Jeremiah Chapters 6, 7, and 8

On this beautiful snow day in Chapel Hill, I finally get to sit down and blog a bit! Now when we say snow in North Carolina, it really means ½ an inch of ice, with some snow flurries that came before it. The Northerners that live here like to make fun, but we are no where near prepared when it is time for salting the roads, or plowing if needed (like the inches of snow we actually had in 2014). Anyway, now it is time to carry on with the book of Jeremiah! Sure it isn’t the sweetest and happiest prophecies to read, but they are so vital to understanding the love of our God.

So chapter 6 starts off as being labeled as “Impending Disaster for Jerusalem.” So yeah it is definitely not anything happy about this chapter, other than the fact that God loves His children so much that He has to ruin His own creation in order to show them tough love. The oppression of His people exists because of the way of life in Jerusalem, and God can only get rid of this oppression by getting rid of the city. Jeremiah prophesizes, “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her. As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her evil; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me,’” Jeremiah 6:6-7. I know that I have written this before, but I cannot help but say it: the wordage is so full of passion and shows just how disappointed God is in His children. You know the common phrase from your parents when you do something wrong: “I am not angry, I am just disappointed.” Anger is one thing and being disappointed is another. God being disappointed should hurt His children even more, like how much it hurts us when our parents say they are disappointed in us, but the people of Jerusalem felt no shame or unworthiness from God’s disappointment as they should have.

In chapter 7, God is calling out the temple goers of Jerusalem as hypocrites, because although they go to God’s holy temple, they still worship false gods and prophets but still claim to be a follower of God. God then goes on to quote in the prophecy he tells Jeremiah, the words he told the Israelites in the book of Exodus. “’But this I gave them: “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts and went backward and not forward,’” Jeremiah 7:23-24. He then goes onto referring to the book of Job, and how when Job was being disciplined for no reason, he felt God was disappointed in him, and shaved off his hair, ripped his clothes to show the anguish he felt over the possibility of God’s disappointment. From leading the Israelites out of Egypt and giving them their commandments, to Job’s righteousness, and finally to the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s time, all were experiencing God’s love in different forms. The Israelites were saved by Him, and given commandments so that they could stay righteous in God’s eyes; Job kept worshipping God even when he was being disciplined when he did no wrong; finally the people of Jerusalem were being punished as a result of their unwillingness to care about God, and God was showing them tough love.

Chapter 8, God starts off by saying that the destruction that is going to come to Jerusalem will actually make death more preferable. This isn’t the same type of death that we would face as Christians, because life in Heaven because of His Son will be way better than life, but these people of Jerusalem will die as unrighteous. These people will face such pain that was part of death before Christ, but this pain will overall be better than the destruction that is to come from the North. Towards the end of the chapter we continue to hear about the anguish that Jeremiah himself faced because of his knowledge of these prophesies from God. It is like knowing that something disastrous is going to happen, but there is nothing you can do, and no one will even believe you when you say that disaster will come. He obviously felt depressed about the burden he was feeling, but God knew that Jeremiah would be the one that would be able to handle these bearings. Jeremiah was a righteous fellow and was feeling God’s disappointment firsthand, and this allowed him to be able to share these prophecies for he was passionate over them. Jeremiah’s passion along with God’s passion is what makes reading this book of the Bible so vital.

Jeremiah Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Continuing on with Jeremiah this week! Lots of great comparisons once again of just how ungrateful and hurtful Israel and Judah were. What is important to consider is that when we think of our lives as sinners, we can be labeled in the same manner! The only difference is that we have Jesus and he has wiped our slates free from all that we have done to be ungrateful and hurtful towards God! If it were not for His Son, then we would all be in the same boat as Israel and Judah – facing the wrath of God’s tough love!

A common comparison that frequents the Old Testament is describing Israel and Judah as being whores. A whore always seems like a brutal and over exaggerated term, but when you think about it, Israel and Judah were whoring themselves out to other Gods and not looking toward their always loving and wonderful Father. In response to Israel being a whore, God says that he was going to take away his protection and showers that would help them flourish. What is pointed out about Israel and Judah is also that they are whores but are not ashamed. So not only do they not care about looking towards other gods, but they also do not believe that they are doing anything-wrong aka they are not repenting and see no need to. Jeremiah then quotes God during the time of Josiah(~640-610 BC), who was actually a righteous king that brought many great reforms but was still turned down by most people, as saying that not only is Israel the whore but Judah is her sister who watches on and does nothing to stop her. God says both are at fault! God says “’Return faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever,’” Jeremiah 3:12. God is saying He will forgive them yet they still refuse to admit to their sins, even when God offers them great teachers that will arise to help them grow in righteousness by showing them how to have a relationship with God again. He ends in a positive note by saying that Judah and Israel will one day be reunited under Him, but until then they need to fight for their relationship with Him and not with other gods.

So one of the first few verses of chapter 4 is referenced to my favorite verse of all time, Hosea 10:12 so I of course need to share it! “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: ‘Break up your fallow ground and sow not among the thorns,’” Jeremiah 4:3. Sowing among the thorns would be turning to sins and other gods when you are searching to be filled with love. So sow upon righteousness, not the thorns! I thought chapter 3 was filled with great insight, and now chapter 4 begins with specific prophecies against Israel and Judah over who would conquer them and when. Jeremiah prophesizes that the North is coming and bringing disaster, and this time God will not give the power to the king of Israel of Judah or to their armies to protect them from the North. This of course upsets God, because he does not want to bring ruin upon His people, but this is the only way that His tough love will work with them! He says it wont be the end of them but rather they will be in ruin. God’s anguish truly is evident (and not just because this section of the chapter is labeled ‘Anguish over Judah’s Desolation’).

Chapter 5 starts off with Jeremiah saying how he wants to talk to the people of Jerusalem because he wants to put reason into them as to why they need to repent. He powerfully claims, “’I will go to the great and will speak to them, for they know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God.’ But they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds,” Jeremiah 5:5. The use of the concept of the “yoke” is extremely important. The yoke is what keeps cattle in control and under control of its master! So Jeremiah is saying how the people of Jerusalem’s yoke had broken and did not want to be put back under it, even if the yoke brought them protection and guidance that they need from their master (God). Judgement will arrive to Israel for they are incapable of having reason to deny Him but choose to do so!

All of these books from various prophets from the Old Testament are still relevant to Christians, even if we have Jesus and we tend to focus on the New Testament. If we did not have Jesus, all this anguish that God’s people are causing Him would be what we would do to Him. Reading these prophecies give such great insight and should make us as Christians even more eternally grateful for Jesus.

Jeremiah Chapters 1 and 2

Hey y’all! I am excited to start blogging about Jeremiah, because I have really never taken the time to focus on it before! So I thought I would just provide some background information about Jeremiah! I used Bible Gateway for all this biographical information on him, other than of course where he lived and such, which you can find out from reading chapter 1. Jeremiah was alive during a vital time for the history of Judah, because he witnessed the captivity and destruction of Jerusalem and of course the temple that was in Jerusalem. He was called as a prophet by King Josiah but after the fall of Jerusalem, he moved to Egypt where he spent the remainder of his life. Another fun fact is that Jeremiah means, “Yahweh established!” What a perfect name for a prophet of Yahweh!

God calls Jeremiah while he is relatively young and has an in depth conversation with him. Jeremiah of course had fear that he would not be able to fulfill the role of prophet, but as always God tells him not to wrestle with the future. God gives Jeremiah reassurance by stating to him, “’Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nation,’” Jeremiah 1:5. God’s plans will always happen and they will go as he predestined them to be, and this is an example of God telling Jeremiah so. Once God reassures Jeremiah, He gives visions to him. Jeremiah has a vision of a boiling pot facing away from the north, which was God showing him how Jerusalem would be turned on and captured from the tribes of the north because of how His people have worshipped false gods.

Chapter 2 revolves around a prophecy that God makes about Israel and why He believes that Israel has forsaken Him. You can really feel how His children have hurt Him based on the analogies or stories that Jeremiah uses within the prophecies. The prophecy includes how God took His children out of Egypt and saved them, but they don’t care and ignore Him. They followed Him for a while after he saved them, but the father away the exodus happened, the more they ignored Him. There is so much emphasis on how they were no longer acknowledging Him. Another important analogy within this prophecy is common throughout other prophets like Micah or Isaiah. Jeremiah prophesized, “Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit,” Jeremiah 2:11. The people in the other nations that followed false gods, like Baal, would never turn on their gods even though they never did anything for them, yet God has saved His people and they have turned on Him. How does that make any sense? Israel has clearly forsaken God and He will show them through tough love why they should not forsake their loving Father!

Hosea Chapters 12, 13, and 14

Hey y’all! At first, with the beginning of my new semester at UNC, I was nervous about having these huge gaps of time in between classes…when I say huge gaps of time I mean 4 hours or so. I hate wasting time and doing nothing – unless it is designated Netflix time of course – so these gaps of time have never been my favorite. I was nervous about not knowing what to do with the time until the semester really starts progressing and I will be having 4 papers due on the same day – the humanities like to have everything due on the same day, it has to be a practical joke on us. It wasn’t until the first day of class that I realized what I could be doing with my time…getting the Word in. My Bible was beckoning me on Wednesday morning, and that is when I realized that I can now find the time to designate to the Word without being rushed like I was last semester. These gaps in my scheduling have been a gift to me and I am excited about it. So onto the end of Hosea!

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on chapter 12 because it is just a continuation of what I said in the previous post about chapter 11 and there is some awesome information in the last two chapters I want to focus on. What I need to mention however about chapter 12 is that it is the official indictment that God made against Israel and Judah. It is full of great metaphors that you should definitely look at! If you are ever overwhelmed by the prophecies from the rest of the book of Hosea, the second half of chapter 12 is what you should look at! It is like the abridged version of what God’s people have done wrong to Him.

For chapter 13 there are two things that really caught my eye. First verse three of chapter 13 says, “Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes early away, like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window.” The reason I liked this phrasing so much is because of the reference that my Bible gives which is Psalm 1:4 (“The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away”) which compares the righteous from the wicked. Even David was making songs about how the wicked will be casted away quickly and early, and by using reference to this Psalm, it is Hosea pointing to their upmost righteous king of the people. I’ve always found it interesting how there is always referral to similar phrases that were already well known amongst the people. Verses 4-8 of chapter 13 I also find very powerful as well! The analogies are universally known and they show how much anger and wrath God has with His people for how they have treated him. I enjoyed the first part of verse 8 that says, “I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs.” Mothers are referred to as “Momma Bears” when they feel the need to protect their children, because they are being harmed or threatened. God is the ULTIMATE Momma Bear! He will do anything to protect His cubs, including punishing them like he does in the Old Testament out of love, and how in the Old Testament He allows His Son to die a gruesome death for us all. He has the ultimate love for us, and it is never-ending. God will protect His people from harm even if that means He has to protect them from themselves by punishing them and making them see the err of their ways.

To end the book of Hosea, Hosea gives the last prophecy from God, which is a plea for the people to return to Him. God lists out all the ways that He would have them flourish if they would just return to Him! I love the analogy that is used – “I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his roots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon,” (14:5-6). God will give the people, if they return to Him, all they need to grow and as they grow they will grow in strength and righteousness! Nature is considered one of the most powerful things in the world and no one can control it but God, which is why I love the constant references throughout His Word to nature! It shows just how He is the ultimate power. The last verse of the book is powerful because of its using of another common analogy throughout His Word which is the “stumbling” of the transgressors and the “upright walking” of the righteous. I always think of in 1 Kings when Elijah defeats the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. They were stumbling around while he was running. I bet if you read throughout various passages in the Bible, you will find the references to these two actions frequently.

And with the end of Hosea means I am moving onto a new book, which will take a while to get through but I have yet to spend a large amount of time in! The book is referred to often when there are references to the Old Testament, so I am excited to see what makes this book so renowned! Y’all will see on my next post what it is! :D

Hosea Chapters 9, 10, and 11

Sorry it has been a while! Whenever I feel like blogging becomes more a hassle than an enjoyment is when I have to stop for a while. The holiday season seems to always come along when I feel like I am in a “religious slump” I guess you could say. For me when I go into a slump it becomes harder for me to take the time to get the word in because I feel like I am just rereading the same things over and over. It makes sense that it come towards the holidays because I have finals right before the holidays. Returning to the Christmas story and how it is just the beginning of us being saved is what I needed to hear and it always comes at the right time of year (rhyming is not my thing but I thought I would try). When I decided to sit back down to write the next entry in this blog, imagine my shock when I realize that this part of Hosea has my testimonial verse. You ever feel as if God puts certain things in your life to just push you forward? Having me restudy my testimonial verse is one of those things for me. For this post I will still tell of these three chapters but will emphasize my testimonial verse (Hosea 10:12).

As we all know, the book of Hosea is the prophecies of Hosea from God about all the bad things that will happen to Israel for their disobedience and abandonment of God, and Chapters 9, 10, and 11 are no different. I always find it interesting when certain sects believe that there is no way that the God from the Old Testament is the same God from the New Testament but I have never understood this. God may seem harsh in the Old Testament but this is all out of “tough love” for a nation that would not turn to him in spite all he has done for them. A verse that stuck to me in chapter 9 is, “Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them till none is left. Woe to them when I depart from them,” Hosea 9:12. So not only are the current people of Israel going to face these punishments from God but their children will as well; God is leaving them as a result of what their ancestors had done. He has been hurt so dearly by the ones that He loves more than any love we could understand, that the only option he feels is left is to abandon them like they have done to him. In verse 17 of chapter 9 Hosea calls God’s people the “wanderers among nations,” to portray how they will not find solace in their home that God created for them, because without God they are nothing.

Chapter 9’s prophecy leads into chapter 10. Hosea mentions how the people no longer trusted the Lord so they also no longer trusted the king, whom was chosen by God. I always like certain phrases that are used throughout Hosea, that show the difference between the obedience of the tribes in the beginning with Moses, David, and other righteous folk to how the people had turned against God. In verse 4 of chapter 10, Hosea says, “They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants.” Covenants are what God has based everything upon when dealing with his people. A covenant seems more sincere than a contract because that is what God used to describe his promise to the people, and these people are now using this word to describe their contracts that are merely empty, like the emptiness they were showing God now.

Now to mention my testimonial verse which is: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you,” Hosea 10:12. This is what God is calling out to his people to do, and shows how their lack of doing this is what has caused him to leave. These are the steps that one has to take in order to open themselves fully to God. You have to sow out the seeds of possibilities by trying to live a righteous lifestyle, which most people try to do already – think of it as a moral life. So living a moral lifestyle does not make someone a Christian right away. Living this moral lifestyle, you then begin to take in all the love that God has to offer you as well, and then the most important part comes. That is to “break up your fallow ground,” and this would mean to soften your heart to the Lord and let him in completely. It is easy to live a morally sound life or accept all that God has given you, but the main step is to give yourself to the Lord and His Son in order to form a relationship with them and be a Christian. Once you have done this, God will “rain righteousness” on you for you have completely let him into your life. Once you have done this you are now able to flourish and live life the way God wants you to. If it were not for you welcoming the Lord into your life then you will never truly flourish as your Father would want you to. This verse helped me to realize that even if you accept God’s love and live a righteous lifestyle, you are not a Christian. You have to be willing to let God completely into your life, and you can only do this by breaking up your life and making room for God to enter into it completely.

Now lets return to the focus of Chapter 11, which is actually labeled as the Lord’s Love for Israel. This chapter reiterates all the God has done for his people and how he comes with no wrath towards his people. He is not bringing wrath onto his people like he had done to the Egyptians with the various plagues but will allow the Assyrians to rule over them where their king will put his own wrath unto them. God expresses the agony he faces because he does not want to turn on his people but this is something that he has had to deal with for a while and has seriously contemplated over forever. God mentions how he will save Judah for they have not been unloving towards him like Israel or Ephraim. We will learn more about what God has contemplated within the last few chapters of Hosea.

Hosea Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8

The book of Hosea will not take many posts to get through because they are rather short chapters compared to other books, so more chapters are combined together. Although it is a shorter book, definitely not the shortest, but one of the shorter ones, it has so much greatness in it! It is amazing to read about a prophet that God used his whole life to represent Israel. So Israel was going through a tough time, so Hosea’s life wasn’t the easiest either; look at his marriage, and the name of his children.

 

Chapter 5 starts out with a prophecy about how Israel and Judah are going to be punished. But the key word to look at in this prophecy is that God says, “I will discipline all of them,” Hosea 5:2. God is not punishing the people of Israel and Judah just for the sake of doing so, but so that they can be disciplined and for the hope that they will learn from their actions of going against God. It wouldn’t’ be called punishment if it were not done as a way to prevent it from reoccurring; if it were out of wanting to harm the Israelites and the people of Judah then it would be called the torture of them, not the punishment. God says that Ephraim has been whoring with other gods that they have forgotten about the almighty God, and they will not remember Him unless they are punished. What God says of Judah is interesting as well. He said, “They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields,” Hosea 5:7. I believe that by God using the word “alien” to represent them so much is huge! I looked up the NIV version as well, because I was confused on what God meant by calling them alien children, and NIV has the word “illegitimate” instead of “alien” and it makes so much sense. The people of Judah’s children have been raised without God, so they are not seen as truly his children. The blame goes onto their parents but they are being punished as well. Their parents’ actions have caused them to no longer be seen as part of God’s people. He sees them as the children that show up at their parents’ house because their other siblings make them go…they have no relationship with Him. God returns to his anger with Ephraim because they went to Assyria for help before looking to Him for guidance. God says He will leave them until, “they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me,” Hosea 5:15. This is the part of discipline: will the people after their punishment finally recognize that they need Him, or will they need more punishment to realize it still.

 

Hosea starts off chapter 6 by saying that Israel and Judah need to come to God willingly for He will heal them if they do. One of my favorite verses is in this chapter: “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth,” Hosea 6:3. God wants to water us with all the water in the world but we must ask Him and press on Him to water us. He is not going to do it if we do not acknowledge him or repent for our actions. The people of Israel and Judah were game for asking God for help and love and living righteously as long as they were receiving water from Him, but their righteousness was only short lived. They would no longer be grateful and start living unclean again. God wants their love steadfastly not whenever they find it to be convenient. They lack faith in Him.

 

Chapter 7 tells of how once God heals Israel then Ephraim and Samaria’s evil deeds will be so evident. The people are adulterers because they are looking to the kings and princes for guidance and if they do not serve the people as they will then the kings are taken down. People cannot take on all the love and pressure that you want because humans are incapable. God can only hold what all people want to make them happy. God wants the people to know that He sees through them and their lies. These kings that the people are having rule over them, do not even turn toward God either. People are being lead by unrighteous leaders so of course their country is falling apart. God tries to strengthen the Israelites and the new strength they get from God, they use against Him. It is terrible to think about: God loves you enough to make you a strong person, and your response to this new strength is to try to take Him down so that you can have the glory, not Him. It is terrible.

 

When God shows His anger against the people of Israel, they respond with “My God, we – Israel – know you,” Hosea 8:2. But they do not know God; they know God enough in the fact that they know that He has such great mercy for His people. They are ungrateful for His mercy, yet they rely on it. God says “The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces,” Hosea 8:6. So God will discipline and force obedience on them, no matter how stubborn they are against Him. Their stubbornness will eventually falter and they will have to follow Him. Once again the focus is on God disciplining them, not wrecking havoc on them for no reason. God says that He will not accept their sacrifices because they rather do the easy way out: they rather reap wind than grain for the fear of someone taking their grain. No one would be able to take their wind away. At the end of chapter 8, Hosea prophesizes through God that God will have the people of Israel return to Egypt, where He had once helped them to escape from.

Hosea Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4

Hey y’all! So the new book that I will write about in about 4 posts is the book of Hosea. Hosea is one of my favorite books and my testimonial verse is actually within this book, and I will explain why when we get to that chapter which will not be for a few days. An important thing to understand about Hosea is that his life was to represent Israel. Who he marries and the names of his children reflect so. Since I already posted about the Kings, it is nice to understand when he was alive. He was alive while Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah was reigning over Judah and Jeroboam II was reigning over Israel. So he dies while one of the best kings was reigning over Judah, but he was living in Israel where wickedness was still ruling. So just remember that Hosea represents Israel.

 

So the first thing that we learn about Hosea is about his wife, and his children. Of course his wife and his children have HUGE symbolic meaning to Israel. God told Hosea to marry a whore, because Israel was whoring by forsaking the LORD. So Hosea openly knows that he is committing himself to a whore. Now we get to the name of his children. First his wife bore a son which God told him to name Jezreel, because God is going to punish the house of Jehu in Israel for Jezreel’s blood and Israel would end. Next his wife bore a daughter and God told Hosea to name her ‘No Mercy’ because God will have no mercy on the house of Israel and he wont forgive them, BUT he will forgive the house of Judah. Hosea’s last son was named ‘Not My People’ because God did not see Israel as his people any longer. So I would say that God was obviously not happy about Israel. God does tell Hosea after his children are born and all that one day all the people of Israel and the people of Judah would raise up together and they will have someone over them.

 

Chapter 2 is a long, long prophecy that God tells Hosea. The prophecy tells of the punishment that is to come to Israel. If you read through this chapter the “her” is Israel. Remember that God called Israel out for whoring, and most nations are referred to as feminine. God tells of how he will surround Israel so that they cannot escape. The prophecy said, “’I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths,’” Hosea 2:6. The people of Israel used all that God had given them and blessed them with to worship false gods like Baal. He will make Israel regret all that they did, even though God had told them many times that they were wrong and he punished them and then gave them mercy, so this would be the last punishment for them. After the prophecy goes on about this the prophecy continues on to what is the mercy that God gives them to later. God says that after he gives them mercy that the Israelites will be as loyal as they were when Moses lead them out of Egypt. He wrote that he would treat them with, “’steadfast love in mercy,’” Hosea 2:19. He exclaimed through Hosea, “’And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people,’ and he shall say, ‘You are my God,’” Hosea 2:21-23. So all of Hosea’s children’s names that represented the problems of Israel were redeemed.

 

So chapter 3 we return our focus to Hosea’s wife. Now his wife represented the whoredom of Israel, so when he married her he was automatically forgiving her old ways. In chapter 3 we learn that his wife began to whore around again, and God told Hosea to take her back even after she was having affairs with other men. Hosea is representing God in this analogy, because Hosea took back his wife even though he had already forgiven her, and then she returned to her old ways and he forgives her AGAIN. God forgave Israel before and then they went back to being evil, and God forgave them AGAIN. The wife has to commit herself to Hosea like how Israel had to promise to commit herself to God again when God gave them mercy again.

 

Chapter 4 is another long prophecy. It describes more of how Israel has, “’no faithfulness or steadfast love; and no knowledge of God in the land,’” Hosea 4:1. Israel is breaking all of the commandments of the land. Israel forgot Him so He will forget them. He says, “’They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but no multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish,’” Hosea 4:10. He will make their glory shame again because they do not glorify Him. He wants Israel to make sure not to affect Judah in their evil ways (we know because of 2 Kings that it does not happen).

 

Hosea is one big allegory of Israel.

2 Kings Chapters 24 and 25

We have officially come to the end of the book of 2 Kings. I will miss it, but I know many people would not list the Kings as 2 of their favorite books. I know it has been tough to get through, but I am really excited for the next book I will be blogging about…I will wait to tell y’all. 

Chapter 23 ended with Josiah’s death and then the kings Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim who both ruled wickedly unlike Josiah. So Jehoiakim was actually a servant to Nebuchanezzar of Babylon for three years until he rebelled. But then God actually allowed various kingdoms to rise up against Judah. God wanted to literally “remove them out of his sight,” 2 Kings 24:3. He pretty much wanted them out of the land that he provided to them. He wants them gone because of the innocent blood that Manasseh had shed throughout all of Judah and also with the wickedness he reigned in. He brought back temples and high places for other gods that Hezekiah had finally gotten rid of. Remember also that God said he would bring down Judah following Josiah’s death because he did not want such a great king to witness the downfall of his people, and now Josiah has been dead for around 5 years. God allowed Babylon to take over Judah, including the areas that were actually already considered Egypt’s territory.So when Babylon took over, it was the end of Jehoiakim, and the beginning of Jehoiachin, who only ruled for 3 months. Babylon besieged Jerusalem, and Jehoiachin pretty much waved the white flag and gave himself over to Nebuchanezzar and all of the powerful people of Judah were taken (around 10,000) people and only the weak and the poor were let in Judah. This is where you should think about Daniel; this is when he was taken into the court of Babylon and deciphered dreams of Nebuchanezzar and later other leaders of Babylon. Judah had now officially become a vassal state or puppet state to Babylon. Babylon chose their leaders and decided what happened within Judah, but there was still an actual king over Judah but he had no real power. The king of the vassal state was Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah. Zedekiah reigned for 11 years and was evil and God ultimately was done with the people of Judah and casted out all of those that were left aka he did not watch after or protect any longer. Zedekiah then rebelled against Babylon.

So the thing about a vassal state is that the ruler of the nation holding the puppet nation does not like to be disobeyed, so when Zedekiah rebelled, Nebuchanezzar was not pleased and seizes Jerusalem again and this time for many many years, until the famine was so bad that the men of war fled the city. Now of course the Babylonians surrounded the city so the men did not get very far. The Chaldeans were waiting for them, and the Zedekiah and the men were taken down in the fields of Jericho. The Chaldeans killed Zedekiah’s family in front of him and then took him off to Babylon. I can

not imagine witnessing my own family’s death….gives me the chills. So to make this even worse for Judah, the Babylonian captain of the body guards burned down the House of the Lord in Jerusalem, and all the other homes in Jerusalem. The Chaldeans tore down the wall of Jerusalem and only the poorest were left to be plowmen for that area. All the pillars and treasures from Solomon’s time were taken and tore down and all of the priests left were put to death in Babylon. A governor was put over what was left of Jerusalem aka the plowmen and his name was Gedaliah. Gedaliah actually wanted peace amongst Judah and wanted the people of Judah to just serve the king and take care of the land in order to avoid any more disaster (in a way it seems wise after all that Judah had just gone through). The people did not agree of course and struck him down after only 7 months, and those that went against him fled to Egypt. How ironic…the people of Judah had fled Egypt in the past and now they are running back…So the last bit of 2 Kings says that the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile he was finally freed by the new Babylonian king, Evil-merodach. His name literally has evil in it. Jehoiachin was treated as royalty in Babylon.

So pretty much all of Judah, and Israel were in shambles. We will eventually get back to what happens after this but for now I will be reading and blogging about a lighter more fun book. The book of Hosea is up next!! 

Matthew 18:3-4

The focus of my study this week is on how Jesus taught and lead his disciples. So we are pretty much going through various occurrences throughout the Gospel, mostly in Matthew, and seeing how Jesus lead the disciples whether it be discreetly or not. This verse shouts out to you how Jesus lead them. He wants the disciples, and all of us for that matter, to turn towards God as our Father and to embrace being his children. Children have questions and not too many boundaries when forming a relationship. Children are not afraid to ask for help and just want all the love they can get along with sharing their love as well. It is hard when you are an adult, or even a young adult in college for my instance and to think about going back to being a child. Children are seen as defenseless and in a way weak in everyday life, and we need to just be like that as God’s children. We should rely on Him and go to Him for protection.

I thought throwing in a toddle picture of me would be fun, and I wanted an excuse to go through all my baby pictures.

2 Kings Chapters 22 and 23

Josiah

We are almost at the end of 2 Kings so there will only be one post following this one left, and then we will be moving on! I have learned so much from this book and I hope y’all have as well. My summer so far has focused on prayer and evangelism, and I have learned so much about prayer from these books, whether it be from Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Josiah, and so on. Overall this historical book is filled with so much spiritual juice, and you just have to squeeze it out and focus on the bigger picture and not on all the various leaders and cities and so on. This post will tell of another great ruler in Judah, and then more not so wonderful, and unrighteous leaders.

So the key person in these chapters is Josiah, king of Judah for 31 years. He ruled righteously and the Bible says he “walked in the ways of David his father,” 2 Kings 22:2. Okay so if a king is compared to David, it is a BIG DEAL. You know he was a great, spiritual man with fervor to share the awesomeness of his LORD. Other good leaders who were righteous were always labeled as being still less than David, so you know Josiah was class A in character. So one of the first things Josiah does as king is that he repaired the temple and unlike other leaders from the past, he completely trusts the money to the workers. He puts his faith into them instead of watching them like a hawk. He trusts also Hilkiah, the high priest at the time, with the operations of the reparation. Something amazing happens during the repairs! Hilkiah finds the Book of the Law…he found THE LAW from God. The temple must have been cluttered or something, but Hilkiah was able to find it. When the Book of the Law is read aloud to Josiah, Josiah reacts as many do, he “tore his clothes,” 2 Kings 22:11. What does this mean? Josiah was humbled and honored to be in contact with the Book of the Law that he showed his devotion and acceptance of not being worthy to be in sight of the Book by baring himself and purify himself in the presence of this object. The picture from Wikipedia above shows the joy Josiah had when he heard the Book of the Law. Josiah turns to a prophetESS, A WOMAN PROPHET, y’all I really have never heard of a woman prophet, so when I read about her I was just excited and ecstatic. Girl Power! Her name is Huldah, and was keeper of the wardrobe (I of course automatically think of Narnia). Huldah shares God’s message to Josiah. God tells her to say that Judah will face great wrath because of how they have been living (think to the last post about Manasseh), but because Josiah is so humble and faithful, the wrath will not occur while Josiah is alive. God will wait for Josiah to be at peace in his grave with his fathers before He takes down Judah. God says, “Your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place,” 2 Kings 22:20. What anxiety Josiah probably experienced! His beloved country would be in shambles and there is nothing he could do about it, but at the same time he is blessed with not having to see it. 

Upon hearing the prophecy, Josiah begins many reforms for Judah. Josiah had all citizens, priests, prophets, I mean literally everyone of Judah and especially of Jerusalem to gather around him. Josiah then read aloud the Book of the Law for all to hear. No one could now say that they have never heard the Law because Josiah is preaching it from the actual source. After reading the Law in front of all, he then made a public covenant with the LORD to, “walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and hist testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book,” 2 Kings 23:3. All of the people of Judah joined in on this covenant as well. Josiah then had the false gods (like Baal) taken down…all their temples, statues, priests, prophets, and so on. He also stopped a popular culture thing at the time-male cult prostitutes. Josiah wanted all uncleanness out of his kingdom, so the people would feel no pressure or desire from Satan or the flesh to become reattached to the false gods. Josiah also restores Passover, which had been forgotten or not practiced for a long time. The Bible says that no king would ever lead with all their heart and soul like Josiah had. So after we read about all the restorations and new reforms, it tells that although Judah has done a complete flip from their past, that Judah would still be punished because of Manasseh. Josiah dies in battle against the Pharaoh of Egypt, and was returned to Jerusalem to lay in peace. So we all know that based on the prophecy that Judah’s end will come soon. Josiah’s son Jehoahaz rules for 3 months and was the complete opposite of his father. He was evil and eventually held captive by the Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, and the Pharaoh then named another one of Josiah’s sons as king, and his name was Eliakim and was then renamed by the Pharaoh: Jehoiakim. So Egypt was using Judah pretty much as a puppet state at this point. Egypt was indirectly controlling Judah until they payed to get Jehoahaz back. Jehoiakim was able to gather all the talents he needed to pay off the Pharaoh so that he could get his brother back, but he did so by heavily taxing the people of Judah. Jehoiakim reigned in Judah for 11 years and was evil like his brother. I just always wonder how they could have had such a great and righteous father, yet they are pure evil. We will find out what happens next in the last chapters of 2 Kings in the next post!