2 Kings 23:31-25:30
God has reached the point where the kids, if they will not live by the house rules and follow His ways, are getting kicked out. I won’t say I’m an expert on this since I’m not a parent, but sometimes you have to let the kids leave the house and suffer the consequences of their destructive paths before they will ever wake up to what is right. The difference here is, God’s house has now been burnt down and everything carried off.
I think one of the saddest parts of this story is who is left behind. Have you ever felt rejected? Ever looked out on the field from the bench and realized that your team is playing a man down because they feel it is better for you to be on the bench than to play in the game? Have you ever not gotten a job, not because someone better beat you out of the position, but because they decided they would rather not have that position than to have you in it? You might know one or two things about feeling rejected and neglected. I once proposed to a girl and she said no….and then committed herself to a convent. Maybe that was a lie…
When Nebuchadnezzar comes in to carry off all of Jerusalem into exile, he carries off all of the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans. He leaves the poorest people behind. These are the people who weren’t good enough to even carry off into exile. Neb looked at them and said they really aren’t even worth the trouble of taking back.
These are the people that Jesus is talking about at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When you feel like you’ve been cast aside because you’re simply not worth even taking off into exile, God looks at you and says, “My Kingdom belongs to you!” When the world says you’re not worthy, God says, “You’re mine! My chosen possession! My blessed children!”
The way our daily reading falls it breaks the story up a bit too much and is hard to focus on one thing or another. I love the way that Paul is very selective about how he says the things he says and more importantly when he says these things. He could have gotten himself out of jail earlier on by telling them he was a Roman citizen (from birth). Instead, he gains himself some power because they assumed they knew who he was.
It is important to note that Paul still showed respect to the High Priest because you’re not to speak evil about the ruler of your people, even if he’s having you hit in the mouth. I’d consider Paul’s attitude here before badmouthing any of our leaders, not that any of us would ever do that about our government.
The final thing I want to point out is why Paul says he is on trial. He is on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead. What does the hope of the resurrection of the dead mean? What does the hope of the resurrection of the dead mean to you?