Todays readings… 2 Chronicles 36, Hosea 4, Acts 20
“AFTERWARD THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL RETURN …”
We have some interesting chapters in the Old Testament to read today. Firstly in 2 Chronicles ch. 35 we read how Israel’s last good king Josiah organised a tremendous celebration of the Passover, remarkably, “No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel … None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah” [v.18]
“Josiah contributed to the lay people, as Passover offerings for all who were present” This included, “30,000 lambs and young goats … and 3,000 bulls “ [v.7] While it was surely an uplifting experience– it also meant it was a feast which did not cost them anything!
Tragically, Josiah then involved himself in an unnecessary battle with the Egyptians (v.20-23) and was “badly wounded” and “died” [v.23,24] “All Judah and Jerusalem mourned” and “Jeremiah also uttered a lament” [v.25] The prophet was young then, it gave him a foundation spiritual experience for the trials he was to experience later.
Now we turn to our short chapter in Hosea, which gives a long term view of Israel’s future. It says “the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice” [v.4]. And so Israel has done since Jerusalem and its’ Temple were destroyed in A.D 70, as Jesus foretold (Luke 21 v.20-24) with the Jews then being “led captive among all nations.”
However, our chapter in Hosea ends in a remarkable way, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.”
We surely live at the start of “the latter days”! Israel, in part, have returned, and we wait with a wondering mind the events which will cause them to “fear the LORD” (as, we pray, we are doing now) – and then to experience the wonder of “His goodness.”