Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 17:3-5; 7-41; 18:7-11
I am thinking that there is an expression, “That’s the end of a chapter of history!” This certainly is, but what a sad ending, not glorious, but complete defeat! I hope that that will never be able to be said about me, my family, or the little Assembly where I go….
But the chapter today is an end of a chapter of history. The verses today are also like sitting in a court, and listening to God, the Judge, spell out with such clearness, what had led His people to this end!
First the details of complete exile to a foreign land and the expression (I think?) being repeated “to this day” – completely final, so to speak! As we learn from the story of Israel, a nation or a person can exhaust their opportunities to repent and escape consequences, and then even in the best scenario – after repenting – still sometimes the consequences can last through a life-time! 1 John near the end of the book, speaks of a sin which leads to death – too serious to be changed, but the person is still a brother or sister! But as we have read through the prophets, God through the prophet keeps breaking out into joy that there is indeed a time in the future, when Israel will be restored – but how many generations will pass before that happens! I guess only God can see the big picture! Similarly, an individual, even in the worse extreme scenario, snatched from this world in death, can never be “snatched” from His hands! The work of God and Calvary is so great that God Himself will win against all of His enemies! But I pray that my heart may be humble before the Lord and I may not be “stiff-necked” and stubborn in a relentless pursuit of things which become “my idols” in life.
Then God proceeds in our chapter with His deadly accuracy to trace the downward path of His people into idolatry. Among the things I noticed, were some interesting observations by God! He tells me that one of the big factors which led His people from Himself (and he repeats it several time at least) was that they were affected by the world in which they lived and the people who surrounded them! But in Romans 12, God whispers in my ear daily, “DON’T BE CONFORMED to the world in which you live!” So what should I do? Be transformed – how? – Be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of my mind! Someone mentioned this morning that Zaccheus was rich but not satisfied – he wanted to see Jesus! And another mentioned -what a transformation – a rich man giving half his (hard-earned?) wealth? And worrying about paying back what he had taken wrongfully (even with no one pushing?). Salvation was a gift that was more valuable to him than all his riches! A second thought I noticed in our chapter, was that to worship WORTHLESS idols made God call His people at this point – WORTHLESS PEOPLE -which they were at this point! I can’t think of a more painful thing for me, then to be WORTHLESS to the people who love me and whom I love! So that’s my prayer, that I will be useful to my loving Lord, whether He is using me or not – just loving Him with all my heart, soul, strength and intellect. I suspect this brings such comfort to my God and Father and Saviour Who can rightly only be called LOVE!
And so God’s people are gone and in their stead, a people who worship multi-gods and are so bad, God has to use some lions to smarten them up! (Hopefully, God doesn’t have to send His “lions” after me!). And then what a comment by the all-seeing God – “Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols!” And if that happens, then the next phrase is probably true too – “to this day, their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did” (& mothers too, I suspect!). Hopefully not in my or your case!
When will I ever learn that obedience and love for my precious Saviour, and my Creator Father God is always the safest and happiest path of life?! Please Lord, keep me near your heart, leaning on you, like the Apostle John at the Last Supper, for that’s the only safe place for me!