May 20, 2007
II Chronicles 35-36
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- Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
- And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,
- And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,
- And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son.
- And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites.
- So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
- And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance.
- And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.
- Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.
- So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment.
- And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.
- And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen.
- And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.
- And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.
- And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.
- So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah.
- And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.
- And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
- In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
- After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
- But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
- Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
- And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
- His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
- And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
- Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
- And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
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- Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.
- Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
- And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
- And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.
- Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God.
- Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
- Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
- Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
- Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
- And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
- Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
- And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.
- And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.
- Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
- And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
- But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
- Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
- And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
- And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
- And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
- To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
- Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
- Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
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Thought for the day:
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There are two characteristics about the Lord that I find in today's reading. The kingdom of Judah is about to come completely apart in
II Chronicles 36. Godly King Josiah was slain as a result of a foolish decision, and his offspring Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoaichin, and Zedekiah were all evil men who rebelled against the Lord. The Bible tells us that Zedekiah "stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel." (13), and that the religious leaders of Judah began behaving like the heathen and polluted the House of the Lord (14). It is at this point we see the first attributes of God: His love and patience. Verse 15 states that,
"the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place."
Over and over God attempted to get through to His people. He sent prophet after prophet carrying the same message: "Repent." Yet year after the year the message was ignored. We see that God still attempted to bring the Jews back to Himself, because He had compassion on them. How much love Jehovah had for Israel! Perhaps we should remember how much love God has for us. How often have we gone astray, and the Lord has sent a preacher to bring us back to Himself? Perhaps He has sent a circumstance that has driven us to our knees in repentance and faith. Certainly all of us that are reading this understand that the fact that we are still alive to read it is an indication of the longsuffering and mercy of our great God. None of us deserved the grace and mercy of God that was shown to us at salvation, and none of us deserves the grace and mercy that sustains us throughout our Christian walk. Yet our Lord is faithful, and He continually works to keep us close by His side. Perhaps we should take some time today to praise and thank Him for being so patient with us, and for giving us so many opportunities to restore our relationship with Him after we have wandered astray.
The second characteristic of the Lord that I see in this passage comes in the following verse. It states,
"But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there was] no remedy."
This is the fearsome attribute of the wrath of God. Our God is a holy God, and His justice demands that sin be punished. He is a loving and merciful Lord, but sooner or later sin must be dealt with. If the believer does not deal with it personally, then God will deal with it Himself. In the case of Judah, the Bible tells us that they made fun of the preachers that Jehovah sent them. They rejected and hated the Word of God that was delivered to them, and they treated the prophets with disdain and abuse. They did this not once, but repeatedly as God attempted to bring them back. Then one day, God's mercy ran out. His anger arose, and the Scriptures tell us that there was no remedy for this judgment. You see, there can come a time when God will no longer be patient. There comes a time when the opportunities for repentance are over. Judah had reached that point, and nothing was going to stop the holy judgment of the Lord from falling on them. Proverbs 29:1 states,
"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
It happened to Judah, and it can happen to us. When sin enters and the Lord sends His message of reproof, be sure to listen and respond, for the Lord's great mercy may run out, and then it will be too late.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery