By Suellen Estes
II KIngs 22-23
Each man is accountable for himself. That’s obvious when we see each man who comes into power as king of Judah.
Hezekiah turns the nation back to the Lord, and sees great miracles from his God. However, his son, Manasseh, leads a disgusting regime.
You might say that Manasseh was an earlier version of a universalist. He had every kind of religion and every kind of horrible practice was encouraged. Putting children through the fire, making sacrifices to every outlandish god, astrology, witchcraft, divination, spiritualism…you name it, he had it.
Remember the adage we started with: the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. If we don’t look back at these passages with the eyes of a New Testament believer – in other words, with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, we miss a lot.
There is only one true God. We are either worshipping Him in truth, or we are not. When we look back at these chapters in history, we see that God’s plan of a special people who will bring the Deliverer to the world is being diluted and compromised by the cocky, self-centered ones who come into power. They think that they are too smart for God.
Well, they aren’t as smart as they think, and they are digging a hole for their nation.
Thankfully, Josiah arrives on the scene. At eight years old, he has a desire to return the nation to holiness. He tears down all of the shrines to other gods, and reinstitutes the Passover, which has not been celebrated for many years. (How does he know what to do? He reads the Book of the Covenant. How do we know what to do? We read the Book of the Covenant ).
Unfortunately, the nation has gone too far, and their time of contending with God has come to an end. So the Pharoah of Egypt kills Josiah. And when Josiah’s son becomes king, the Pharoah imprisons him so that he can not rule, and replaces him with another evil man – Jehoiakim.
These are sad days in the life of Judah. Their time is about up. God has sent prophet after prophet to try to keep these people on the right track, but they just will not honor and follow the one true God.
I pray that we will heed the lessons of those days. I pray that our nation – and indeed, our world – will return to the one true God.
It seems that everyday Jesus is introducing something new to His disciples.
For several centuries, the Samaritans have been considered second-class citizens. Their ancestors had intermarried with other cultures, so that they were considered unclean people by the Jews.
Jesus is about to draw the big line through the ages – the line which will change the covenant. He will cut a new covenant between God and man – a covenant which will allow the Spirit of God to live on the inside of man – the way it was with Adam. When that happens, God’s covenant of mercy will be to all people everywhere.
After all of those years of being told to stay clear of other cultures, these people can’t understand Jesus. He seems like He is breaking the law. His followers love Him and believe Him, but they are confused by Him many times. There are many things they will not understand until He sends back the Holy Spirit to them.
In the meantime, Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman at the well and she runs into town to tell many others. They beg the Savior to stay with them for a while, so He stays two more days, and many come to believe in Him.
After the resurrection of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost, when He sends His Spirit to His disciples, all of these actions will be understood. They will understand that the covenant is no longer just for the Jews, but for all who believe in Him throughout the world. Right now, there’s confusion.
These disciples could have decided that Jesus was in error – as did many Pharisees of the day. But instead, they put these things on the shelf until they could understand them.
Today, the Holy Spirit is here and available to all who desire to walk with Him. He will come to live on the inside of all believers in Jesus, and He will bring understanding to all confusion. Just ask Him to teach you, and He will.
Lord, today, I pray that the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened so that we will know You better and understand more of Your plan.