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Mar 9, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 68

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Exile

You punished first Israel, then Judah, with exile.  Prophets brought a message of hope: In my exile due to sin, show me the way home.

Reflection

Much of King Hezekiah’s good will be undone by his son Manasseh (ch. 22).  2 Chronicles tells us that Manasseh was humbled near the end of his reign and tore down the pagan altars and tried to make amends.  But it was too little, too late for Judah.

NOTE:  During the Divided Kingdom period, the word “Israel” referred specifically to the kingdom in the north.  After the exile of Israel, all that remains is what had been Judah–and the prophets start referring to the southern kingdom as Israel.  The name retains its original connotation of “God’s people”–a designation that is not confined to geographic boundaries.  The messianic hopes of Israel include the belief that the 12 tribes of Israel will one day be fully restored under a Davidic king.  In Romans 11, when Paul says “all Israel” will be saved, he means all 12 tribes — including descendants or representatives of the people of the diaspora, those from the northern kingdom who were scattered in exile.

Key Verses to Remember from the Period of the Exile

“The people of Israel walked in all the sins which Jeroboam did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets.  So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day” (2 Ki 17:22-23).

Today’s Reading

II Kings 21-25

Today’s Question

Take note of the eventual end of Judah and the cause of its demise.  What ray of hope can be found in the final verses of 2 Kings?

Join the discussion below!

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  • King Evilmerodach of Babylonia released King Jehoichin of Judah from prison. He treated exile King
    Jehoiachin of Judah kindly and gave him a position of greater honour than he gave the other kings who were exiles with in Babylonia. So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the King’s table for the rest of his life. Each day , for as long as he lived , he was given a regular allowance for his needs. This reminds me of King David’s kindness to his friend Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth who was allowed to dine at King’s Daivd’s table like any other family member.

  • The ray of hope to me is that not all the people of Judah were killed and the King of Babylon actually released King Jehoichin and showed him kindness. This means that there are still descendants of David from whom our Savior Jesus is born and perhaps also shows God had mercy on his people once again and kept his covenant; therefore , the tribe of Judah had hope that they could be brought back to the promised land.

  • Thank God for never abandoning His covenant promises! This is a dark and sad time, yet God continues to work through it and a glimmer of light is burning; hope for the future restoration of Israel and a Savior to come.

  • That house which David prepared for, and which Solomon built at great amount of cost, that house which had the eye and heart of God perpetually upon it, might not that have been snatched as a brand out of this burning? Nothing is to be fire-proof against God’s judgments.

  • A small ray of hope. A glimmer of light in destruction and chaos. God will never fail us. Sinning alone will defeat us. Sinning and seeking our Lord will save us. A small ray of hope. A glimmer of light in destruction and chaos. God can do good for us sinners. If we seek Him we shall find.

  • This is such a sad reading. I can feel the emotion of the person writing of so much loss and the pain of the loss of the temple: the columns with the pomegranates and the bronze sea. So much promise and hope all dashed. The King is eventually allowed to feast with the King of Babylon and is given an “allowance”; I wonder how bitter this tasted when he had lost God’s Kingdom in the promised land. I saw a glimmer of hope that the commanders took the people to Egypt. A sense of the people moving together … but then I don’t know what happens to them! I will read on!

  • As the point of discussion has been captured so well by everyone else, I thought I would just put what stood out for me in the reading. I really felt for Josiah, he walked with the Lord, turning neither left or right and inherited God’s anger because of his ancestors. I admire him for not giving up and concentrating on what he could do for his people by cleansing the land of false idols and evil practices. He could not save the physical kingdom but he did all he could to lead the people to righteousness. The words that stood our for me are Chapter 23 verse 5 “Before him there had been no king who turned to the LORD as he did, with his whole heart, his whole being, and his whole strength, in accord with the entire law of Moses; nor did any king like him arise after him.” This is the last hero, even greater than David or Solomon and what better description could be given to anyone than that they obeyed the first commandment with every fiber of their being.

    I wonder what is there in my life that stops me from being a Josiah, what idols and high places have crept into my life? I pray that God will guide me to seek them out and grant me the strength and wisdom to tear them down.

    • I also was touched by Josiah and his faithfulness…and maybe what one of our priest said at morning Mass may help us to find some of those idols and high places in our lives: Things where Power; Pleasure; Wealth; and Honor are central…Power, Pleasure, Wealth, and Honor belong to God, but as Father was saying we put things in God’s place…ie. Food being a greater pleasure than God…how much we have instead of God being the most important thing that makes us feel rich…being more concerned about others’ praises than what God would think…putting ourselves in control instead of trusting and relying on God.
      I thought this was an easy way to work on some of those issues this Lenten season.

  • Thr only ray of hope I see is a few people flee ot Egypt as did Jacob when the land was in famine, Jesus also flees to Egypt to escape Herod. True hope must come from the prophets of this time. I have read the entire book of Joel (it is only four short chapters. Only there do I see hope. However the Babylonians seem to be treating the Israelites better than the Assyrians have.

  • 2Kings 25 ends with a ray of hope in sight. King Jehoiachin being pardoned after 37 years.
    The promise made to David continues ‘I will make you a dynasty’ 2Sam 7:11.
    Redemption is in sight and the Davidic line continues.

  • The reconstructing of Israel, brings hope to the cleansing of life through The Lord our God. I am really shocked by such evil tha was brought forth during this time most especially time and time again by the majority of the kings. God help us to NOT reach out to you materialistic ally, and instead open our minds and hearts to having trust and faith in following your path for us. Amen

  • I was confused why I didn’t get DAY 67, but I was able to download it and quickly read the chapters, 17-20, though they were the most horrible chapters of all the books of Kings, with the idolatry and human sacrificing. Of course it helped me to understand in Day 68, CH. 21-25, why God finally got so angry with the land of Judah and allowed their enemies to just take over. God warned them with the “book” what was going to happen to them because Manas’seh sinned so badly and shed so much innocent blood, it was just unforgiveable. With the ending verses, when the King of Babylon freed King Jehoiachin, of Judah, I saw a heart of mercy and reprieve. Hopeful that this ended the reign of so many Kings who did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as so many of their ancestors did.

    • Can we see any similarity in the way that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s push for nuclear power in the Middle East; and his stance on negating the Palestinian State and the behavior of the land of Judah in these chapters? Isn’t it possible we still need to pray for an Israel that turns its focus to God…seeing the heart of mercy and reprieve God has had in their long and ancient relationship with God; and which has been the basis of much teaching for all peoples as to how He deals with those whom he loves…both in blessings and in chastisements? We have been asked in our parish to pray the rosary every day…maybe one of our intentions should be for the turning of our hearts, especially those in these troubled parts of the world to God…asking His help and grace to be more generous. merciful, and peaceful with others…nations to nations; nationalities to nationalities; person to person…

      • In my bible study on the Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother, we dedicated our daily Rosaries to the intentions of Pope Francis for peace in the world and an end to religious persecution.

        Now we are studying the Prophets – Messengers of God’s Mercy, and we dedicate our Rosaries to the sanctity of all human life. There are so many at risk… from the unborn to the sick and elderly who are “euthanized” because they are considered no longer worthwhile; to the victims of ISIS who are slaughtered for believing in Jesus Christ and a loving merciful Father.

        • My heart just aches with all that goes on in our world. Reading these chapters has made me so aware of what God wants from the people on this earth. It is so simple to love and have forgiveness with an open heart and mind, and I am only a simple person trying to pray that things will get better, that everyone will turn to God. Then again I also see my own weakest hours when I forgot to pray and kept in mind how much God loves me no matter what. Maybe if I commit to also pray the rosary by myself, more than once a month with some friends, I may feel better.

      • Thank you Beverly, you’re right these Bible readings have made me more sensitive to the news about the Middle East and the continual wars there. It is so sad that things are not any different with the sins of hate, greed and idolatry. During the remainder of the Lent I will pray so much deeper with all my heart.

        • You are not alone, Margie. Thanks, Beverly, for your comparison and insight into what’s happening in the Middle East right now. I too have a better understanding (be it ever so slight) as a result of this study. It prompts me to pray for peace more than I have.

      • I believe these chapters show that there will always be evil and conflict in the world at large. At the time the books of Kings were written this was the entire known world. Today we have evil and corruption all over and one of the things I took out of these books was that we are each called to live a life pleasing to God, forsaking the things the “world” tells us will be good for us. As far as Prime Minister Netanyahu I’m not sure how I would feel if my country was surrounded by other countries that said they wanted to destroy us! I’ve lived overseas in a foreign land with people around that don’t especially like you just because you are an American is a very scary feeling and it is easy to become defensive …. just saying…

        • The sadness between warring countries is they don’t turn their eyes solely to God. This goes for Prime Minister Netanyahu and other regional leaders. As you aptly said, this is because they live in fear because they are the minority. We know what the answer is, to love everyone! This is easier said than done when nuclear weapons are involved. We see it in our country, as well with the calls for religion to be pushed out entirely from everyday discussions. Some would like for all churches to be closed because religion should have no place in our culture, in some mindsets. This is so scary for those of us trying to live our lives as Jesus asks us. Much of what we see is counter to His teachings. Prayer, prayer and more prayer, is needed! That, and standing up for what is right. After all, we are asked to follow His way but we also know we need to Evangelize! To sit idly by and wait for our hopes to magically occur is tantamount to doing nothing and makes us no better than those trying to push their opinion on us. Have a blessed day!

          • Prayer is so powerful! We just had a day retreat at church and it got me focused on what an hour of silent prayer can do. We finished with an hour of Tazai prayer around the cross. I prayed for my husband to get back to reading his Bible and yesterday he had his Bible out and we talked about the retreat and its effect on us. We can only change ourselves and pray for others then by our example
            get people to ask why or how we have the peace that as Catholics we all know comes
            Only from God!

      • Hello,
        I’ve been enjoying reading all of your insights. Please pray for Iran – they are the ones who have said they want to blow Israel off of the map. Israel just wants to exist. We must support Israel as Christians.

    • I didn’t get it yesterday either, Margie. This happened to me once before. Fortunately we can access them from the site. 🙂

    • Yes,
      From time to time a day fails to send from The Great Adventure server, fortunately they always start with a link to past episodes so those of us who are neglected can fill in the missing days.

    • I, too, didn’t get Day 67, but was able to retrieve it when I got Day 68. Made it a bit hard today getting all the readings done. Thank the Lord…I was asked to ‘sub’ at Adoration this afternoon, which gave me the quiet time I needed! God is good!!!

    • Thanks to all of you for letting me know I wasn’t alone in not getting DAY 67, and that it happens sometimes. I was worried that I was removed from the mailing list. I also found out there is no way of contacting Sarah Christmyer either, and that we’re on our own.

      • Margie, there should be a little popup near the bottom of your screen that says “Contact us!” Most of us probably never notice that it’s there…

        • Thank you Marianne, as I hit my forehead… “duhuh”. I’ve seen it so much I overlooked what it meant.

    • I didn’t get day 67 either and noticed this a couple times before on a Sunday. Ha computers need a day of rest also I suppose!

  • I got so behind in my reading, that I finally got caught up reading all the chapters of the book of Kings. I continued to post my comments for each day, just so I could have my personal reflections on what I read.

  • What I found amazing with reading Kings, is that even though the Israelites committed such evil against God, He reprimands them but then forgives them by opening a window ever so slightly through the actions of the King of Babylon.

  • Finally! Josiah’s high priest, Hilkiah, finds the book of the law (of Moses) in the temple and reads it to Josiah. Josiah tears down all the idolitrous altars … everything evil in the land … and pleases the Lord with his unswerving conduct as his ancestor David had done. It makes me wonder about any of these kings, though. The few who followed the book of the law were definitely in the minority. It seems that when such a king who followed the Lord tried to undo the evil in the land, they (until Josiah) never took it all the way, but left remnants of the evil, idolitrous worship. Unfortunately, Josiah’s attempts were too little, too late.

    I may be rambling here, but it leaves me wondering whether the kings who followed the Lord had any influence at all on their sons or the people. Josiah was young (18) when he found the book of the law. Surely his children were young enough to be impressionable? The fact that his son, Jehoahas, didn’t follow his father’s example during his reign tells me that the influence of everyone else was far too strong to allow Josiah’s influence to take root and hold. Maybe Josiah didn’t pray for his children to follow in God’s ways. I need pray every day for my children, that God will touch their hearts, that maybe one day a desire will grow within them to seek and know the Lord more intimately. I have to trust that God hears my prayers and has my children and their salvation in the palm of His hand. In the meantime, I try to be the example God wants me to be to them, and others around me. Lord, help me to be obedient to Your will in my life and allow me to plant many seeds that will take root and bring others to seek, to know, to feel your mercy, blessings and grace in their lives. Thank You for watering the seeds others planted in me and allowing me to turn my face to Your Sonshine. Please never let me turn my face from You! Amen.

    • Yes!, and for those who have smaller children, (or grandchildren), to pray “with” them would be equally important, or likely more important (both would be best of all)

  • In many ways I am glad that Kings are over – the history was fascinating and the overall story exciting but the continual repetition of evilness and paganism was frustrating to read. When Josiah dusted off The Law and reinstated Passover, my heart was given a lift but lo, and behold, his successor stepped back on evil’s back. This part gave me hope that some hearts were not hardened and that there was hope for the line of David.

    Certainly the ray of hope was King Evilmerodach took the Israelites into bondage rather than kill them all (giving us hope that the line could survive) and when, finally, he pardons Jehoiachin – King of Judah – and he is allowed to take his seat at the king’s table. Our House of David is hanging on by a single thread . . . tie a knot and hang on as there is a lot of history to come.

  • Jehoiachin’s release from prison concludes the book of Kings with a sense of hope that the Davidic line will continue and the kingdom of Israel will one day be restored. This hope corresponds with God’s covenant with David, according to which He would establish Israel through Solomon and “the throne of his kingdom forever”. Thus, the narrative of 1–2 Kings ends where it began: with the expectation that the line of David will reign over Israel forever.

  • All, I was sent a prayer that came from Our Lady during apparitions in the Netherlands starting in 1945 and continuing for several years. We need to pray for the world, Our Lady of Nations can help us.
    “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
    send now your Spirit over the earth.
    Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
    that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster, and war.
    May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary*, be our Advocate. Amen.

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