Ezekiel 19:1 Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say… he was taken in their pit. And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
While not your most likely place to find a devotional thought, this funeral dirge lamenting the demise of Jehoahaz and Jechoniah, Judah’s last two kings has application for all. Consider the following three questions: Why did these two men face such horrible judgment, what principle can we learn from their lives, and what future hope should motivate each of us in positions of oversight?
Why such horrible judgment?
God’s desire since the creation was that man would exercise dominion in His world. Genesis 2:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion [rule]… over all the earth…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion [rule]… God created man with intelligence, in His image that he would rule His creation under His authority. After the fall, this responsibility was not removed; rather it was complicated by sin. God ordained authority in the home, church, work force, and nation is rooted in the dominion mandate. Man exercises God ordained rule with a fallen nature, and will answer to God for the way he exercises this dominion, but beyond the dominion mandate rests an even deeper blessing. God chose Israel as a peculiar people through whom He will reverse the effects of the fall and man will once again exercise dominion without the sin principle’s presence. An integral part of God’s plan was the Davidic Covenant. Psalm 89 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail…My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah. God promised to make David’s line an eternal ruling line, which would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ. Jehoahaz and Jechoniah both sat on the throne of their father David as a fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. The degree of temporal judgment was intensified by their disobedience to God’s law in light of their prominent position. Ezekiel lamented their wicked practices in this passage and throughout the book. Judah’s kings practiced immorality, idolatry, imprisoned God’s prophets, were oppressors, relied on foreign power rather than God, and followed pagan practices. They ruled with no regard for God, and He swiftly judged them. Their temporal judgment was just a precursor to their eternal destruction that would replace opportunity to serve in Christ’s eternal Kingdom.
What principles can we learn from their lives?
As God held these men responsible for the way they exercised rule, He will also hold us responsible for the way we rule in the various spheres of life. We all do or will exercise rule in the home, work force, church, or nation. How do we exercise this rule? Are we like these kings who disregarded the word of God and governed by the world’s values? The same nations that lured these kings into alliances, immorality, idolatry, and cruelty crushed these kings when it was in their own interests, and God used their cruelty to chasten His kings and nation. We often become like these kings in our practice in the following way:
- We adopt the world’s values rather than God’s.
- We introduce these values to those we are entrusted to protect, oversee, and lead.
- We become unbalanced, adopting the world’s methods of rule as cruel task masters or disregard our responsibility to restrain.
- We depend upon the world’s reasoning rather than the Word of God.
As Jehoahaz and Jechoniah did not escape the wrath of the nations, neither will we escape the destruction of adopting a worldly disposition.
What future hope should motivate each of us in positions of oversight?
Israel’s future hope is found in Ezekiel 21:26-27 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown…exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high…I will overturn…and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him. This passage refers to Christ, the only one worthy to rule eternally on the throne of His father David, and will be fulfilled at His second coming. Revelation 5:9-10 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Please notice the significance of this verse in light of Genesis 1 and Ezekiel 21. Christ alone is worthy to rule, and believers from every kindred tribe and nation will rule with Him. This is based on God redeeming us to Himself by His own blood on the cross. Think about it. We will reign with Him both in His Millennial Kingdom and forever! What an overwhelming thought, however there is one condition. God will position the believer based upon his faithfulness in this life.
Luke 12:42-44 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
Revelation 2:26-27 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them…
II Corinthians 5:9-11 Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…
What we do today has bearing not just on today, but eternity!