“Hoshea son of Elah began to rule over Israel in the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria nine years. King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked King Hoshea, so Hoshea was forced to pay heavy tribute to Assyria. But Hoshea stopped paying the annual tribute… Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria” (II Kings 17:1, 3-a, 5-6a, NLT).
The people were taken from their land and Israel dissolved as a nation. The reasons behind their removal from the Promised Land are important enough to be enumerated in detail:
“This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced.
The people of Israel had also secretly done many things that were not pleasing to the Lord their God. They built pagan shrines for themselves in all their towns, from the smallest outpost to the largest walled city. They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles at the top of every hill and under every green tree. They offered sacrifices on all the hilltops, just like the nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them. So the people of Israel had done many evil things, arousing the Lord’s anger. Yes, they worshiped idols, despite the Lord’s specific and repeated warnings.
Again and again the Lord had sent His prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: ‘Turn from all your evil ways. Obey My commands and decrees – the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through My servants the prophets.’
But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. They rejected His decrees and the covenant He had made with their ancestors, and they despised all His warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.
They rejected all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. 1They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord’s anger.
Because the Lord was very angry with Israel, He swept them away from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land” (II Kings 17:7-18).
“The people of Israel had also secretly done many things.” Israel couldn’t hide their sin from God any more than we can today. There are no secret sins. Adultery. Pornography. Drugs. Perversion. God sees it all. “And He never lets the guilty go unpunished” (Nahum 1:3b).
“Again and again the Lord had sent His prophets.” The people of Israel ignored God’s prophets, but this generation has ignored His Son! He even left us His Holy Spirit! “What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3a).
“The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15b).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates