Summary: Even though God is compassionate, gracious and slow to get angry, if we continue to live in sin, we will ultimately experience the consequences of those choices.
THE STORY OF KINGS AND PROPHETS #6: THE KINGDOM’S FALL
“And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” (2 Chron. 36:15-16, NKJV).
• This is an apt summary of the period of the kings and the prophets.
• First of all, God loved His people and continually called them to repent.
• In the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 20 out of 20 kings were evil.
• After 208 years, they went into exile to Assyria in 722 B.C. leaving only Judah.
• In the Southern Kingdom of Judah, at least 8 out of 20 kings were good.
• However, they refused to change their ways, until God finally said enough is enough.
• After 350 years, in 586 B.C. they would finally fall to the Babylonians.
THE BIG IDEA: Even though God is compassionate, gracious and slow to get angry, if we continue to live in sin, we will ultimately experience the consequences of those choices.
1. THE REIGN OF WICKED KING MANASSEH:
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem… And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed…” (2 Kings 21:1-3).
• Manasseh did more evil in the eyes of God than any other king.
• God could not continue to bless Judah while they continued to rebel.
• There had to be consequences for their sins: “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle.” (2 Kings 21:11-12).
• So after Manasseh died, he had a son named Amon who was wicked like his father.
• Then Josiah his son became king when he was 8 years old (2 Kings 22:1).
• Josiah was the only good king out of the final 6 kings of Judah. He rebuilt the temple and found a Bible and started a revival in the hearts of the people.
• God said to Josiah: “because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the Lord. Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22:19-20).
• Because Josiah was good, God postponed His judgment on Judah.
• When we walk in righteousness and holiness, it affects more lives than just our own!
• God’s purpose in his relationship with Israel was always to demonstrate that he loves people and wants them to come back into relationship with him.
2. THE SEIGE OF BABYLON AGAINST JERUSALEM AND JUDAH:
After Josiah died, the next three kings were Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin.
“At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it.” (2 Kings 24:10-11).
• The Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and destroyed Jerusalem and Judah in 586 B.C. taking prisoners into exile. Only poor people were left in the land.
• King Neb. made Zedekiah the new and final king of Judah.
• The fall of Israel and Judah are hard stories but they teach us valuable lessons of faith.
• In the midst of judgment God always offers a promise of hope.
3. THE WEEPING PROPHET JEREMIAH:
“4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then said I: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." 7 But the Lord said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you," says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:4-8).