And henceforth, the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.” – 1 Kings 14:14-16
The prophet had warned Jeroboam that his kingdom was on the clock, and the LORD’s preserving hand has stayed execution for over two centuries. Israel’s prosperity during the Jehu dynasty came during a weak moment for neighboring empires. But the political chaos in Israel that followed Jeroboam II came at the worst possible time, as both Syria (or Aram), and Assyria, under Tiglath-Pileser III, are ascending.
The Old Testament spends over 200 chapters building the nation of Israel, from the first call of Abraham to the unified kingdom of David. The end is described in six verses. Tiglath-pileser’s successor, Shalmaneser, exacts tribute. King Hoshea is found in alliance with Egypt. Samaria is besieged. Ten tribes are carried into exile and redistributed throughout Mesopotamia.
There would not be a nation named Israel for almost 2,700 years.
Much more time is devoted to Israel’s autopsy and the resettlement of the land. While politically Israel found itself in a weakened position with internal strife and the nearby expansion of a world power, the author makes it clear that 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…
Two reigns in Judah are sandwiched around Israel’s demise: King Ahaz in chapter 16 and his son Hezekiah in chapter 18. The Assyrian threat is the thread that connects father and son, and each transfers valuables from the Temple to Assyria: Ahaz to buy assistance from Tiglath-Pileser and Hezekiah to buy time from Sennacherib.
But while Ahaz walked in the way of the kings of Israel, his son trusted in the LORD… so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, not among those who were before him. This trust will be tested in a dramatic episode at the end of today’s reading, when Assyria threatens Jerusalem, and its captain, Rabshakeh, asks Hezekiah, “…On what do you rest this trust of yours?”
Our verse for this week is Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Kings 16 through 18. Now let’s read it!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.