Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Israel Fell...

In 2 Kings, chapter 17, we have the story of the last king of the northern kingdom of Israel. His name is Hosea and he rules for about nine years. But his kingdom is doomed from the start because God has already decided to punish Israel with destruction while still preserving a people for Himself in the southern kingdom of Judah.

God raises up the nation of Assiyria. They come with a great army and capture Samaria. They deport the Israelites to Assyria and eventually resettle the land with differing people groups, a very mixed sort.

However, there is an interesting passage in 2 Kings 17:7-23. It talks about the simple topic of "why" Israel fell. It mentions several reasons such as...

1. They sinned against the Lord their God (v. 7)
2. They worshipped other gods (v. 7)
3. They lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed (v. 8)
4. They secretly did what was not right against the Lord (v. 9)
5. They built high places in all their towns (v. 9)
6. They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill (v. 10)
7. They burned incense on all the high places (v. 11)
8. They served idols, although the Lord had told them not to do so (v. 12)
9. They would not listen when God sent correction but became obstinate like their ancestors who didn't even believe in God (v. 14)
10. The rejected God's statutes and covenant (v. 15)
11. And...they pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves...

Actually, while this seems as an indictment overkill, the list goes on for a few more verses. Clearly, they have sinned against God and gone after other gods.

Here are the quick lessons that I glean from this passage...

1. God is serious about our sole devotion to Him. He is a jealous lover and will not share His glory with any other.

2. God is ever patient, slow to anger, and desirable of our repentance and turning to Him. This exhaustive list wears me out to even record it here. But God had patience, love and mercy, desiring Israel's turning from their ways.

3. God is holy and just. He will punish sin. He will execute judgement in His "kairos" timing. We should never take His mercy lightly or for granted. But we must never forget that He is holy and will execute His justice.

4. What are the warnings in my life, my culture and my world that are similar to fallen Israel? It is easy to analyze others' sin from afar but is there a warning/parallel for my life. Aren't we all sinners who fall short of the glory of God? Aren't we all capable of worshipping worthless things, idols if you will, and becoming worthless ourselves. I imagine Judah, the kingdom to the south, looked at Israel's fall and perhaps said, "They got what they deserved!", only to experience the same thing a few hundred years later.

Why Israel fell should be a stark warning and reminder that, but for the grace of God, go I...

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