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Don’t miss the note of hope with which the book of Second Kings ends. Hear the explanation of one Old Testament scholar.
First and Second Kings end on a more hopeful note: at Nebuduchadnezzar’s death, when Evil-merodach mounted the throne of Babylon (562 B.C.), Jehoiachin, still alive after thirty-seven years in captivity, was freed and accorded royal treatment (vv. 27-30). This passage is a reminder that the final touches were not put on 2 Kings until well into the Exile, when full implications of the events recorded were perceived.
Moreover, Jehoiachin’s release had its own theological message. The necessary judgment, so long promised by the prophets and so ruthlessly executed by the Babylonians, had done its work. Jehoiachin, whose captivity was the first chapter of the Exile, lived to see the last chapter begin. The same God who sent the dove to signal the end of the Flood prompted the sacred writers to depict Jehoiachin, free from fetters and dining at the king’s table. The storm was past; a better day was at hand. That story, however, belongs not to Kings but to Ezra and Nehemiah. (LaSor, William Sanford, and Hubbard, David Allan, and Bush, Frederic William Bush, Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982, 287.)
The entire message of Christianity is a story of hope. Think about the key to our faith—the resurrection of Jesus. Let me give you two quick ideas. First, there is the hope of our own resurrection. Jesus said to Martha, brother of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26) Second, there is the hope of the return of Christ. Again the words of our Lord as recorded in Luke. “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)
When I think about hope, I think about the little boy playing Little League baseball. He is out in the field when his father arrives late for the game. Through the fence his father asks, “What’s the score?” “18-0!” says the little boy, “We’re losing.” Trying to offer comfort his dad says, “I’m sorry, son.” With the hope only a Little Leaguer could have, he answers back, “Don’t worry, Dad, we haven’t even got up to bat yet!” Now that’s hope.
For someone who wasn’t privy to what was going on at Calvary, it might seem like Satan was ahead. But, on that Sunday morning, God got up to bat and hit a homerun, and we who believe in Him have been ahead ever since.
Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com.