Israel’s Good and Bad Leaders Like the USA’s

April 24, 2018 at 10:19 AM

My daily Bible reading has me finished up with 1 Kings and heavily into 2 Kings. There are some wonderfully powerful truths in these books that, even though the subject is Israel/Judah, apply to Christians as well. One main truth is that obedience is absolutely key. For Christians today, is your life marked by obedience to God, not as a form of ritual or legalism, but as an honest means of devotion expressed to God? What good is it if we say we are Christians but fail to consistently live a life that is aligned with His commands?

The last king of Israel (the northern nation after the split), was Hoshea. God had gotten fed up you might say. He allowed things to play out until the end so that Israel would have had every possible chance to repent. Of course God knew no amount of chances would bring change to the northern kingdom but it could never be said that He had not provided every opportunity to repent, humble themselves, and do an about-face. In 2 Kings 17 we see the results of this. Israel’s northern kingdom goes into exile. Please, take a few moments to read through that chapter to learn just how bad, corrupt, and evil the Israelites had become. In many instances, they had become worse than the neighboring nations they were supposed to drive out of the land. It is summed up for us in the following verses.

14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”

16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal.17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. (2 Kings 17:14-17 NIV)

None of the kings over the northern kingdom were good after the nation split into two. Not one. Only several were good over the southern portion of Israel, or Judah. Hezekiah (2 Kings 18), was one of the good guys. He really did manage to turn things around, at least outwardly. It is certain that many within Judah continued their detestable practices, but under Hezekiah’s rule, it clearly went underground. He did much to put Judah on the right track as far as God was concerned.

3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory. (2 Kings 18:3-8 NIV)

Now, while it can be argued that toward the end of his life, he grew a bit careless, overall, his life pleased God because of Hezekiah’s commitment to God and to do what God said was the correct thing to do. When the threat of attack came to him (from the Assyrian Empire under Sennacherib), Hezekiah immediately went to prayer, humbling himself before God. In fact, from the tone of his request, it becomes clear that he was far more concerned about God’s reputation in this threatened upcoming battle than anything else (2 Kings 19:14-19). God heard his prayer and answered it sending the prophet Isaiah with His response to Hezekiah.

But notice after Hezekiah dies, his son Manasseh becomes king in his place. Hezekiah’s successor “did evil in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 21:2 ff), and essentially brought the nation back to idolatry and child sacrifice. He even sacrificed his own son to false gods (v. 6) and sought out mediums. It is understandable why God was thoroughly displeased with Manasseh, who incidentally, reigned for 55 years. A sign of God’s forbearance? We might wonder why God allows such vile people to become leaders. Certainly He has his reasons and we may not ever fully understand this until this life is over. Manasseh was so bad that God decided to end Judah because of him.

When we arrive to 2 Kings 22, we learn of another king named Josiah, who began to reign when he was just 8 years old. By the way, notice that with nearly every king mentioned in 1 and 2 Kings, the name of the mother was also given. There is a connection. Every good king had a mother who was a follower of Jehovah. Every bad king was a follower of some false god. It is understandable that these men would often do what their own mothers provided an example of for them. Manasseh seemed to be an exception to the general rule, having descended from Hezekiah, who lived for God.

Josiah’s mother was a woman by the name of Jedidah daughter of Adaia. It is a good bet that 8-year-old Josiah ruled the way he did because of his mother’s life and the way he was raised. Josiah ruled for 31 years and during his tenure, the Book of the Law was found. Josiah had it read publicly and endeavored to put its covenantal practices into use in Judah. In fact, after hearing the words of the Law, Josiah was so overcome with grief for not having obeyed, that he tore his clothes as a sign of this grief and repentance (v. 11). He made a distinct effort to learn what was in the Law and to put it into practice in Judah.

Even so, God spared Josiah and Judah from disaster during Josiah’s reign that He (God) had warned would come upon the nation because of their rebellion and stiff-necked attitude towards Him (especially Manasseh’s). Josiah lived in peace and at the appointed time, he “slept” with his fathers (died). It was after this, that God began to visit disaster on Judah because the next two kings – Jehoahaz, who reigned for 3 months and Jehoiakim, who reigned for 11 years – continued the evil that Manasseh and other kings did in the eyes of the Lord. There was no longer any reprieve and Judah eventually suffered for her waywardness.

In reading through these historical books of the Old Testament, it absolutely amazes me how several kings could be so evil, followed by one who did what was right before God, followed by several more evil kings, until eventually, God decided to put away Israel and Judah from His sight. He didn’t want to deal with them anymore and would wait until a new generation of Hebrews would cry out to Him under the oppressive rule they repeatedly found themselves due to their parents’ rebellion against God.

We see this same type of thing happening in America. During the Obama administration, I repeatedly heard warnings of God’s coming judgment against America for the evil that was prevalent. Biblical history (as well as secular), indicates that God allows a nation to go rogue only for so long before He steps in to terminate that nation. We know that one of the reasons He brought Israel into existence was to act as an arm of His judgment against rogue nations. Did God need to do that? Of course not, but that’s what He chose to do. Unfortunately – and certainly God saw this ahead of time – Israel often acted worse than the neighboring empires they were commissioned to overtake and destroy.

Now, with President Trump, America appears to be experiencing a respite, a move back toward the rule of Constitutional law, though the evil people still in power don’t appear to want to give up. Who can blame them? They have a great deal to lose. While I do not believe as some do, that President Trump is our “Cyrus,” he certainly appears to be one of the “good” guys who wants to put America right. He wants to root out the evil that permeates America’s government. Frankly, I’m wondering why – if God spoke to “prophets” today at all about Trump – why He did not inspire them to call Trump a second “Josiah” as opposed to Cyrus? Josiah was a king in Israel. Cyrus was an outsider. Josiah returned the nation to the Law. Cyrus did not do this though he did allow people to return to Jerusalem. Josiah did what he could to “clean” things up in Israel, restoring it to its rightful place before God. Cyrus did not do that. He was essentially a king who simply incorporated Israel into his existing kingdom. To me, Trump is more in line with Josiah than Cyrus, but I’m not a prophet or seer. Never claimed to be either.

But consider America, a nation that has been moving toward Marxism rapidly and consistently for several decades or more. Think about the average American’s current worldview, which is anchored in the godlessness of evolution. This working hypothesis thoroughly devalues human beings and allows/encourages the killing of millions of unborn children annually. This devaluation of life itself warps the thinking and promotes more godlessness, where each person becomes their own law. How can we think this is all going to be solved in 4 to 8 years? The good created by the Trump administration will certainly last for a bit, but Satan is not going to stop and go to sleep. He isn’t giving up.

Will Americans give up their evolutionary, godless worldview? Was Josiah able to change the hearts of the people or did his efforts result in the outward appearance of change by the people of Judah? It wasn’t long after Josiah’s death that evil regained control of Judah. The exact same may happen in America and we’ve got to be prepared for that. In spite of it, God’s will for us marches on and we need to keep in step with that will.

I don’t believe President Trump’s changes will ultimately change hearts. His changes may force people to adopt a specific outward posture, but inside, will they be changed? Scripture indicates a pagan belief system will become a worldwide in scope. This brief respite we have under Trump will not convert the world back toward righteousness. Only salvation from God accomplishes that and it happens one individual at a time. While I certainly applaud and support President Trump’s efforts to revitalize America and bring it back under the rule of law as delineated under the Constitution, it cannot last. The Bible precludes it. The only thing that brings about eternal change is salvation itself, which changes the heart of the person it touches. Nothing else does that. Laws don’t do that. Threats don’t do that. Cajoling doesn’t do that. Only authentic salvation. Only those folks who receive salvation will even truly want to learn to be obedient to God. All others will simply go through the motions at best.

Folks, regardless of the times, we always need to be prepared.

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:15-17 ESV)

Evangelizing the unsaved is best done one on one. We need to take the time to patiently explain why Satan’s promoted worldview is not reality. Are you prepared to do that?

Entry filed under: Agenda 21, alienology, Atheism and religion, christianity, Communism, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Eastern Mysticism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Shadow Government. Tags: , , , , .

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