Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.
After years of warning through the prophets, here in 2 Kings 24 the exile of God’s people in Judah takes place. He had brought them out of slavery in Egypt with mighty miracles. He led them for 40 years in the wilderness, providing for their needs with manna from heaven. He triumphantly led them into the Promised Land, and through Joshua, removing the peoples of the land out before them. And now, because of their sin, they were being deported to Babylon, away from God’s Presence in Jerusalem and into captivity. The Lord did this. He was “not willing to forgive.”
God is forgiving and patient, but there will come a time when His patience will end and he will thrust those who do evil away from His Presence. There will be a day when those who are not in Christ (who is God’s provision of grace to all; the way of salvation and by whom sins are forgiven) will be thrust away from God’s Presence. “Living in the absence of God” is a good definition of hell. Yes, there are those experiencing “hell on earth.” But one day the absence of God will be eternal for many souls. He is a holy God and cannot co-exist with sin.
What kind of disciple should I be?
- I should tenaciously follow Jesus, embracing the salvation found in Him and worshipping God with gladness because of His amazing provision of grace to me in Christ.
- I should be bold in my witness for Jesus, willing to take risks because if people die without Christ being their Lord, it will mean separation from God forever. That is hell.
It may seem like our lives don’t matter too much on the grand scheme of things, but they do! The way we live matters. Our denial of self and the sinful patterns we can so easily live in matters! Our passionate pursuit of Christ matters! God is patient and forgiving, but not forever. There will be a Judgment Day, the Bible teaches. I need to fully live in the grace of God each day and take none of them for granted.
Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace that is firmly found in Christ. I worship You this day because of who You are and what You have done. Send me people this day that I can be a witness of Your grace to. I want to join You in what You are doing today in the lives of people. If this means preparing thoroughly for Sunday, I will do what You’ve called me to do. If it is serving my family better than I have, I am available. If it is leading someone to Christ today, use me I pray!