Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Downward Spiral

July 15: 2 Chronicles 28 & 2 Kings 16 - 17

1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, 2 but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, 3 and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

5 Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force.

8 The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. 10 And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? 11 Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”
2 Chronicles 28:1-5 & 8-11

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

7 And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods 8 and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. 9 And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right.
2 Chronicles 16:6-9

Downward Spiral

What a sad commentary in the history of Judah and Israel! Today's reading gives the accounts of Ahaz, King of Judah, and Hoshea, King of Israel.

People often deny God, believing that He is not a loving God because He allows bad things to happen to people. Yet, look at the nations of Judah and Israel; just the opposite is true!

For years and years, through the reigns of all of the kings of Israel since they split from Judah under the reign of Jereboam, the Israelites were in a downward spiral moving away from the Lord. There was not one good king; not one king of Israel worshiped and served God. Because God is longsuffering, He sent prophet after prophet to warn them of their sins against Him and to proclaim the coming judgment if they did not repent.

In today's reading, they committed an even greater treachery by warring against their relatives from Judah, capturing 200,000 of whom they intended to make their slaves. Read the message God sent to Israel through His prophet, Oded.

“Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. 10 And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? 11 Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”

The time of judgment had finally come! Though they returned the captives to their homes, the Lord sent the king of Syria to invade the land of Israel and carry them away captive.

What a lesson for us today. Do we Christians impose upon God's longsuffering by continuing to live an apathetic life before Him? Are we in a downward spiral being more concerned about our daily lives and acquiring things of the world rather than having a heart for the lost around us? Do we not believe that a time will come when God says, "Enough!"?

Oh, yes, we like a God of love, but we tend to shy away from this same God also being a God of justice. Pray that God will bless you with a deep love toward Him that drives you to love and serve Him in every area of your life. Pray, too, that God will give you a burden for the lost around you.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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