In today’s reading we are given a three generation genealogy of three very different kings of Israel. Three men who all lived vastly different lives, responding to the God of their people in three very different ways. The grandfather in this family lineup is King Manasseh, a man we read about just two days ago whose life was completely transformed. Known as one of the most wicked kings of Judah, his list of sins was heinous as he led the people of God back into idolatry and wickedness. After spending his life running as far away from God as he possibly could and after finding himself in a place of ruin, he turns to the one and only true God and he is heard. Our God, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, delivers and restores him (for more on that, check out Pastor Ted's blog from yesterday).
This takes us to his son, Amon. Amon chose to follow in his father’s early footsteps and embraced the ways of sin and idolatry. However, Scripture tells us that instead of eventually humbling himself before the Lord the way his father did, he only “increased his guilt” and instead of restoration, we see his story end with assassination and separation from God.
And now we are brought to Josiah, one in whom “neither before or after…was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength” (2 Kings 22:25). In contrast to the wicked exploits of his father and grandfather, King Josiah’s reign was marked by a passionate abandonment of anything not of God.
This grandfather, son and grandson provide quite the study in contrasts, but in the midst of it all, there were two constants:
1. The faithfulness of Jehovah God – a God who is the same yesterday, today and
forever (Hebrews 13:8)
2. The unfaithfulness of his people
These two constants are seen not only in this string of three kings, but also throughout the entire narrative of Scripture. We see a God who has chosen and called out for himself a people, and in turn we see these set apart people again and again and again and again and again (this could go on for pages!) be unfaithful. In fact, we see later in Scripture that God commands his prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, who is a prostitute, for the sole purpose of using that marriage as an illustration of God’s relationship with his beloved people.
It can be so easy as Christians to look at the Israelites in the Bible with a smug sense of superiority. We can be so quick to shake our heads at their foolishness and wonder how they could reject a God who had provided for them in such tangible ways. But we aren’t any different. We may not be erecting Ashera poles and bowing down before golden idols, but we suffer from chronic unfaithfulness just the same, our idolatry just isn’t as obvious. We may be worshiping the god of wealth and power, we may suffer with crippling addictions, or most insidious, we may have placed ourselves on the throne, devoting our lives to whatever it is that WE want, ignoring what it is that God wants.
The good news here is that God hasn’t changed. His ultimate desire to be in communion with his people hasn’t changed. He has made the ultimate sacrifice in order to be one with us, all for His glory.
Regardless of which of the three kings your life story most closely resembles, God’s love for you is the same. His love is unending, his mercies are new every morning and he wants ALL of you ALL of the time. I pray that we as his bride will strive for nothing short of complete and unabashed devotion to our Savior, knowing that in our weakness he is strong.