Reading For Monday 2 Kings 17:1-23
Like many kings before him in the north, Hoshea did evil in the eyes of God. He continued false worship, relied on men instead of God, and turned a deaf ear to the voice of God’s prophets. Shalmaneser came up against him and forced him to be his vassal. Hoshea searched for some other means by which he might extricate himself from the grip of Assyria. Grasping at straws, he was persuaded to enter an alliance with King So of Egypt. This act of rebellion brought down the wrath of Assyria upon Samaria and Hoshea was arrested and imprisoned. The king of Assyria came with his army to besiege the kingless capital of Israel. Samaria held out as long as it could, awaiting the promised aid from Egypt but finally fell and captives were taken and distributed in the distant eastern provinces of the Assyrian empire.
After God had delivered his people from the oppression in Egypt, they had taken up the worship of other gods. They followed forbidden customs and religious observances, even though these were the very things for which the God drove out the Canaanites from the land. In secret, the Israelites participated in all kinds of rites which were not displeasing to God. High places were built throughout the land in open violation of the divine command that there be one temple and one altar. The false worship in the high places followed the pattern of Canaanite worship. In spite of the shameless apostasy in Israel, God graciously continued to plead with his people and warn them through prophets and seers. God’s people responded to the prophetic efforts by continuing in their willful disobedience. When their cup of iniquity was full, God’s wrath, long restrained, descended upon Israel and he removed them out of his sight and Judah alone was left as God’s people. By God’s grace, the southern kingdom was preserved for a few short years after the destruction of the northern kingdom. Judah also rejected the commandments of God, and he afflicted them by the hand of foreign oppressors. Throughout the history of the northern kingdom, the people never turned from the sin that was introduced by Jeroboam. Those who remained in the lands of the captivity either united with the Jewish colonies that were later established there or disappeared as a distinct people.
Things To Consider:
- What does this teach us about God's judgment on sin?
- Why is idolatry an issue?
- What are idols do we embrace today?
- Why do you think established sinful patterns repeat across generations?
- Why do we sin in secret?
- How does God show such mercy?
- Why is it important to remember that everyone will face judgment?