December 29, 2015

2 Chronicles 34-36
Josiah was 8 years old when he became king and ruled for 33 years.  He behaved well before God.  He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to the left or right....

When Josiah had been king for 8 years, he began to seek the God of David his ancestor.  4 years later, he set out to cleanse the Temple.  While the money that had been given for the Temple of God was being received and dispersed, Hilkiah the high priest found a copy of the Revelation of Moses.  He gave it to Shaphan, the royal secretary, who gave it to the king...  Shaphan proceeded to read it to the king.  

When the king heard what was written in the book, God’s revelation, he ripped his robes in dismay...He ordered his leaders to “Go and pray to God for me and what’s left of Israel and Judah.  Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book that has just been found”....  

Hilkaih and those picked by the king went straight to Huldah, the prophetess...In response to them she said, “Tell the men who sent you here, ‘God has spoken, I am on my way to bring the doom of judgment on this place and this people.  Every word written in this book will happen.  And why?  Because they’ve deserted me and taken up with other gods...And also tell the king of Judah, since he sent you to ask God for direction...‘Because you took seriously the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people, and because you responded in humble repentance...I’ll take care of you; you’ll have a quiet death and be buried in peace.  You won’t be around to see the doom that I am going to bring upon this place and people’... 

The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, and then proceeding to The Temple of God...Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in the Temple.  The king stood by his pillar and before God solemnly committed himself to the covenant; to follow God believ-ingly and obediently, to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to confirm with his life the entire covenant, all that was written in the book....All through Josiah’s life the people kept to the straight and narrow, obediently following God, the God of their ancestors.

Josiah celebrated the Passover of God in Jerusalem...everything went without a hitch in the worship of God that day as they celebrated the Passover and the offering of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar of God...The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel, the prophet...in the 18th year of Josiah, this Passover was celebrated.

Some time later, after Josiah’s reformation of The Temple, Egypt’s king (Neco) was passing through Judah on his way to war up north.  Josiah went out to fight him even though the king of Egypt informed Josiah he was only seeking to pass through...But Josiah was looking for a fight and wouldn’t listen to what Egypt’s king had to say....Though Josiah disguised himself when they met on the plain, archers shot him anyway.  His servants took him and drove him back to Jerusalem.  He died there ....Everybody in Judah and Jerusalem attended his funeral.  Jeremiah composed an anthem of lament.

Jehoahaz was 23 when he began to rule. He ruled a mere 3 months when the king of Egypt dethroned him and made Eliakim, Jehoahaz’s brother, king but changed his name to Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim was 25 when he began to rule.  He was king for 11 years and was an evil king in God’s opinion.  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon made war with him and took him prisoner to Babylon.  He also took things from the Temple of God to Babylon. Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, became the next king.  He was 18 and ruled only 3 months before Nebuchadnezzar also had him brought to Babylon then made his uncle Zedekiah a puppet king over Judah and Jerusalem.  

Zedekiah was 21 when he started out as king and served 11 years.  He was just one more evil king; there wasn’t a trace of contrition in him when Jeremiah preached God’s word to him.  Then he compounded his trouble by rebelling against King Nebuchadnezzar.  He became set in his own stubborn ways--he never gave God a thought; repentance never entered his mind.  God, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent warning messages to them.  Out of compassion for both his people and his Temple he wanted to give them every chance possible.  But they wouldn’t listen; they poked fun of God’s messengers, despised the message itself and in general treated the prophets like idiots.  God became more and more angry until there was no turning back...God called in Nebuchadnezzar...who came  and killed indiscriminately....and then he plundered The Temple of everything valuable, cleaned it out completely....and hauled it all, people and possessions, off to Babylon.  He burned The Temple of God to the ground, knocked down the wall of Jerusalem and set fire to all the buildings, everything valuable was burned up...

This is exactly the message of God that Jeremiah had preached: the desolate land put to an extended sabbath rest, a 70 year Sabbath rest making up for all the unkept Sabbaths.  In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia--this fulfilled the message of God preached by Jeremiah --God moved Cyrus to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom; he wrote it out as follows: “From Cyrus a proclamation: “From the God of the heavens, he has given me all the kingdoms of the earth.  He has also assigned me to build him a Temple of worship at Jerusalem in Judah.  All who belong to God’s people are urged to return --and may your God be with you!  Move forward!!”     

Revelations 22
Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright.  It flowed from the Throne of God and Lamb, right down the middle of the street.  The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing 12 kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month...The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs.  And they will rule with him age after age after age.  

I, John, saw all these things with my own eyes, heard them with my ears.  Immediately when I heard and saw, I fell on my face to worship at the feet of the Angel who laid it all out before me.  He objected, “No you don’t!...Worship God!”...

I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches.  I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Moning Star.”  “Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.  Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”  Is anyone thirsty, “Come!”  All who will, come and drink.  Drink freely of the Water of Life!...The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you.  Oh, Yes!