The main book we will be reading through in September is 2 Kings. Together with 1 Kings, this book describes the period of the monarchy in ancient Israel from 970 B.C. to 586 B.C. Specifically, in 2 Kings we begin to see the downfall of God’s people as these kings and their followers begin to cave to sin.
In 2 Kings 17:7-23 we begin to see God’s people stray away from His commands. They set up altars in high places (v. 10), made offerings to other gods (v. 11), served idols (v. 12), followed other nations (v. 15), and even burned their sons and daughters in religious sacrifices (v. 17). In the end, the LORD gave them over to the surrounding nations to be conquered and to live in exile.
We see a similar story in Romans 1:21-32. People who know God choose not to honor Him and their foolish hearts are darkened. They begin to exchange the worship of God for worship of their idols. In the end, God gives them over (allows them) to continue on in their sinful desires.
But as 2 Kings comes to a close in 25:27-30 we are left with a glimmer of hope. The Babylonian King preserves the life of Jehoiachin, King of Judah, eventually promoting him to a high position. Thus, the promise that God made to preserve the throne of David still stands. Eventually that throne would be occupied by Jesus who established His kingdom here on Earth, one that will never end regardless of those who oppose it.
So what can we take away from our reading of 2 Kings? First, let us be serious in regards to the sin in our lives, regardless of how small and inconsequential it may seem to us. Israel’s descent to their great disobedience in 2 Kings was not a rapid one, but occurred slowly over time. One sin gave way to another, and then another, and then another. As Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 5:6, a little leaven (or sin) eventually ruins the whole lump. Those numerous smaller sins gave way to greater ones, and ultimately their evil hearts took over so that they no longer desired to follow God at all. Let us not be deceived into thinking that could never happen to us.
Which then brings me to the second take away from 2 Kings: running to Jesus with our sin. As I pointed out earlier, the end of 2 Kings hints at a Savior that is on the way for God’s people. God’s promise still stands. And for us today, the promise of forgiveness for any sins we confess to God still stands. We can receive forgiveness from God for lies we have told or kept from loved ones, for sexual sin, for apathy, for gossip we have shared, and any other sin we have committed. That is the great promise that we have in Jesus and the cross.
So before God gives you over to your sinful desires, before your heart is hardened towards God, run to Jesus with your sin, your guilt, and your shame. Receive His mercies that our new each morning. And then go and sin no more in the power of the Holy Spirit.