We have reached a sad point in our reading schedule my friends, and I hope you have taken time to recognize it. Israel, the northern Jewish Kingdom, falls to the Assyrians. Evil Kings, military failure, social corruption, injustice, oppression of the poor, idolatry and complete disregard for God’s ways all add up to a Kingdom that God hands over to foreign invaders for destruction. For me, the section of our reading today that is more important is 2 Kings 17:7-20. This section gives us a complete explanation of why Israel fell, and serves as a warning to everyone who reads it, including us. It is not hard to imagine many of the causes listed for Israel’s downfall existing today. It is not hard to imagine those same reasons being levied against our country by God.
Do we have idols that we serve? Sure we do. Success, power, sex, “freedom”, tolerance,
Do we tolerate social injustice? Sure we do.
Do we reject God’s statues and ordinances? Yep. Just look at abortion laws
Do we live according to the customs of the nations surrounding us? Yep, and even worse we are the ones influencing other countries to live outside of God’s will.
The list could go on. The point is that those types of things can only go on so long before God has enough of our foolishness. I heard a preacher not that long ago talk about how we as Christians do not even consider or talk about God’s exercising judgement on the nations today, as if the actions of God in the Old Testament are outside of the realm of possibility today. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, invading armies, drought…we consider all of these things as merely natural occurrences or the result of socio-economic factors. We don’t ever stop to consider that God is at work in these things. But how often does God use exactly those methods to punish, rebuke and call nations to repentance in the Bible.
Israel falls, Judah remains, at least for a short time. So say goodbye to the Israelite kings, we will read only of the Judean Kingdom from now on, a story that will ultimately end in destruction.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 13-17