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II Kings 25 – God Disciplines; God Gives Grace 列王纪下 25 – 神管教 神恩待           

Tuesday, 16th November 2021

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Section One V1-7 Men Rebel

At the beginning of the chapter, it tells us how the king of Judah, Zedekiah rebelled against the king Babylon. V1 ‘Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around.’ In the previous chapter, II Kings 24:19-20, it says, ‘He also did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.’ Why would it say that Zedekiah ‘rebelled against the king’? the kings of Judah should be following God, not the king of Babylon. Furthermore, what did Zedekiah do that was following Jehoiakim’s wicked ways?

In II Kings 24:8-9, it says, ‘Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done.’ Again, the father of Zedekian, Jehoiachin, also followed his father’s wicked way, which provoked God to wrath. What was so evil that Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, did? When we went back to II Kings 24:1, it says, ‘In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him.’

Jehoiakim also rebelled against the king of Babylon at his time, furthermore, he turned to the Pharaoh of Egypt. The lane of Egypt represented the land of slavery. God led the Israelites out of Egypt after being the capitative for 400 years into the Promised Land, but Jehoiakim led the people back to Egypt! We are also like this; we follow God’s calling, but we still want to work hard to gain things in the world. We are worried that if we don’t work hard enough, we will end up with nothing, we don’t believe that God will provide! But in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to pray to God, ‘give us today our daily bread, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’

The way we follow God is to ask God for what we want, instead of what God wants us to pray. We don’t know what God wants because we don’t read the Word of God! The Word of God is for everyone, for leading us to the right path! Jesus’ 3-year Ministry was about preaching the Word of God, not His own words! He set the most important role model for us, therefore if we claim ourselves to be Christians, we must be Christ-like, to be like Jesus, to know the Word of God, to preach the Word of God, and not our own words!

God does not want the Israelites to go back to Egypt, because if they went back, they would forget about God! How many generations are in 400 years? Yet they still thought it’s better in Egypt them in the wilderness because there was meat in Egypt! What are we living for? Food? A car? A house? What can we take with us when we leave this world? Nothing! Then why are we spending all this time chasing the things that cannot last, instead of the things in the eternity? We can choose to go back to Egypt, or we can choose to rely on God.

In Jeremiah 27:8, God spoke to Zedekiah through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish, says the Lord, with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.’ God already reminded Zedekiah what was going to happen, but Zedekiah still chose to rely on the Pharaoh of Egypt. We tend to rely on people more than we rely on God.

V3 ‘By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.’ Because of Zedekiah’s rebellious actions, there was famine in the land, and as we read on, we will see that Zedekiah was captured by his enemy, his sons were killed in front of his eyes then his eyes were taken out after that. The last thing he saw on this earth was his sons being killed. How cruel this is! Zedekiah’s rebellious actions caused his own tragedy! Moreover, everything was already prophesied and warned by God through prophet Jeremiah!

But at the end, God still give Israelites a way out, despite of their wicked ways. In Jeremiah 29:10-11, it says, ‘For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’

Section Two V8-26 God Destroys

V8-10 ‘And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around.’ When men rebelled, God would destroy everything man-made. When Solomon built the Temple of God, he used all the silver and gold, but by the time when Babylon destroyed the Temple, everything left over was only made in bronze. Everything was already replaced, and God did not want any of it!

Even all the priests were captured, all the houses were burnt, all the walls were taken down, and all the hard work of the Israelites was destroyed. Everything went back to zero, but people remained rebellious and stubborn.

V22 ‘Then he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left.’ The name of Gedaliah means ‘God is Great’. Gedaliah believed God’s promise through Jeremiah, and he knew if the Israelites lived peacefully in Babylon, they would receive deliverance. V24-26 ‘And Gedaliah took an oath before them and their men, and said to them, “Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.” But it happened in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck and killed Gedaliah, the Jews, as well as the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. And all the people, small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.’

In Daniel 9:2, it says, ‘in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.’ This has confirmed that the prophecy of Jeremiah came true, but the people did not believe in the prophecy of Jeremiah and the did not believe what Gedaliah said. They killed Gedaliah and again went back to Egypt out of fear. We think God will always be on our side no matter what we do, but if we did not listen to the man of God and did not read the Word of God, then at the end, we will still go back to the land of slavery.

Section Three V27-30 God’s Grace Remains

V27 ‘Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison.’ The nation was destroyed, the king was captured, but God’s grace remained. He allowed Jehoiachin to stay alive, even though his rebellious actions caused all the destructions of the kingdom of Judah, but God was still willing to save him from such a horrible state.

V28-29 ‘He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.’

God is our loving Father, He has been reminding us, sending people to help us, giving us His Word to guide us… what is our response to Him?

列王纪下 25 – 神管教 神恩待           

2021年11月16日 星期二




V1-2 圣经用“背叛”来定西底家的罪。本来神所拣选的12支派是跟随神的,然而在这里,圣经说西底家背叛的是“巴比伦王”。在西底家之前的犹大王约雅敬不仅背叛巴比伦王,还投靠埃及(王下23、24章)。埃及曾经使以色列人为奴为仆、失去对神的认识和信仰,是神禁止他们回去的地方。在埃及,以色列人用神给他们的力量去帮法老建造帝国。我们蒙召的人如今是否也是为了房贷、儿女等为奴为仆,为这个世界建造帝国?我们的优先次序是否变成了“大地”,因为我们怀疑神不能养活我们?神要我们“先神后人再大地”,我们要相信圣经所记载的不只是历史,神是能供应我们的。我们的信仰是否只是停留在随便读读圣经、只祷告自己想要的东西、不知道如何按神的心意去求?我们在传播信仰的过程是否只是教导简单的部分,让人不用读完圣经、不用学习如何祷告、只要唱唱歌、照着念祷告词就好?耶稣基督说过我们的信仰应该建立在磐石上,就是神的话语。神在几千年前就叮嘱他的子民不要回埃及,然而以色列人不听,还是要回去,宁可过那为奴为仆的生活。我们来到这个世界时什么都没有,我们离开时也什么都带不走。我们这一生想要得到的是什么呢,是否要回到埃及,是否想要倚靠世界?唯有神是可倚靠的。在耶利米书27:1-8记载,神借着先知耶利米亲自对年轻的犹大王西底家说话,让西底家明白为什么不能倚靠埃及 – 当初所罗门娶了法老的女儿,致使犹大人看埃及好像“娘家”一样,以为靠着这段关系就万事大吉,然而神清楚说明,现在巴比伦是被神使用的仆人,因为神在诸神之上,可以使用任何国家。西底家没有听神的话,倚靠埃及法老,背叛巴比伦,就招致了“我必用刀剑、饥荒、瘟疫刑罚那邦,直到我借巴比伦王的手将他们毁灭”的结局(耶利米书27:8)。

V3 正如神所预言的,背叛巴比伦王之后的耶路撒冷城果然有了“大饥荒”。

V4 耶路撒冷终于被攻破,“一切兵丁”都逃跑了,王没有兵丁,相当于废掉了左右手,但神借着先知告诉西底家他是有盼望的(耶利米书 29:10-11)。

V7 西底家本来有先知不断服侍他,可惜他选择回埃及。人的叛逆带来的结果是非常凄惨的 – 西底家王最后看到的是自己的众子都被杀死,之后被残忍捥了双眼,留给他的只有黑暗。


当人背叛的时候,人手所建造的一切,神都不要。所罗门建造圣殿时里面的器皿都是金银,然而巴比伦王现在拿的是一堆的铜,因为后来的王都用金银去换平安了。神的“金银”本该放在他的圣殿,如今里面充满次等的金银替代品 – 铜。巴比伦王不仅拿走了圣殿里的物品,甚至连祭司都被杀了,因为神不需要这些表面的宗教仪式。

V9 犹大人辛苦一生想要拥有的房屋都被烧了。我们一生为了几幢房子、为了土地奔波,最后离开世界的时候,那些房子和地又在哪里呢?我们要醒悟过来,知道这些外在的东西是带不走的。当神没有要我们拥有地的时候,我们不要去追求,当神要我们拥有地的时候,我们才要去得地为业。

V12 “最穷的”指的是那些贫弱、没有战斗能力的人。巴比伦的政策就是将战败国能够生产兵器的材料和能够打仗的人都掳走,然而,神能将卑微的人升起,将骄傲的降下。

V22-26 在犹大剩下的人中,巴比伦选了“基大利做他们的省长”。“基大利”意思是“耶和华是伟大的”,他教导下面的人说“你们不必惧怕迦勒底臣仆,只管住在这地服侍巴比伦王,就可以得福”,因为他相信耶利米先知的话,“耶和华如此说:为巴比伦所定的七十年满了以后,我要眷顾你们,向你们成就我的恩言,使你们仍回此地。 耶和华说:我知道我向你们所怀的意念是赐平安的意念,不是降灾祸的意念,要叫你们末后有指望。 你们要呼求我,祷告我,我就应允你们。 你们寻求我,若专心寻求我,就必寻见”(耶利米书 29:10-13)。神并非要灭绝他的百姓,而是在等“七十年”那个时刻。之后的但以理先知在巴比伦时也确认这件事(但以理书9:2 )。然而可惜的是,“尼探雅的儿子以实玛利”不愿听神借先知说的话,以为自己才能听到神,他看基大利是卖国贼、巴比伦的傀儡,就自以为义的杀了基大利,杀人之后又惧怕,逃去埃及。由此可见,整个犹大国的人心思意念都是扭曲的,所以神都将之拆毁。我们在听到神的话之后,应该清醒过来,听道而行道,不要像以实玛利一样活在蒙蔽中。