In 2 Kings 17 we see details which will set the tone for historical significance that will stretch into the time of Jesus. This one chapter provides insight into not only the great love and patience of God – but also the choices of people which led to much heartache for the nation of Israel.

First – let’s recap a bit:

  1. David becomes king of Israel after Saul is rejected by God. David loves God and God continues His promises through David.
  2. Solomon becomes king after his father David – and also loves God… but he also loves women. He takes many foreign wives (disobeying God) and they influence him to sin against God and re-introduce idol worship into the land.
  3. The nation of Israel divides in civil war after Solomon – with Jeroboam taking over the 10 tribes to the north (Israel) and Rehoboam assuming the 2 tribes to the south (Judah).

 

2 Kings 17 begins with Hoshea becoming king over the northern Israel. He follows suit with the many kings before him by not obeying the Lord (although he isn’t as bad… he still is bad). He does evil… and this pushes God beyond His patience level. God has been gracious with the 10-tribes of Israel… for 260 years He has pleaded with them to return back to Him. 19 Kings have ruled these people and not one of them have walked in the ways God set up for them… leading God’s people into rebellion – idol worship – even child sacrifice. This has forced God’s hand.

(Take a moment to re-read 2 Kings 17:7-18 to see a great recap of this. It shows God’s great patience… sending prophets to warn the king and people, yet to no avail.)

With a broken heart, God is forced to withdraw His hand of protection over this stiff-necked people. This opens the door for the king of Assyria to come in and destroy the 10-tribes of Israel… carrying all of the people into slavery… This is not evidence of God’s rejection of the people as much as it is of the people’s continual rejection of God. In the end – God “removes them out of His sight” (vs 18). This should have served as a grave warning for Judah as well… but, as we shall see, the same fate will happen to them 133 years later at the hand of Babylon.

 

Rabbit Trail: There are many theories as to what happened to these 10 tribes of Israel that were sent off to Assyria. The speculation is that they were lost forever because King Cyrus of Persia would eventually overthrow Babylon and release the people to go back to Jerusalem. The theory goes that this only represented the southern portion of Judah… signifying that the 10 other tribes were assimilated into the foreign culture and lost forever. But, the other side of the argument is that when Cyrus defeated Babylon – that included the old territory of Assyria… thus the people sent back to Jerusalem represented ALL 12 tribes reunited. Interesting study if you are so inclined. 🙂

 

After Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, attacked and destroyed the northern nation of Israel, (as per the custom) he removed the original inhabitants and repopulated the land with various foreign people groups. These people had foreign customs and false gods which they brought with them into the once-Promised land area of Samaria. Once Cyrus released the people to go back to the land – they settled among these new inhabitants… inter-marrying and diluting the pure Jewish blood. This is the beginning of the political and racial tension between Jerusalem and Samaria – seen still in action in Jesus’ day in John 4.

In the end, it wasn’t God who caused all of this to happen… but people who rejected the covenant of love that God had established through Abraham – Issac – Jacob – David. When people today blame God for the heartache – disease – pain – frustration – poverty – calamity of the world they reveal an ignorance regarding these Truths in God’s Word. As we have clearly seen over these past few months… it was God who lovingly pleaded and warned His people to stop the path they were on and return back to their original partnership with Him (as established at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 20).

The Good News for us today is that Jesus came to bear the punishment of this rejection by God’s people. It was on the cross that Jesus took all of this sin upon Himself… paving the way for you and I to fully walk in the Covenant of Blessing God originally intended since Genesis 1-2. By reading through God’s Word – one can easily make these connections from Creation to Jesus to all of us today!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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