“Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:3-4).
The book of 2 Kings closes with one of the saddest pictures in all the Scriptures. The Babylonians have come up and attacked Jerusalem and carried away its people to Babylon and destroyed the buildings and walls around Jerusalem. Regarding Nebuzaradan, a servant of the king of Babylon, it is said, “He burned the house of the Lord and the king's house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around” (2 Kings 25-9-10). As the book of 2 Kings begins to close, God’s people are suffering and their city lay in ruins.
Why had all this happened? As the opening verses above indicate, God was removing His people from His sight because of their sins. King Manasseh, who had reigned years before, had committed great sin and filled the city with “innocent blood” (2 Kings 24:3-4). God would not pardon this sin, but would execute punishment for this sin. God was angry and it was time for His people to experience His wrath. “For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that He finally cast them out from His presence…” (2 Kings 24:20).
However, less we be filled with exceedingly great sorrow at reading these things, the book of 2 Kings concludes in a very interesting way. Notice the final 4 verses of the book: “Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life” (2 Kings 25:27-30).
The book concludes with the king of Babylon bringing Jehoiachin, one of the former kings of Judah, out of prison, sitting him at his table, clothing him, and feeding him well for the rest of his life. The book ends with a message of better days coming for God’s people. Yes, God had been very angry with His people and was punishing them for their sins. However, God also made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would bless the whole world through one who would come through their seed (i.e. Jesus Christ). God’s favor was still going to be upon His people as He would see that this promise was fulfilled.
As I consider these things, I shudder at the thought of God’s wrath coming upon our country because of all the innocent blood (e.g. the practice of abortion) which has been shed in our land and all the evil our nation practices. However, I know God’s favor still rests upon those who seek to remain faithful in the midst of all the evil which surrounds us. Today, I rejoice that, though I am sure God is angry with the sins of our nation, His favor still rests upon those who strive to do His Will!
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).