I was a practically perfect child... except when I wasn’t. Whenever an attitude adjustment became necessary, my disciplinarian-dad would say, “Bend over and grab your ankles.” On those countless occasions, I learned an important lesson, a lesson that I wouldn’t forget... until I forgot.
God made a promise to David, a covenant that guaranteed an eternal kingdom. “When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom... I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a rod of men and blows from mortals. But my faithful love will never leave him... Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–16, CSB).
God faithfully kept His promise, even though David’s descendants weren’t faithful to obey the Lord their God. Over and over, we read it:
“Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, reigned in Judah... and did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They provoked him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed” (1 Kings 14:21–22, CSB).
“Jehoram (Joram), son of Jehoshaphat ... did what was evil in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 8:16–18, CSB).
“Ahaz ... did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God... He even sacrificed his son in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites” (2 Kings 16:2–3, CSB).
“Manasseh... did what was evil in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 21:1–2, CSB) and his son, Amon... did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father Manasseh had done” (2 Kings 21:19–21, CSB).
Inevitably, it became necessary for God to say, “Bend over and grab your ankles” ... for God to “discipline him with a rod of men and blows from mortals” (2 Samuel 7:14, CSB). “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11–12, CSB).
“Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah) was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem... He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his father had done. At that time the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege... King Jehoiachin of Judah... surrendered to the king of Babylon. So the king of Babylon took him captive” (2 Kings 24:8–12, CSB).
Eleven years later, King Nebuchadnezzar returned to completely destroy Jerusalem. “He burned the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem” (2 Kings 25:9, CSB). For seventy years, Judah lived in Babylonian exile. God used a pagan kingdom to apply the board of education to the backside of His beloved people.
The Book of Hebrews quotes Solomon’s wisdom: “The Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son” (Hebrews 12:5, CSB). Babylon was God’s discipline. This was God teaching them a lesson they wouldn’t forget, until they forgot.
Jesus’ family tree had some pretty rotten branches: Rehoboam, Joram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon, and Jeconiah. And still, our gracious God kept His promise! From that messed-up family tree... Jesus’ eternal kingdom was established!