Bible Readings for November 11th

2 Kings 24 | Hebrews 6 | Joel 3 | Psalm 143

Once Josiah dies, Yahweh lifts his temporary restraint and sends his people off into exile because of their sins (2 Kgs. 24:3–4). During the reign of Josiah’s son Jehoiakim, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon makes Judah his servant—that is, he forces them to pay him tribute in exchange for peace (2 Kgs. 24:1). But also, Yahweh sends bands of Chaldeans (i.e., Babylonians), Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites against Judah to begin to destroy the nation, bit by bit (2 Kgs. 24:2). Furthermore, we read that this is also the time of the first deportation, when Nebuchadnezzar carries off the best and the brightest from Judah, including Daniel and his three companions (Dan. 1:1–7). This, however, is only the beginning.

During the reign of Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar leads Babylon against Judah once again. This time, he ransacks the temple, stealing all its treasures and vessels—the vessels that Solomon himself had made (2 Kgs. 24:13). This also marks the second deportation of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar carries away the remaining officials, mighty men, craftsmen, and smiths in Judah—including King Jehoiachin himself—leaving only the poorest of Yahweh’s people to remain in the Promised Land (2 Kgs. 24:14). In Jehoiachin’s place, Nebuchadnezzar sets up Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah as king in Judah (2 Kgs. 24:17).

Previously, in 2 Kings 17, we saw Yahweh send the northern nation of Israel off into captivity, but here Yahweh begins the process of sending the remainder of his people off into exile as punishment for their sins and rebellion. We should not think, however, that Yahweh is being petty or trying to get even with Judah—rather, Yahweh is executing the terms of the covenant he made with them. He had promised Israel blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Deut. 28), and that is exactly what Yahweh gives to his people here in 2 Kings 24.

In fact, what we see here is an example of Yahweh’s faithfulness. Yahweh made promises that he would act in a certain way, and he keeps his word completely. We who live in the new covenant, however, have different promises—namely, that Yahweh will be faithful to lavish his steadfast love upon us perpetually, not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus has done for us. Although 2 Kings 24 is a warning against persisting in our sin, this passage also underscores that Yahweh keeps his promises and that we can therefore have confidence that he will keep the good promises that he has made to us.

Is your faith a vague feeling that things will turn out okay in the end, or is your confidence rooted in unshakable faith that God will keep his promises to you in Christ Jesus? Brothers and sisters, let us believe the promises, because God is faithful to keep them.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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