We are going to start with Asa, 3rd king of Judah after the split of Israel. Now, Asa was the first king of Judah that was right with The LORD, and his heart was perfect with the LORD all his days according to 1 Kings 15:14 – I would argue his “perfect” heart. I believe morally speaking he was always right. He removed his own mother from being queen for making an idol in a grove [1 ki 15:13], and made many other changes in Chronicles 14. The king of Israel during the reign of Asa was Baasha, which means ‘wicked’ [H1211]. And there was war between the two all their days. However Asa took all the gold and silver from the treasure of the house of the LORD and had them delivered to Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, in Damascus so that Syria would break the covenant they had with Israel, so that they would depart from Judah. Ben-hadad listened and smote a number of cities belonging to Israel which made Baasha stop attacking Judah once he heard the bad news. [1 ki 15:18-21]
Hanani the seer, possibly the father of Jehu who became king of Israel [1 ki 16:1], rebuked Asa for relying on the king of Syria instead of God. Asa was therefore wroth and sent Hanani in prison. This is the reason why I don’t think to highly of Asa. [2 Ch 16:7-11]
In Asa’s 39th year he had a severe disease in his feet, yet he sought physicians, not The LORD. He therefore died two years later. Silly Asa. During the early years of Asa’s reign, he was attacked by one million Ethiopians, Judah were strongly outnumbered. Asa sought the LORD and The Ethiopian army were defeated by the hand of God. I don’t blame Hanani calling Asa a fool for not doing the same thing with Israel. The same thing happened to king Uzziah (Azariah) the 10th king of Judah; he eventually turned away from The LORD, got leprosy and died.
Now let’s move onto Hezekiah king of Judah, (10th king after Asa, 195 years later). Hezekiah is regarded very highly; he trusted the LORD, clave unto the LORD and never departed. [2 ki 18:5-7] However, history repeats itself here. In the 14th year of Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came against the fenced cities of Judah and took them. Hezekiah says to king of Assyria “I have offended” and offers a bribe to regain the cities. Like Asa did, Hezekiah took all the silver and gold from the temple of the LORD and his house, and gave it to the king of Assyria. Remember when Asa did that [above]?
When Hezekiah was 39, prophet Isaiah tells the king, “thus saith the LORD, set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” Then he prayed, wept and remembered the former relationship he had with God. God answers Hezekiah’s prayers by adding 15 years in his life. [2 Ki 20:1-6]
Unlike Asa, Hezekiah sought The LORD when he would surely die. I love how history nearly repeated itself to the letter! Yet God forgave Hezekiah for not turning to the LORD (thus being like a harlot.) This is a beautiful story… so far. The rest is hilarious!
At that time Berodach-baladan, son of Baladan king of Babylon sent letters and a present to Hezekiah as the king of Babylon heard that Hezekiah had been sick. Hezekiah decides to show them absolutely everything! He showed them all the precious thing, silver, gold, spices, precious ointment, all armour, all his treasures. There was nothing Hezekiah showed them not [2 ki 20:1-13].
Wow, what an absolutely STUPID thing to do! Isaiah then prophesied to Hezekiah that the Babylonians will captivate Judah at some point.
Babylon had every reason to invade Judah at that point, but God’s hand is over everything; it wasn’t His will for it to happen yet. Instead, God would judge Judah using the Babylonian empire 125 years later. Wow, indeed God is in control. AMAZING!
God is merciful to us today even when we don’t deserve it. Our whole life is saved thanks to The Cross – our wages have been paid in full by Jesus so we don’t have to pay a dime (which is still death). Even before The Cross, God was willing to give mercy to them that didn’t even have their wages paid off yet. Wouldn’t it be great if banks and building societies were this merciful if we struggle to pay what we borrowed and interest? But no, instead they insist in adding to our wages through fines after fines. (I personally think banks would prosper if they cancelled debts, that’s what the Jews have to do on Jubilee years and look how Israel have prospered!) But I guess in the Old Covenant times they were only able to tempt God so much without repenting before judgement did happen. But God was still incredibly patient with them, read my previous blog on the Kings and Jeremiah as I go in more details in this.
Today in The New Covenant, the next wrath of God is reserved for after the tribulation. It is said that earthquake and all sorts of natural disasters are judgements, but we must remember that we are dwelling in a fallen world based on a former wrath of God. I don’t believe natural disasters were a common thing before the flood (it makes sense if you look into what creationists think how the world changed as a result.) As for nations attacking nations and wars, they are caused by nations not seeking The LORD if you read the books of Kings and Chronicles. They are judgements to make us turn back to Him but nothing like what’s to come. We wouldn’t turn to God if life was like what the Garden of Eden was.
(Hmmm, I hope I haven’t merged God’s wrath and judgements together as I think there is a slight difference. Judgements, final judgement and wrath are different things but do tell me your views on this if you have different views.)
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Over the past few months God gave me a strong desire to study and know more about specific parts of The Bible – and what an adventure that was! I’ve had so many thoughts about those books that now I feel I should write them down. I just finished studying the book of Jeremiah, and studying is different to just reading it. I fell in love with that book because the nature of God was really shown to me.
I suddenly became intrigued with the whole history of Israel regarding their Kings (and Queen), more notable after the death of Solomon, after the split of Israel. The Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom were divided and had their own kings; Israel and Judah, respectively.
I do strongly recommend having a good understanding of the Books of the kings of Israel and Judah (1Ki, 2 Ki, 1Ch and 2Ch) before reading the books of the prophets that lived during those times. But just a quick summary: Israel existed a little over 200 years before they were exiled by The Assyrian Empire after having kings leading Israel to sin, generation after generation. Judah, on the other hand, lasted a little over 400 years before it was exiled by The Babylonian Empire. The kings of Judah were relatively good until after Israel and Judah started to mingle a little. There was war between Israel and Judah until during the reign of Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah. He is considered one of the godlier kings of Judah. However, in my opinion, he is what caused the beginning of what later became a very sinful Judah. During his reign he made an affinity with Ahab, the 7th king of Israel (2Ch 18:1) and fought a war against the king of Syria together (2Ch 18:3&10). I believe it was the affinity that led to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat and who succeeded him to the throne, marrying into the house of Ahab (2Ch 21:6), probably Athaliah whom became ruler of Judah for 6-7 years later on (2ki 8:26 & 2ki 11). I believe this was just the origin of what became a sinful Judah, but it is possible to argue against this.
Throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, you’ll read many times how merciful God is and willing to pardon; especially when evil kings decide to humble themselves and fast. However, I want to speak about the book of Jeremiah. It helps to have studied – with pen and paper – the books of Kings and Chronicles so that you have an understanding of the different kings of Judah. Then you will know that Jeremiah started prophesying and doing his ‘prophet-ing stuff’ during the final 5 kings of Judah before exile (Jer 1:1-3), which adds up to at least 40 years. Throughout the first half of the book you read how God exposes the sins of Judah, yet offers the pardon their sins if they would just repent and turn back to Him. Reading this book I then emphasised on how patient God is and has been with us. For over 40 years Jeremiah was warning the people of Judah about judgement, yet being patient. His patient lasted for over 100 years if you take into account the two evil kings prior to Josiah.
How lucky are we to have a God so merciful and patient? Why does God not judge the world and do with all the evil that’s in it? Because He is patient. We should be grateful for that. I became a Christian at 21, in 2012. If judgement day came before that, I would be in big trouble! However, time is running out. Just look around. Watch.
Mat 24:42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
We may not know the exact hour; however we should know the times. Read Mat 16:1-4. Learn about all the different ‘signs’ of the end times The Bible.
Back to patience:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
It seems I let myself go a little off track, but at least I quoted The Gospel. I hope from now on I will just write down the thoughts I receive from reading God’s word. Do let me know what you think, especially if you think I have unbiblical ideas. I am not a natural writer, this was my first.