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2 Kings Chapter 17 (ESV)
5 Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.
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. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city….
22 The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, 23 until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.
- If time allows, read through the whole chapter about the destruction of the northern kingdom, deportation of its people.
- The final destruction of Israel came when Hoshea refused to pay Assyrian tribute and sought help from Egypt. Samaria was captured after a three-year siege, and the Israelites were deported. Foreigners were brought in to resettle the land. Israel, the northern kingdom, was no more.
- Since starting 260, I have walked through this journey with the Israelites through generations, from the beginning of Genesis, to Egypt, to the dessert, overcoming Canaanites, the days of the Judges, the glory days of king David and Solomon, the slow demise of the kingdom and now exile of the north kingdom.
- The principle the author established echoes throughout the Scripture. God holds man responsible for his sins. The nearly 200 years during which God withheld final judgment on Israel speaks of His grace. But the invasion of the Assyrians reminds us that judgment will surely come. God’s patience today in withholding judgment on our sins still reflects His patience. The Bible reminds us that despite God’s grace, judgment will surely come. And we need to heed the warning.
As I begin to appreciate God’s grief in how far we’ve fallen, read this verse as if Jesus is speaking to me. Pray for mercy and strength