On this 4th of July, my One Year Bible reading made me cry. This is because it told the story of the fall of a nation and the desolation of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:31 – 25:30). It was not an easy passage to read but I had to acknowledge the parallels – both real and potential.
On August 14 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. – 2 Kings 25:8-11 (NLT)
When this passage is read in context with the preceding passages, the message is unmistakable. God judges nations.
From earlier readings we know that God judged Judah based on many years of idolatry, pagan practices and lawlessness. The is made clear in 2 Kings 21.
He [King Manasseh] built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord, the place where the Lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. Manasseh also sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practiced sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger. – 2 Kings 21:4-5 (NLT)
Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight. – 2 Kings 21:16 (NLT)
Given this context, the implied promise of God in our initial passage (2 Kings 25:8-11) seems to be one of consequences. The timeless message I’ve identified is that no nation lasts forever. The command that 2 Kings 25:8-11 suggests to me is that nations must honor God or face destruction.
American and Idolatry
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord… – Psalm 33:12
As I read the heartbreaking story of the destruction of God’s holy city, I couldn’t help connecting the story of Judah to the United States. Like the late Derek Prince, I believe that America will be judged. Like Messianic Jew, Jonathan Cahn, I believe that there is a parallel between the stories of an ancient nation and a young one.
I also believe that the Bible is the Living Word of God and that everything within is relevant to our life and times.
In our country, as in Judah, idolatry reigns. The New Age has become so mainstream that people are no longer aware that many of the teachings and practices they take for granted are of occult or pagan origins. Recently, in fact, I read an article on outreach ministry that suggested churches offer yoga. Naturally, few people know that yoga postures are linked to worship of ancient deities, but those writing ministry guides should be aware.
Such across the board acceptance of the New Age makes it very easy for people to be drawn in. As I was.
On top of the outright worship of demonic entities, we have the not so very different worship of the creation instead of the creator. This can be seen in materialism, pantheism and a wide range of addictions. These too are things that I’m familiar with either in my own experience or in that of my family.
And then their is the innocent blood.
America and Bloodshed
In 2 Kings the blood shed was the blood of the children sacrificed to Baal and Molech and the slaughter of the prophets.
Authors like Jonathan Cahn draw a parallel between ancient human sacrifice and the staggering loss of life caused by abortion. And from my perspective, as controversial as this is, I think it’s a point we should all consider. I don’t personally feel that any fingers should be pointed at those who have abortions. Mainly because fingerpointing is wrong but also because, while some women who have abortions are definitively Pro-Choice, others are coerced.
I am personally aware of several situation where women were pressured into having an abortion. In these instances the “right to choose” was more about the family’s right to choose community standing and the father’s right to choose freedom than it was about the woman’s right to determine her own future. As a result, guilt is burden that many such women carry for the remainder of their lives.
Cahn’s parallel may seem like a stretch and that’s how I felt too the first time I heard it. Then I began to think of another kind of idolatry mentioned earlier – the tendency to value the created (success, career, status) over the creator. From that perspective I could see where Cahn was coming from.
But even if we set such controversial views aside, I think it’s safe to say that our country has spilled enough blood to fulfill any propheicy that mentions bloodshed.
American and Division
Another insight I had while reading about the fall of Jerusalem in 2 Kings 25:8-11 is that, like our country, Judah was divided. People had been condemning each other for centuries. They had forgotten that only God can judge. In our country divisiveness, and judging others, is a disturbing and growing social problem. In addition to the racial and political divide, for example, we now have an emerging polarization between liberals and conservatives.
To a certain extent, the ancient Jews had an excuse. They were operating under the Old Covenant and had not yet received the teaching of Jesus. By expressing tolerance and love (without ever compromising principles) Jesus provides us with an example the people of Judah just didn’t have.
Tolerance plus principle, is balancing act that can be a challenge for all modern day Christians but I think it’s important to remember that people are watching. As I was recently reminded of when one of my New Age friends said she thought it sad that Evangelists were “so judgemental – unlike Jesus.” And the truth is a lot of people agree.
This is partially due to the mostly inaccurate way we are portrayed in the media but there is truth there too. It is important then, from my perspective, to speak the truth in love, as he did.
So these are my thoughts. My action step is prayer and that prayer will be ongoing.
Dear Lord, Please forgive our nation. Please help us to turn from idolatry and bloodshed. Help us to overcome divisiveness and reconnect with one another in love. May the United States of American repent and sin no more. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you want to know more about the teaching of Derek Prince, as mentioned in this article, you may wish to read Blessing or Curse, You Can Choose.
If you’re interested in learning more on the views of Jonathan Cahn, I recommend his NYT’s bestseller The Harbinger.
Today’s One Year Bible Reading
2 Kings 23:31-25:30
Next Week’s One Year Bible Reading
1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14
1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18
1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17
1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36
1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17
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