The Book of Kings tells us about the affairs of the government of Israel, and how their leaders changed life for their people.  The movie Titanic related the views of the entire ship on every social level.  So others told the story of Israel along with the books of the kings.  The Chronicles will review this same story.  The prophets great and small gave ample warnings of the fate of Israel as did the watchmen in the masts of the Titanic. 

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;  A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.  A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.  Joel 2:1-3

This “people great and strong” were not the Jews.  They were the army of Babylon.  The dark and gloom are coming to Israel, not a day of victory.  This passage is put to song, and the church may not recognize that it is a warning to believers.  We need to sound the alarm today for a sleeping world.  On this anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, our people may be in danger of an eternal ambush.  We don’t need a war or a “people great and strong” to destroy us.  Our own financial and political leadership may be able to do the job to us.  But we still have biblical warnings of another great war coming in Israel. 

The lives of the people of Israel will show us a path to confidence in the face of such a day of darkness and of gloominess.  Israel will grow in this time, so read on with some assurance.  We have more great leaders waiting to take us through to victory.  We are not alone.

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.  Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;  And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.  Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.  2 Kings 24:1-6

When the Lord says that you are going down, don’t try to get up on your own.  Stay down for the count!  But we are not those people; we are not that Israel, are we?  

And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.  Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.  At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.  And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.  2 Kings 24:7-11

Jehoiakim wore out his welcome, but his son Jehoiachin only had three short months of royal power.  He was only eighteen, so who would not expect evil from a juvenile delinquent?  He was not equipped to lead to victory, so he was led into captivity. 

And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.  And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.  And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.  And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.  And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.  2 Kings 24:12-16

The royal family and many others were taken to Babylon as prisoners.  The treasures that remained went with them.  The king of Babylon appoints Jehoiachin’s uncle to be king.

And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.  Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.  For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.  2 Kings 24:17-20

Although his name was changed to Zedekiah, Mattaniah was not inclined to be loyal to Babylon.  Rebellion will cost him dearly.  Our prophet Joel had warned about the days of hard judgment.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.  Joel 2:31-32

So what is the name of the Lord?  Another generation will discover Messiah, but this time period brings Judah no such relief.