Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 24-25
Today’s Reflection: 2 Kings 24:8-9
8) Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9) And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done.
Jehoiachin was yet another in a long line of wicked kings in Judah. Sadly, nothing new or special there. But did you notice his mother’s name? Nehushta. Sound familiar? Just one letter removed from Nehushtan. Still unsure? Just a few chapters back, King Hezekiah, one of Judah’s good kings, had to deal with Nehushtan:
2 Kings 18:4 – He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).
Originally Nehushtan was an object God instructed Moses to build to save Israel from a plague of poisonous snake bites during their wilderness journeys. Over time some among the Jews formed a cult that worshiped this artifact as a god itself. So God called Hezekiah to destroy it. Just as would have been the case for any other pagan god or idol removed God instructed his people to remove, His intention was that the name Nehushtan would never again be revered in Judah or Israel.
So what were Nehushta’s parents saying when they named her? Remember in those days children were given names not because they were trendy or stylish, but because those names spelled out parent’s wishes for them. And what was Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, saying when he married a woman with that name? Essentially that he wanted to yoke his rule as king with the memory of a false god. And how did God respond to this? He sent foreign powers to war against Judah during Jehoiakim’s reign, and ended Jehoiachin’s reign after just three months.
God told Judah to put the treasured sin of Nehushtan down. But Judah kept picking it up again. Are we the same today?
When you encounter Jesus, He gives you freedom from sin, including the treasured sins that keep you in bondage. Just like He said to the woman caught in adultery, Jesus says to each of us today, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more (John 8:11).” Once freed from our sins, Jesus expects us to put them down and not return to them. But temptation won’t disappear from your life. You will be tested. Trials and difficulties may cause you to consider returning to old familiar and comfortable ways. I encourage you to be resolute in continuing in the freedom Christ has given you. Persist and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you in thought and character (Romans 12:2). And remember, the consequences for returning to sinful ways will be dire.
Proverbs 26:11 – Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.