God had sent prophets to speak to the tribes of Judah to enable them to understand what the Lord required of them. And yet they still refused to listen to the Word of the Lord via the prophets.
Do you own a Bible? If you do, it’s a huge benefit for you and your household. The words of the Lord are there to advise you every single day.
However, if you’re like me, you don’t always remember to consult your Bible or to apply the words you see there. I, too, don’t always seek to find what God wants me to do as often as I wish I had. Afterward, I realize my error, just as the people of Israel did during their hard time.
Have you ever been there? We are humans just like them. We make the same kinds of mistakes.
Mattaniah was the son of Josiah and the uncle of Jehoiachin, the reigning king of Judah. Mattaniah ignored the words of the prophets and resisted all wise counsel. Mattaniah didn’t listen to the word of the Lord as read from the scrolls or as prophesied by the prophets of his time.
Zedekiah’s original name was Mattanyahu (Hebrew: מַתַּנְיָהוּ, Mattanyāhû, “Gift of God”; traditional English: Mattaniah), but when Nebuchadnezzar II placed him on the throne as the successor to Jehoiachin, he changed his name to Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17). (Source).
Zedekiah, the same man who was cherished at birth by King Josiah and his wife, even naming him “gift of God,” turned out to be the one who brought destruction down upon Jerusalem.
By 598 B.C., King Jehoiachin had been taken captive by King Nebuchadrezzar II. Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah now ruled in his place under the name of Zedekiah, son of Josiah, a Babylonian vassal.
“Nebuchadnezzar II, aka Nebuchadrezzar II, (born c. 630—died c. 561 B.C.), was the second and the greatest king of the Chaldean dynasty of Babylonia (reigned c. 605–c. 561 B.C.). He was known for his military might, the splendour of his capital, Babylon, and his important part in Jewish history. Nebuchadnezzar II was the eldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, founder of the Chaldean empire. He is known from cuneiform inscriptions, the Bible and later Jewish sources, and classical authors. His name, from the Akkadian Nabu-kudurri-uṣur, means ‘O Nabu, watch over my heir.’” (Source)
Nebuchadnezzar II was the villain of the story, and yet it was ordained by God that these events occur to chastise the people of Judah and Israel, for they had turned to idolatry and even to sacrificing their own children to idols/demons. They performed these acts in the very temple itself, not only in the demonic high places. The people were wrecking their lives with violence, sin, and pagan ideals. Sometimes, the Lord must allow hardship to overtake our lives so that we can be restored to Him.Sometimes, the Lord must allow hardship to overtake us, so that we can be restored to Him. We may not understand why, but we do know that everything Jesus allows to touch our lives will work together for our good. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
In 597 B.C., the Babylonians under King Nebuchadrezzar II besieged and captured Jerusalem.
Zedekiah held his throne as a vassal under an oath of allegiance to Nebuchadrezzar. However, under local pressure he foolishly began to intrigue against Nebuchadnezzar in concert with the neighboring states of Moab, Edom (Esau), Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Foolish man.
How did Zedekiah arrive at this place? His decisions puzzle us. Remember, he is a man just like us. Consider the effect the following might have upon you had you experienced it.
King Hezekiah had produced a wicked son who pursued idolatry and all the sin that accompanied it. His name was Manasseh. Manasseh also produced a wicked son named Amon. These two men both pursued all the evil they could find, and in fact had promoted all the evil being done in Israel and Judah.
“Manasseh’s practice of idolatry set up pagan images. II Kings states that Amon “did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, as did Manasseh his father. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them.”
“Similarly, II Chronicles records that of Amon “…he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father; and Amon sacrificed unto all the graven images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them.” The Talmudic tradition recounts that “Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse] … Amon sinned very much.” Like other textual sources, Flavius Josephus too criticizes the reign of Amon, describing his reign in similar terms to the biblical accounts” (Source).
After reigning two years, Amon was assassinated by his servants or officials, who conspired against him, and he was succeeded by his son Josiah, who at the time was eight years old. Josiah loved the Lord and turned around all of the evil deeds and arrangements that his father Amon had done. These two evil men were Josiah’s childhood example.
And yet, Josiah did not engage in evil. God works wonders before our very eyes. Do we see them?
Josiah took the throne in 641/640 B.C. He cleaned up the mess in the temple that his father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh had pursued. He tore down the high places. But Josiah’s reign was short, for he was killed in Carchemish. He hadn’t yet been able to remove all of the high places. Sadly, Josiah’s surviving children Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Jehoahaz of Judah returned to their great-grandfathers’ and their grandfather’s ways of idolatry.
Though these were deeply flawed, every one of them, still Messiah was coming to redeem them.
Even though these were in captivity and all of this messy history had occurred, Messiah was still coming. In fact this family is part of Messiah’s lineage. He came to redeem us and to pay for our sins, all while carrying the genetic structure of these people in his human body. But Jesus was the only human being who could resist the pull of generational sin.
He did not sin, for a perfect sacrifice was required.
So, why did the Babylonians take Zedekiah as a captive? What had he done? Jeremiah 27-29 suggests that from early in his reign (Jeremiah 27:1; 28:1) Zedekiah was plotting a revolt, and eventually he rebelled. Another stupid decision. How like us, he is!
In 601 B.C. The Babylonian withdrawal from Palestine turned out to be only temporary, and Zedekiah’s rebellion brought the Babylonian army right back to the gates of Jerusalem after a three year reprieve. The Babylonian’s arrived in the end of the year, 598 B.C. Not a wise choice by King Zedekiah. Doubtless, he didn’t consult the Lord, and he ignored Jeremiah the prophet.
In 597 B.C., the people living in the area of Judea and Jerusalem were taken captive and carried off to Babylon. Had Zedekiah not committed these errors they wouldn’t have gone into captivity, and yet, God had already determined that their captivity under the Babylonians was essential for their growth.
The sovereignty of God is all over this. God works all things together for the good of His people.
“Among those who accept a tradition (Jeremiah 29:10) that the exile lasted 70 years, some choose the dates 608 B.C. to 538 B.C., others choose 586 B.C. to about 516 B.C. (the year when the rebuilt Temple was dedicated in Jerusalem). The Babylonian Exile (586–538 B.C.) marks an epochal dividing point in Old Testament history, standing between what were subsequently to be designated the pre-exilic and post-exilic eras.” (Source)
Zedekiah, king of Judah (597–587/586 B.C.), reigned only until the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of most of the Jews to Babylon.
Zedekiah’s father Josiah is an ancestor in the lineage of Messiah, and yet, even this human family was comprised of messy human beings just like us, sinners who stumbled into bad choices, flawed people. This is why Messiah came, to redeem people like us. His lineage was crafted in this way by God the Father.
Mattaniah/Zedekiah, in spite of his mistakes, was still the son of his father Josiah, a godly man.
10 …and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon” (Matthew 1:10-11 NRSVUE).
Josiah was a godly man, whose father was a wicked man, and whose grandfather likewise was notoriously evil, even though Hezekiah, Manasseh’s father, was also righteous.
Each one in each generation must choose to love and to follow the Lord. We don’t slide through on our righteous ancestors’ coattails. We must heed the urgent pleading of Jesus to come to Him.
Do you know the Lord personally? Or have you been thinking that your parents raising you in a Christian family was all that was necessary. Nope. Jesus wants you. He loves you personally. Turn to Him, repent of your sins, invite Him into your life, and learn to love Him.Do you know the Lord Jesus personally? Or do you think that your parents raising you in a Christian family was all that was necessary? Nope. Jesus wants you. He loves you personally. Turn to Him. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18 NRSVUE).
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