Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday – 2nd Kings 17 - A Spiritual Paradox

There are 2 primary groups described in this chapter. However, they both had the same basic problem.  Here we finally read of the inevitable: Israel was captured and removed from their land because of their flagrant idolatry and constant immorality. For generations God had sent great prophets to try to push Israel in the right direction, but the people had refused to be adjusted.  So, God sent the Assyrians in under Shalmaneser to completely dislodge Israel from their Holy Land. We also find out in these passages that the Jews were replaced by gentiles from foreign lands. Canaan became the home of Babylonians, Cuthites, Hamathites, Avites and Sepharvites.

Now here is where we find the great paradox. God removed His people (who had a basic understanding of His actions among them and at the least a superstitious respect for Him) because of their religious infidelity. But, rather than leaving the land absolutely desolate and empty, He allowed people who had absolutely no knowledge of Him, of His name or of His ways to live there. Watch this though. Those gentiles lived according to their own ways, with complete disregard for the history of God's power in that land.  So, God sent lions into the land to get their attention.

The gentiles interpreted the infestation of lions as an indication that they were not pleasing the local deity. As such, they requested help from the king of Assyria. He responded by sending one of Israel's priests back home to teach some history and religion courses on "The Nature of Jehovah." The outcome was oxymoronic: they feared God, but they worshipped idols (II Kings 17:33 & 41). True, that was one step better that where Israel had been (II Kings 17:34). Israel had gotten to the place where they didn't even fear God. But, these polytheistic peoples just added Jehovah to their long list of gods.

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