I’ve reached the end of 2nd Chronicles – and I have taken a moment to sit outside in the chilly October night air. It’s not just exile from summer’s warmth but reconnecting and reconciling myself to accepting these changing seasons. The crisp will soon become cold and there will be days of staying inside. But there will ALSO be brilliant sunshine and HOPE, as we are longing for springtime and summer once again. Meanwhile, the soil rests.
So now in this season, we reflect and lament the last of the warm days. We stargaze and see the stars twinkle. They twinkle because their light beams bounce around and get distorted by the earth’s atmosphere. It’s a bumpy ride, even for Light. Our bumpy ride of life still has the Light, therefore we hold onto HOPE.
At the end of 2nd Chronicles, we learn of an end of an era, the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah has crumbled enough to be swept into a time of Exile. All that work and riches, all those kings (good and bad), all that time restoring the temple and the people’s worship, including Josiah’s Passover feast. Then this good king Josiah was killed, and all the people mourned him. Prophet Jeremiah wrote laments for them all to sing their heart sorrows. Josiah’s son ruled only a few months on the throne, then was overthrown and the whole southern divided kingdom of Judah saw a progression of bad foreign kings and multiple overthrows. This was a bumpy ride for sure, washing away everything as their lives had known, they were thrown into exile, God gave them another chance but they refused to listen and they became servants in exile.
Did the exiled remnant of the peoples of the divided kingdom of Judah have any hope? I hope so… God pre-told their destiny as the prophet Jeremiah spoke of it. God also told them (from the time of David) that He would raise up THE HOPE from their remnants. And their land went to rest, the many years was their winter of life. The people surely longed for their old way of life. The ride was bumpy, I hope they held onto hope.
I also have been thinking of the many people in our war-torn areas presently, where does their hope lie? They too have laments, and the light is seen so tumbled in their atmosphere of strife… Their lands have been torn apart and people displaced. They are in need of prayers as there is no quick fix and return to their homeland. These are times of lament, an atmosphere of lament, but pray they hold onto hope.
The Light of Hope is the coming of the Lord, and the shining of His Spirit throughout their and our lives. One person recently asked a few of us how we suffer – when Jesus gives such hope – and we lives such blessed lives. So I do believe these are the people from whom we are to learn what suffering means – and to see what joy they can muster in the midst of tragedy . These are the people who are lamenting and we should mourn with them as well as give them hope. For them we keep reminding ourselves and others that there is Light in the darkness, brighter than the stars that twinkle, the Hope of Jesus remains bright.
Let us keep praying for all to see the Light. Until Jesus comes again – there will be bumpy rides. When His Light lights the night, we will have no doubt that He Lives.
2nd Chronicles 34:20-27
After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Necho sent messengers to him, saying, “What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.
Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, “Take me away; I am badly wounded.” So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his ancestors, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.
Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.
The other events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion in accordance with what is written in the Law of the Lord— all the events, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
2 Chronicles 36:1-21
And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. The king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Eliakim’s brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took to Babylon articles from the temple of the Lord and put them in his temple there.
The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.
Jehoiachin King of Judah
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the Lord, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Zedekiah King of Judah
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Fall of Jerusalem
The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.