may not realize what forces are coming in to siege your camp. Be wise. Surrender your idols to draw near to God, the only one who is the Everlasting, Superior Treasure.
- Patterns of sin or rebellion to God in our lives will likely reap patterns of sin in those who depend on our leadership.
Jehoiakim inherited his rebelliousness from those who had gone before him. (23:36) If you followed his genealogy, you’d probably find even more kings after Jehoiachin and Zedekiah who failed to lead in godly ways. The biggest issue here is idolatry of self. The kings in this chapter were prideful, desiring only to further their own kingdoms. They were ineffective leaders both for their kingdoms and their sons. Their children followed naturally in their folly. The chapter ends with a new king, Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, doing evil in the sight of God. The pattern continues.
We all have a sinful nature, thanks to being the offspring of Adam, but thanks be to God who, through Jesus Christ, gives us the victory over sin and death, implanting in us a new nature, capable and equipped to live righteously! The pattern doesn’t have to persist!
Posted by: Taylor Gilliam, Ministry Intern- West Campus