God, we are to be a called-out people. Restore Your church that we might fear You and live this reality.
Read 2 Kings 17:1-23
 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years.  He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.  Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up to attack Hoshea, who had been Shalmaneser’s vassal and had paid him tribute.  But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was a traitor, for he had sent envoys to So king of Egypt, and he no longer paid tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore Shalmaneser seized him and put him in prison.  The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years.  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.  All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods  and followed the practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced.  The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns.  They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.  At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the LORD had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the LORD’s anger.  They worshiped idols, though the LORD had said, “You shall not do this.”  The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”  But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the LORD their God.  They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”  They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal.  They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.  So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left,  and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.  Therefore the LORD rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.  When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the LORD and caused them to commit a great sin.  The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them  until the LORD removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat brought on the exile?
How did God’s people become so lost? This passage makes it clear that Israel was responsible. Like the chronically cheating spouse shown the door, Israel’s continual unfaithfulness brings decisive action from God. After the final act (1-6), the historian presents the convictions that led to the northern kingdom’s permanent exile (7). I count 16! But at the root are two. The Israelites as a nation wanted earthly power. Rather than seek to be guided by the covenant long abandoned (15), they embraced the culture, customs and desires of the nations around them (8,9,15). The other major factor was the ambition of their monarchs (8,21). From Jeroboam to Hoshea, they did whatever it took to hold onto power, including perverting the worship. The prophets’ warnings went unheeded (13,14). The northern kingdom was terminally unrepentant, so God removed them from his presence. The remnant of Israel would continue through Judah (18).
Seriously sit and examine who you have become. Explore where your life is faithful to “Christ in you” and where it isn’t.
Lord of light, examine my heart and help me to walk in life and in truth. Forgive me and cleanse me.
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