Tough Love

What are the consequences for our actions?

2 Kings 24:8-20(a)

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done.

10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.

In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.

15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans. 17 He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 19 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Consequences

Where do you draw the line with a wayward, defiant, rebellious child? How do you respond when they persistently defy the rules you have set for them?

Sometimes when I’m reading the Old Testament, God can seem harsh, angry, and even scary. But, when you look at the big picture it is quite the opposite. At work, we have a training module we teach carers called ‘1,2,3 Magic’. The main concept is that you let the children know what the expectations and the rules are and let them know the consequence. They get two warnings, and on the third it’s time out.

God had made an offer to His people, His children, that if they obeyed Him and kept His covenant, they would be His special treasure above all people. He would be their King and rule over them, and they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. He made His expectations clear; He warned them about the consequences. However, they wanted to rule themselves, disobey God and worship other gods.

 As we have read in the Bible, generation after generation of God’s people did evil in His eyes. They wanted to rule themselves and worship other gods. God was so patient with them, and He gave them a lot more than two warnings through the prophets; unfortunately, at the end, He had no option but to send them to time out.

This wasn’t easy for God, and the Bible speaks in different places about this. In Isaiah 54:8 it says “For a brief moment, I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger, I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” 

Jesus also expressed the concern and care God had for His stubborn people. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38). I’m not sure if Jesus was referring to that particular exile in the reading, or what was going to happen in the future, but regardless, it speaks of His heart.

Jesus was about to sacrifice His own life on the cross, take the consequences of our sins on Himself. Even during the hour of having to take on the burden of the world, His concern, and tears, at the time were for His people, not Himself. And because He took our consequence, we will never be separated from God again.

Head: What do you think would have happened if the people would have just carried on king after king doing evil in God’s eyes, never reaping the consequences?

Heart: Asindividuals, we are no different, we are still defiant and rebellious and keep doing the wrong things. Examine your heart.

Hands: Repent in any area of your life where you feel convicted.

Prayer: Thank You Father for your everlasting love and compassion for me. I’m sorry that I keep doing evil in your eyes. Thank you for sending Jesus to take my punishment but I don’t want to take it for granted or take advantage of it. You are a great God and I want to commit this day to You.

A song to listen to: Gracious Redeemer

Petrina Rangiawha

This Grow Daily was  originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.