Day 105 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Second Kings and Psalms.
2 Kings 15 & 16 – One by one, the kings of Israel and Judah come and go—Azariah, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Jotham, Ahaz. And with each passing king, the same old problems remain among God’s people: “The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” (to false gods).
A king to supersede and counter all kings is needed—a king who will not only lead the people out of sin but will provide a way for the people who have followed these kings (and others like them) not to have their sins count against them.
The picture could not be more clear—we need Jesus!
2 Kings 17 – For God’s people, judgment is just the beginning of His mercy. The events recorded in this chapter describe the fall, destruction, and exile of the northern kingdom of Israel, but note that the actual description of this act of judgment is quite brief: “In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” In this particular account, the author has chosen to focus not on the act of God’s judgment but rather on the reasons for it.
It may be tempting to regard Israel’s destruction as the Lord’s inability to protect and provide for His people. In fact, the Lord anticipated such explanation some seven hundred years earlier, when He predicted that His conquered people would say, “Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?” (Deuteronomy 31:17). But the text is clear; Israel’s destruction comes because of Israel’s sin: “And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God”—and because by this sin they broke covenant with the Lord their God.
But why did Israel persist in their idolatry and sin? What prevented their obedience to the covenant? The answer gets to the “heart” of the issue. Israel sinned because they lacked faith. They did not believe or trust in the Lord. We are reminded that both sin and its accompanying judgment are really the fruit of unbelief. Sin is a lack of genuine faith; faith is the true path to obedience.
The good news about Israel’s judgment is that the Lord’s judgment of His covenant people at this time is not the final word. After judgment, God also promised restoration, but restoration by means of a changed heart and, therefore, the gift of faith in order to believe: “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:1–10). Because the Lord is faithful to keep all of His covenant promises, we can look upon the Lord’s judgment of Israel as the beginning of a new work, the Lord’s work to circumcise (purify) the heart.
This work was accomplished by yet another act of judgment, the crucifixion of the Son of God. Thus, by faith, with purified hearts, we look upon Jesus’ judgment as the source of our own hope. For God’s people, Jesus’ judgment on the cross two thousand years ago is our day of judgment—and it is already behind us.
Take a moment to think about that—for the Believer judgement day is already over!
How does that lead you to worship the One who took your judgment upon Himself?
Psalm 105 – We see here the gracious, covenant-keeping God of Israel, who elects, calls, delivers, protects, and cares for His people. Whereas the people are once admonished to “remember the wondrous works that he has done”, twice it is said of God that He remembers: “He remembers His covenant forever” and “He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham, His servant.”
The God who remembered His covenant with His chosen people Israel is the same God who pledges Himself always to care for those whom He calls now into the new covenant (see Hebrews 10:15–25). His word is sure, His promise is secure, and His commitment to His own people—to love, forgive, protect, and provide for them—endures now through the finished work of Jesus, whose death and resurrection secured every good thing for His people forever.
Part of what gives the people of God this confidence is the history of God’s constant care for His own people, as this Psalm records. In every episode of the life of Israel, the constant commitment and care of God is evident. How right it is, then, to “remember the wondrous works that he has done,” and to trust that this same God who has shown His faithfulness will continue to care for His people—who continue to be His own chosen covenant people, through entrance by faith into the new covenant Jesus has purchased for us.
How does this Psalm remind you of God’s faithfulness to you in the past, and give you confidence to trust Him today and tomorrow?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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