Posted by: arieliondotcom | June 5, 2013

The Divine Divorce (2 Kings 22-25)

The Divine Divorce (2 Kings 22-25)

The unimaginable has happened. The person you love more than your own life has betrayed you. The one you had poured your heart and life into is commiting adultery. Not only that, but they are having sex in your bed. There are pictures of them together all over the house. And the children are being told that this is the new Mommy or Daddy. While you’re still married! And when you try to confront you’re told that this one who had promised to be faithful still loves you. Even as you find them going on a trip with their lover and your children without you.

GOD hates divorce. He isn’t willing that anyone get a divorce. But He allows it under the circumstance of adultery, abandonment and abuse. These terms are used lightly today to get out of marriage easily. But there are times when the sin is so strong and the situation so bad that GOD does allow divorce. And that is because there is a moment in history when GOD divorced His people.

Over and over GOD forgave His people for their unfaithfulness. And He always kept a group of them from destruction for the sake of His promises to Abraham and David. But there came a time when even those He had spared became so unfaithful that GOD gave them up. They were actually behaving worse than the people GOD had evicted from the Promised Land for their sake.

Now both Israel and Judah are evil. There are idols and despicable idol worship going on even inside the Temple. The King of Judah is offering his son as a human sacrifice to foreign gods.

The King of Judah dies but is not buried in the king’s tomb but in a garden and his son, Josiah, brings the people back to GOD for a short time. But GOD won’t change his mind.

King Josiah is like a moment in Judah’s rebellion when the sinning spouse is rummaging through the closet and finds the wedding album. Heartbroken he tries to make amends and clears out every sign of unfaithfulness from the house. But it’s too late.

Until they found the Book of the Law while cleaning up the Temple, Josiah thought worshipping GOD was just one of many gods. The worship of these many gods and idols took place throughout the country and within the Temple. Now that the Book of the Law was found, he realizes what disaster is coming and seeks a prophetess from GOD. Things are so bad the true prophets and prophetesses must be hunted for. But GOD says through the prophetess the King’s repentance spared only the king.

This is the second time we read that GOD gives death as a reward not a punishment. GOD tells King Josiah that judgment and disaster are coming in spite of his repentance and change. We think of death as a horror. But GOD says He will spare Josiah the horror of judgment and bring him Home to GOD in peace.

Notice that GOD still refers to Himself as the GOD of Israel. He means in both senses, the man Israel to whom He’d made the promise to be a blessing and all 12 tribes of his descendants, not only Judah and Levi.

And notice, too, that GOD mentions the sin of the people being the works of their hands. Just as a truly repentant and changed heart will always produce good works, sin will always show signs if you look for them. That’s why JESUS mentioned good fruit and bad fruit in His parables many years after this. The idolatry and unfaithfulness of the heart which refuses GOD will always do something eventually that will expose itself as evil. As Scripture says, be sure of this. Your sin will find you out (expose you). In the case of these idol worshippers, they made idols everywhere and worshipped every created thing. There were fertility idols and sex rituals, women having sex with male prostitutes, human sacrifice of children to demons, worshipping the sun, moon and stars, everything imaginable and some unimaginable except to the most depraved. And much of it was going on in and around the Temple itself, as well as throughout the country and on every hill and under every tree.

Even though King Josiah knows his repentance will change nothing, he cleans the Temple and the land of idolatry. And he and all the people swear before GOD to serve only Him with all their hearts.

But now we learn why GOD did not stop the judgment. Because, although Josiah sincerely repented and turned to GOD, the people didn’t. Just as they’d done before, as soon as Josiah was dead and his son was king in his place, they all turned back to idols.

So the judgments started. The King of Egypt kills Josiah in battle then takes control of Judah and puts Josiah’s sons in charge as puppet kings while they pay him money and he keeps control. Then Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon takes command.

We are used to thinking of one king over one country but Nebuchadnezzar was head of an empire. He ruled over many countries and took their kings captive back to Babylon, along with all of the country’s treasure and most of the population as slaves. That’s what he did now in Judah. He took all of the treasure and anything of value from the Temple and all of the people from the land. He had other armies he conquered conquer Judah for him. And we are left at the end of the books of 1 & 2 Kings with all of Judah and Israel captive to foreigners again and put aside from GOD whom they’ve betrayed.

But there’s a PS to this divorce decree. It is the divorce that didn’t fully happen. The book ends with a new King of Babylon. And he treats the King of Judah less harshly. GOD never did completely destroy His people. The divorce was never finalized. There’s always a remnant given the opportunity to repent and return to Him.

Where there is Life, there’s hope, the saying goes. GOD, as wronged as He was, never completely abandoned His Beloved people. Instead, He kept a small group alive until He could make a new covenant, a new marriage contract with them. And this one gave hope through and past the grave. This new covenant would come at the cost of the Life of JESUS Christ. And His resurrection and Holy Spirit would be His signature, no longer on a contract but in our hearts.

Instead of divorcing us, GOD gives us in Christ death to the old life and new life in Him. The relationship to death is severed and a new Life as His Bride results. The renewed and repentant heart, when asked to receive Christ’s love, will joyfully shout “I do!”

But first comes the captivity. We won’t learn the joy of marriage to Christ until the loneliness of feeling the lack of Him drives us to accept His Love.


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