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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15 - 2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 16-17: Judah is Defeated and Israel Taken into Captivity for Abandoning God

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 16-17

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Israel forgets God to the extent that they sacrifice children to other gods.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

King Ahaz worshiped Baal gods, sacrificing a child. Aram and Israel defeated Judah.
Oded scolded the Israelite army and the captives were returned.
Assyrian troops attacked and humiliated Ahaz. Panicked, Ahaz ransacked the Temple.
Ahaz worshiped Damascene gods. He died and Hezekiah reigned.
In Israel, Hoshea ruled only slightly better than his predecessors. Assyria took Israel into captivity.
These things happened because Israel acted as the Canaanites. They refused to listen to God's prophets. They followed Jeroboam's sin. God denied their place.
Assyria's king sent a priest to help the remnant honor and worship God. The exiles worshiped other gods.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Ahaz never learns from his defeats.

A few days ago, we read Isaiah's and Amos' harsh indictment of Judah and Israel for not understanding God's punishment. This is what Amos referred to. Ahaz first thought his allies were not strong enough. When he sought stronger allies he was roundly defeated again. So he began worshiping the gods of Damascus. The only thing that could have saved his reign, the one thing he needed to do was the furthest from his mind—ask God for salvation. Therefore, he was punished. Go to God when you feel alone and weak. He will help.

Ahaz ransacked and boarded up the Temple.

What a sad day for Israel. In less than 400 years the Temple David envisioned to honor God, the building that represented God's presence with Israel, which ushered in the pinnacle of Israel's existence has now been abandoned and boarded up by the people who have a perpetual throne in Jerusalem. Sin will ruin even the greatest and most important parts of our existence. Stay away from other gods!

The sin of Jeroboam (the Older) has reached its conclusion—Israel's exile.

Jeroboam erected two golden calves to prevent Israel from returning to Judah to worship God. It was meant to keep the division between Judah and Israel set and Jeroboam (the Older) in power. What it did instead was place the split nation of Israel (and later all the children of Abraham) on a path to being removed from God's Promise to Abraham. Beware your small faults today. They can turn into huge stumbling blocks for future generations.

Israel's obituary consists of one line—they would not listen.

Israel no longer has a country of its own. They are scattered within Assyria. The cause of death: abandoning their god. The symptoms: repeating the sins of the Canaanites who came before them, who God casted out because of sins such as child sacrifice. God tried to help them see the truth of their actions but they were too stubborn to listen. God's prophets were ignored or killed. God's attempts at shocking them into seeing their precarious condition only caused them to seek outsiders as allies. Israel would not listen and therefore must be punished.
"Don't honor other gods: Don't worship them, don't serve them, don't offer sacrifices to them. Worship God, the God who delivered you from Egypt in great and personal power. Reverence and fear him. Worship him. Sacrifice to him. And only him! All the things he had written down for you, directing you in what to believe and how to behave - well, do them for as long as you live. And whatever you do, don't worship other gods! And the covenant he made with you, don't forget your part in that. And don't worship other gods! Worship God, and God only - he's the one who will save you from enemy oppression." (2 Kings 17:35-39, The Message, emphasis original)
Learn from Israel's mistakes! Do not worship other gods!

In a moment of momentous irony, the king of Assyria has to send a priest back to Israel to teach the remnant how to worship God again.

To add insult to captivity, the king of Assyria had to send a priest back into Israel to teach them how to honor and worship God again. "The people … don't know what's expected of them from the god of the land, and now he's sent lions and they're killing people right and left because nobody knows what the god of the land expects of them" (17:26). Someone will honor and worship God. Either His Chosen People or strangers who occupy His People's place will worship Him.

Don't worship other gods!

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