When God Lets His People Fall
Josiah, Amon’s son, is only eight when he becomes king. But he is nothing like his evil father—Josiah pursues God.
While repairs are being made on God’s temple, the high priest finds the Book of the Law. Josiah, now 26 years old, hears its words and he is struck with grief—his people have neglected God’s Word for generations. He calls the people to God’s temple and reads the long-neglected Scriptures to them. He recommits the nation to God’s covenant. The people devote themselves to God—heart and soul.
But after Josiah’s death, his son Jehoahaz reverts back to evil. So does the next king, Jehoahaz’s brother Jehoiakim. During Jehoiakim’s reign, God sends invader after invader to destroy Judah. And during his son Jehoiachin’s reign, the mega-empire Babylon attacks, capturing Jerusalem. King Nebuchadnezzar plunders God’s temple, stripping it of its sacred treasures. He takes Jehoiachin and thousands of God’s people to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar makes Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, Judah’s new king. Zedekiah eventually rebels against Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar retaliates. He destroys Jerusalem, burning God’s temple to the ground. Only the poorest Israelites are left in the promised land. God’s surviving people are either taken into exile in Babylon or flee to Egypt.
The King’s Heart
They presented offerings to a dark storm god. They bowed to the cosmic powers that were associated with the sun and stars. They “worshiped” sex gods with male prostitutes living in God’s temple. Their priests slaughtered sacrifices at pagan shrines. They burned their children alive for the detestable Molek.
These “gods” were instruments of powerful demonic forces. God’s people weren’t aware that they were playing into the evil schemes of the powers that are at war with the Most High God. But as God’s people worshiped darkness, they were becoming sick and enslaved.
As these forces got a tighter grip on God’s people, the God who was being insulted, hurt and defamed through his people’s adultery continued to work to bring about their rescue. Unlike the forces of darkness, God is good, good, good.
In 605 BC, during Jehoiakim’s reign, the Babylonians attacked Judah and took many captives—including Daniel (see Daniel 1:1–7). In 597 BC, the Babylonians attacked again, taking King Jehoiachin, the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 1:1) and ten thousand others into captivity. Finally, in 586 BC, after a two-year siege, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and conquered Judah.