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March 31, 2023 - 2 Kings 21-24

After Hezekiah, Manasseh reigned in Jerusalem for 55 years, followed by his son, Amon, and his short two-year reign. Of Manasseh, the writer tells us, “Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (21:16). Amon was very much like his father so that these were very dark years for Judah.

And, then, there was Josiah. What a challenge he faced, but “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left” (22:2). He cleansed the Temple of all its idolatrous paraphernalia, called the people back to the Mosaic law, and kept the Passover, which had not “been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah” (23:22). And, then, there was Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, all unfaithful kings. How extraordinary was the reign of Josiah, which was wedged in between such unfaithful and wicked kings. He stood against the trends. He swam against the tides. He was different. He was determined to do right even when so many around him did evil and as the nation became more and more unfaithful. A good model for us.

Oh, for that tenderness of heart,

That bows before the Lord;

That owns how just and good thou art,

And trembles at thy word.

Oh, fill my soul with faith and love,

And strength to do thy will;

Raise my desire and hopes above,

Thyself to me reveal. –Charles Wesley (1808)

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