Sundays @ 10:00am at Dexter McCarty Middle School

GBC Bible Reading Plan May 26–June 1

GBC Blog (18)

Week 22, May 26–June 1: 2 Kings 11–25, Esther 1–7

  • Sun      5/26     2 Kings 11–12
  • Mon     5/27     2 Kings 13–15
  • Tue      5/28     2 Kings 16–18
  • Wed     5/29     2 Kings 19–21
  • Thu      5/30     2 Kings 22–25
  • Fri        5/31     Esther 1–4
  • Sat       6/1       Esther 5–7

As 2 Kings comes to a close, so does the story of Israel and Judah’s history in the Promised Land, at least for a time. We have seen battles and changing dynasties, and kings have come and gone, with the prophets of the Lord confronting them in their sin along the way. As we mentioned last week, most of Judah’s kings were sinful and all the kings of Israel were wicked. Their sin and the sin of the people leads to the tragic consequences of this week’s reading in the last sections of 2 Kings. Chapter 17 recounts the final defeat and fall of the northern kingdom Israel at the hands of the Assyrians, and then we read of Judah’s exile into Babylon.

The account of Israel’s exile itself is quite brief (2 Kgs 17:6), but the author gives an explanation of the reasons for the exile that is lengthy by comparison (vv. 7–23). He says these tragic events all happened “because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God” (v. 7). Ever since they first entered the land, from the time of Joshua all the way until the last king, Hoshea, is captured and carried away into Assyria, the Israelites have gone after other gods and acted like the wicked nations God had driven out of the Land before them. God sent prophets to call them to back to himself and his ways, and there were short times of repentance, but as a whole they rejected the prophets and continued stubbornly in their ways, not believing in the Lord and despising his good laws and the covenant he made with their fathers.

Not long after Israel’s exile into Assyria, a similar thing happens in Judah. Before recounting the events of Judah’s exile in more detail, the author gives a summary statement near the end of chapter 24. “For because of the anger of the Lord it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence” (2 Kgs 24:20). Babylon besieges Jerusalem, then breaks in and destroys the city David established. Most tragically, the temple is burned to the ground. This is the place God chose as his dwelling place. Judah’s king at the time, Zedekiah, is blinded and taken captive to Babylon, along with all the other people except a few to stay and tend the land.

With the Pentateuch in mind, we probably saw this coming as we read along through these books of Israel and Judah’s history. Even still it is sad to read. It seems so obvious that they should have just walked in the ways of the Lord and followed after the God who delivered them from Egypt, blessed them and made them a nation, gave them the land he had promised to Abraham, and remained faithful all along the way. But they just kept sinning and consistently rebelled against the Lord and broke their end of the covenant with him. This highlights the need for a new covenant. God’s people need a new heart and a new king.

At the very end of 2 Kings we see a glimmer of hope. The book ends with this somewhat mysterious little paragraph about Jehoiachin, one of Judah’s last kings who was taken into exile in Babylon. Sometime after the exile, when a new king arises in Babylon, Jehoiachin is treated graciously. He is freed from prison and given a seat of honor and a place at the king’s table (2 Kgs 25:27–30). Remember, this is the descendant, the seed of David. God has preserved David’s line, and the author wants to leave the readers with the reminder that God has not forgotten his promises to David about a son who will come and reign on an eternal throne.


This week we are also reading Esther. We will be preaching through this short, wonderful book over the next few weeks on Sundays, and reading it now as part of the read thru will help us have the whole story in mind before starting the sermon series.

Esther is an interesting book. It is different than other biblical books in several ways, but one of the most notable is that it never explicitly mentions God. Nevertheless, his providential activity is evident all over the book. Many strange and unexpected things happen, things that happen “by coincidence”. Esther happens to win the beauty contest to be the next queen. Mordecai happens to overhear a plot to assassinate the king, and a long time later the king happens to have that account read to him when he happens to be struggling with insomnia. We could go on. Even though God is not mentioned in these stories, it is clear that he is at work. Mordecai, Esther, and the Jewish people are preserved not by luck or coincidence, but by God’s sovereign protection and faithfulness to his covenant promises.