2 Kings 23:29-37 – A Father’s Prayer

Posted: October 16, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 23:29-37

Josiah Dies and Jehoiakim Begins to Rule

I don’t know why but this passage reminded me of what I have been going through this past weekend. My youngest daughter, she and I have bee estranged from one another for three years. The lack of contact was of her own making not mine. I have been trying to stay in contact with her frequently over these past three years. The last time we had talked before this weekend was in November 2016 when I gave her a car to help her get back on her feet again. This weekend, she showed up on my doorstep and described what has been happening in her life recently. She has had progressively worse periods of addiction and self-imposed sobriety over the past decade. It has been a cycle of crash-recovery-do well for a while-crash. But over the last few years she has been battling with an addiction to heroine, she said. And her showing up on my doorstep was because she has nowhere else to turn but her daddy. She lost her job, her boyfriend, and her place to live all because of her addiction. She came here seeking shelter because literally she had no one else to turn to.

All day Saturday we had a friend of ours in Spartanburg whose son has been down the same road. Taylor slept most of the entire day while we were discussing options with this friend. Taylor must have been tired from sleeping in her car for the past week or so after running out of welcome with what gal pals she had left. When she finally awoke for a time on Saturday evening, we gave her the option of going to a rehab facility in the mountains of western North Carolina. She seemed open to it so we gave her the number to call and she called it. They said that we needed to be there at 9am on Monday and Taylor agreed to do it.

We just had to get through Sunday with an addict whose demons are strong. During Sunday she started to back out on the idea. We even found that she had snuck out of the house to get to a bottle of wine that she had stashed in her car. When I found all this stuff out on Sunday afternoon, I gave her two choices – either go to the recovery program or she was out on the street. It was the toughest conversation I had ever had with my baby child. It is tough to tell you own child that you either do this hard thing or you are out on the street. You can’t stay here and live like a bum and mooch off us. That was tough. But I had reached the end of my rope with her. Sometimes, you just get that fed up with how your child is acting. Finally, she succumbed to the fact that we were last hope and that a recovery program was not just an option but was necessary.

We took her to the rehab facility on Monday morning. We left home here in Lamar at 5am and got there about 15 minutes before her appointment time at 9am. I dropped my child, my 29 year old child who seems more like a teenager emotionally than a 29 year old, off at this rehab facility. The people were nice and they were openly Christian. We prayed together before we left her there. It was tough to walk away and leave her in the hand of strangers even though it is a faith-based operation run by a non-denominational church that I had only heard of twenty-four hours before. I worried about her being all alone there with strangers and wondered if I had done the right thing. I finally had to resolve that this was what was needed and it was God driven that all these things happened as they did over the weekend. God drove her to our doorstep. God found us the rehab facility that was faith-based through the diligence of a dear friend. God showed us how completely addicted my child is while she was here and thus gave us the resolve to stand firm in what she needed to do. God possibly showed her that she was at the end of the line and what her future might hold without her dad and stepmom as her ultimate fall-back safety net any longer.

Now, we just pray that this year-long commitment that she has accepted at the faith-based recovery program will draw her to the cross to meet Jesus. We just pray that she finds salvation. For it is only through Jesus that she will be able to recover. Now, we have to lay her at the foot of the cross and not run back and pick her up. We have to completely trust in Jesus on this one.

Strangely, that is what I thought of when I read this passage, 2 Kings 23:29-37, yesterday morning and then meditated on it yesterday and this morning. I thought maybe I was just preoccupied with the Taylor situation and was reading something into this passage that is just not there. That’s why I didn’t publish this blog yesterday. I needed to think on it more. But the idea that was in this passage is that Josiah failed to pray over this situation and find God’s will in this situation. It ultimately cost him his life. That’s the thing. When we fail to seek what God wants for us, we end up like Judah. We become subject to the things that we chase after in our own power. Josiah, though a godly man, failed to seek God’s counsel about the Egyptian army passing through his territory. He ended up dead. Then, the Egyptians installed their own preference for king of Judah and Judah became subjects of Egypt (ironically after all this time, they are right back under the thumb of Egypt from which they had escaped hundreds of years before). They were now suffering the results of many hundreds of years of running in the opposite direction from God. They were subject to the decisions that they had made. They occasionally had moments where they had recovery through godly kings. But they always fell back into their old ways. Ultimately, they had become subject to their addictions to their own self-will. Ultimately, they became subject to all the disastrous decisions that they had made. Ultimately, they were no longer free anymore – they were a vassal state of Egypt no longer in control of their own future. Ultimately, their choices came crashing down on them. Ultimately, this is what happens when we follow our demons, our desires, and not God. That, I guess, is why I thought of my youngest daughter when I read this passage. Let’s read it now together:

29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him; but when Pharaoh Neco met him at Megiddo, he killed him. 30 His servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.

31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his ancestors had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco confined him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and imposed tribute on the land of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away; he came to Egypt, and died there. 35 Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land in order to meet Pharaoh’s demand for money. He exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, from all according to their assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.

Jehoiakim Reigns over Judah

36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as all his ancestors had done.

In this passage, we know from extrabiblical sources that this event occurred in 609 BC. Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, had been destroyed three years earlier by the Babylonians. The defeated Assyrians regrouped at Haran and Carchemish, but Babylon sent its army to destroy them once and for all. Pharaoh Neco, who wanted to make Egypt a world power, was worried about Babylon’s growing strength. He decided to march north through Judah to help the Assyrians at Carchemish. But King Josiah tried to prevent Neco from passing through his land on his way to Carcemish. Josiah may have thought that both Egypt’s and Assyria’s army would then turn on him after the battle with Babylon. In this conflict with the Pharaoh’s army, Josiah was killed.

Josiah operated under the false assumption that Neco could not be part of God’s larger plan and it cost him his life. There is no mention of Josiah seeking the Lord in prayer during this passage so it must mean that he relied on his own will in this situation. This passage teaches us that trying to rule our own lives can lead to bad decisions and we can become consumed by those decisions that are not in God’s will. Then we become vassals to the problems in our lives. Our problems rule us. It is only through reaching out to God that we can overcome the messes that we have created for ourselves when we were living our lives outside of His will.

From this passage, I see the choices that my daughter has. She is at the bottom of the barrel right now. Her addictions have taken away everything that had been meaningful in her life. Her making a god of her addiction made it more important than God, more important than family, more important than her boyfriend, more important than her job, more important than shelter, more important than friends. That’s the insidiousness of addiction. It is a demon. It is of the devil. It turns a normal human being with great potential, like my youngest child, into a liar and a destroyer of anything in their path. They use and manipulate people. They become so accustomed to lying that they sometimes mistake it for the truth. Taylor’s addiction became her false idol. Just as Judah worshipped idols which led them to selfishness and personal desires and away from what was good for the country and into making deals with other nations that were expedient but not good long-term. It led Judah to lose everything and become a bankrupt nation subject to a larger more powerful nation. A person with an addiction makes their addiction their god and makes all their decisions based on serving that – even if the decisions cost them family, friends, freedom.

This passage where we see Judah become subject to another nation and lose its freedom is how I see my daughter’s life had become. She was not free when we came to my door. She was living in her car. Everything she was and everything she could be had been lost and she was a slave to her addiction. Her only way out is to turn over control of her life to Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can slay her demons that control her. He is the only one who can give her self-value. He is the only one that can set her on high ground.

My prayer is that she finds Jesus. My prayer is that she gives her life over to Him in a real way and not just in words. My prayer that Jesus will redeem her life. My prayer is that Jesus will make her see that she is a valued child of God. My prayer is that Jesus will give meaning to her life. My prayer is that Jesus will give her a passion and a calling. My prayer is that Jesus will redeem her addiction and make it useful to the kingdom. My prayer is that Jesus will unleash the wonderful potential that I know my daughter has inside of her. My prayer is that she will find that her story of addiction and redemption will be her future calling. My prayer is that she will shout to the world one day about how Jesus redeemed a drug addict that I do not know into a daughter that I do know. My prayer is that she will shout to the world one day about how Jesus turned her life around and helped her find her calling in life from the heap that showed up on my doorstep this past weekend.

Amen and Amen.

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