And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart … Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah … (2 Kings 23:25-26)
I hear many well-intentioned Christians exhorting us to pray for our nation and for our leaders. The call seems to have increased in intensity since the recent foolish ruling by the United States Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right. Such a ruling places this nation in the death throes of social order described in Romans 1:32 “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” At this juncture our nation finds itself near the bottom of the sucking vortex that will end its days, and no plea to God for restoration will be heeded. Such was the case for the nation of Judah in her final days.
King Josiah was a good king. He began his reign at the age of eight, and despite the poor example set for him by his father Amon and grandfather Manasseh, “he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2). By the time of his ascendency, the northern kingdom of Israel, whose kings all earned the comment, “he did evil in the sight of the LORD,” no longer existed as a nation having been conquered and repatriated by Shalmaneser king of Assyria (2 Kings 17). Failing to learn the lesson of her sister, Judah followed the same path of destruction. Of Manasseh, the Bible says that “he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove [an image of the Phoenician goddess Astarte] … he built altars [for pagan gods] in the house of the LORD … he made his son pass through the fire [i.e., he sacrificed his children to the god Molech], and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits [demons] and wizards … he set a graven image of the grove [Astarte] that he had made in the house [the Temple] … Manasseh seduced them [Judah] to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:3-9). Manasseh was so bad that the Bible says he “hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols” (2 Kings 21:11). For comparison, the Amorites were included in the list of nations living in the Promised Land that God instructed Joshua to wipe out in the conquest of the land because of their depravity. As bad as the Amorites were, Manasseh had exceeded their depravity in God’s eyes. To top that, Manasseh’s son (Josiah’s father), Amon, though his reign was brief, “forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD” (2 Kings 21:22). This was the young Josiah’s inheritance.
In his eighteenth year on the throne, Josiah, now 26, ordered that the Temple, which had fallen into disrepair, be restored. In the process of restoring the Temple, Hilkiah the high priest found a copy of the Torah (the book of the law). Obviously the Torah, like many of our Bibles, had been put away and not read in a long time. The find was so significant that Hilkiah sent it by way of Shaphan, the king’s scribe, to Josiah. Shaphan read the scroll to King Josiah, “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes” (2 Kings 22:11). So convicted was Josiah by God’s Word that he immediately started a campaign of reformation in the land. “And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD” (2 Kings 23:1-2, emphasis mine). Notice that the king initiated the revival; he assumed the responsibility to lead his nation under God. Furthermore, he completely removed every vestige of idol worship from Judah more than any other king before him. More than that, he reinstituted the practice of keeping the Feasts of the Lord. “And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah” (2 Kings 23:22, emphasis mine). It is hard to imagine, but not even the “man after God’s own heart,” King David, had kept the Passover. Now it might be argued that the phrase “such a Passover” implies that perhaps it had never been done to this extent before, but the fact remains that prior to this passage, the last time a celebration of the Passover is recorded is in Joshua 5:10-11 after the children of Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land.
Josiah was arguably the most righteous king that Judah ever had. His reforms exceeded any king before or after him. “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (2 Kings 23:25). One would think that such a “great awakening” and “revival” of God’s people would alter God’s plan. Yet, “Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.” (2 Kings 23:26-27, emphasis mine).
Josiah died and was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz, “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 23:32). He ruled for only three months and was succeeded by Eliakim (a.k.a. Jehoiakim), another son of Josiah. Jehoiakim ruled 11 years, “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 23:37). That was the end of Judah. “In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets” (2 Kings 24:1-2).
All the good Josiah had done was for naught, and while it stayed the hand of God during his reign, eventually – in less than 11 years – God’s judgment fell on Judah anyway. Friends, that is where America stands right now. As a nation, we stand under God’s judgment, and there is nothing that will stay His hand from executing His judgment on our nation. As a nation we have banned Him from our schools. We have rejected His Word. We have sacrificed our children at the altar of convenience and self-gratification. We have destroyed God’s design for the family through easy divorce. We have replaced the worship of our God for the idols of self and pleasure. And to top it off, we have called what is evil good and what is good evil with this repugnant ruling by our Supreme Court legitimizing sodomy. And the leader of the free world, our President, celebrates the decision by bathing the White House – the “People’s House” – in the colors of the perverts’ banner.
It is already too late to pray for the nation and for our leaders. God has already given us too many chances to repent, and all we have done is thumb our noses in His face. It is too late! As it was with Judah in her last days, so it is with America today.
And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. (Jeremiah 7:14-16, emphasis mine)
Christian, don’t pray for this country and for our leaders, except that God judge righteously. Pray instead for His Kingdom where our true allegiance lies. Pray instead for His Church that her light might shine brighter in the growing darkness. Pray instead for your brothers and sisters in Christ that they will remain strong in the Faith and bold in the face of the persecution that is sure to come. This is no time for cowards. The King is coming! May He find us faithful when He returns. But for America, it’s too late!
Although I have no hope for a reversal in America’s increasingly rapid decline, I will continue to participate in the democratic process. I will continue to support those running for political offices who hold to strict conservative and Judeo-Christian values. As long as we have the level of freedom that we currently enjoy, it is important that Christians continue to engage in the political process. That is our right, our responsibility, and our obligation under God. It is the right thing to do, but do not be under the delusion that it will change the downward course of America. Our primary focus should be God’s kingdom, God’s Church and God’s people. God will remain when America is long gone.