2 Kings 17 is the culmination of all of God’s warnings. Samaria was captured, the people were carried away, and Israel fell to Assyria. The people broke the Covenant. They failed to walk in the law outlined in the Pentateuch. And all of the curses described in Deuteronomy 28 came to pass…
The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. (Deut. 28:49-50).
They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you (Deut. 28:52).
And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul (Deut. 28:64-65).
Israel’s judgment came after hundreds of “second chances.” God longed for his people to repent. They chose to walk away, and they experienced his wrath.
It is true that God is holy and should be feared. But He is also fiercely loving, merciful and kind. We know this in part because of the person of Jesus. We find him today inviting us into a saving relationship. He is the Door – the only way to a right relationship with God. He is the Good Shepherd, and He cares for his sheep.
God doesn’t require perfect adherence to his laws to enter through the Door. Rather, He requires only that we know that we can’t keep the law perfectly and that the only “work” we can offer Him is our humble need to be saved.
He still longs for repentance. He sent His son to show us the depths of his love for us. He is patient, long-suffering and kind. Yet people continue to walk away. The Door is there – and grace and forgiveness are waiting for those who humbly enter…
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9).
Keeping up with the Kings
- Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (killed by Jehu), Queen Athaliah, Jehoash (only surviving son of Ahaziah: good), Amaziah (good), Azariah (Uzziah, good), Jotham (good), Ahaz
- Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea