Reading:—No scheduled reading
Thoughts and Reflections: Catch up day (if needed) as well as some points to ponder based on this week’s readings.
- Through four consecutive kings of Judah, from Joash to Amaziah to Azariah to Jotham, the exact same observation is made: “the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and made offerings on the high places” (2 Kings 12:3; 14:4; 15:4, 35). It is also said of each of these men that they “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” These men personally were devoted to God (at least at the beginnings of their reigns), but they failed to exercise adequate leadership in guiding the people to also do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
This certainly could not end well. So it is with the fifth king, Ahaz; “he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord…he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places” (2 Kings 16:2-3). He even burned his own son as an offering.
So, we too must not only be concerned with our service and devotion to God but use our influence to encourage others to do the same.
- An event of historical significance occurs after the Assyrians have taken the people of the northern kingdom into captivity. They repopulated the land with other people. “And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities” (2 Kings 17:24).
Fast forward to the New Testament where we find living right in the middle of Palestine among the Jews the Samaritans; hated Samaritans. These transplanted people by the king of Assyria are the origin for this group of people curiously living in the midst of the Jewish nation in Jesus’ day.
Don’t Sell God Short
We sometimes think that God has given up on us. When we’ve done wrong and we know we’ve disappointed our Creator we can’t imagine how He could possibly love us. And usually, that’s because we’re having trouble loving ourselves.
Truth is, we’re selling God short. He is quite capable of doing many, many, many things we cannot do; that includes loving us when we’re quite unlovely. It’s nothing short of foolish to place our own limitations on God.
If there’s anything we learn from the history of the northern kingdom, Israel, it should be that God loves His people and is patient with them far beyond what they deserve.
Yes, He sent the Assyrians and punished His people for their unfaithfulness. But that doesn’t make God unloving and uncaring. Far from it. He had sent numerous prophets—like Hosea, Micah, and Amos—but the people had refused God’s warnings and pleading for their return. Had God not loved them He would not have expended so much effort or been so patient to provide opportunity for their repentance.
So too, does God love us and is patient with us. He has not written us off, despite our mistakes. He’s not given up on us even though we have failed Him. We should, as Peter suggests, “count the patience of the Lord as salvation” (2 Peter 3:15).
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).