Thursday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 35:20—36:10 (NKJV)
35:20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo.
23 And the archers shot King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am severely wounded.” 24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had, and they brought him to Jerusalem. So he died, and was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
25 Jeremiah also lamented for Josiah. And to this day all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations. They made it a custom in Israel; and indeed they are written in the Laments.
26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and his goodness, according to what was written in the Law of the LORD, 27 and his deeds from first to last, indeed they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
36:1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father’s place in Jerusalem. 2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 Now the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 Then the king of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother and carried him off to Egypt.
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD his God. 6 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him, and bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried off some of the articles from the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, the abominations which he did, and what was found against him, indeed they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.
9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD. 10 At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar summoned him and took him to Babylon, with the costly articles from the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah, Jehoiakim’s brother, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
God works all in all. The Creator uses all of His creatures to do His bidding. He speaks His Word through many different messengers. His people, therefore, ought to know His Word well, so that it can be heard—and heeded—as the very Voice of God, even when the messenger appears to be a strange one.
King Josiah stands as an example of that truth. Although neither his kingdom nor an allied one were threatened, Josiah led his army to a region that was well to the North of Judah in order to engage the army of Egypt. God gave Josiah a chance to repent of his foolishness, remarkably speaking through King Necho of Egypt as His own mouth, “I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” King Josiah, however, failed to heed the warning, and was killed in the ensuing battle. Even worse, King Necho fulfilled God’s prophetic warning by retaliating against Judah for Josiah’s meddling. Necho deposed Judah’s new king and carried him away to Egypt, replacing him with a wicked king who reigned over Judah until the kingdom fell to Babylon.
We pray: Almighty Lord, impress Your Word upon our minds and hearts, that we might discern Your speaking through the messengers of Your own choosing. Lead us by Your Spirit to heed Your warnings against our sin, and to believe Your promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior; in Whose Name we pray. Amen.