“They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. So, the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. Therefore, the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.” (2 Kings 17:16-20)
The story of the kings is one of a divided kingdom. Israel and Judah have separated, and both kingdoms are characterized by continual rejection of the Lord. Only two or three of the twenty kings of Judah were in any way faithful to God, and in the northern kingdom of Israel all nineteen were unfaithful and idolatrous. Our verses for today outline the tragedy of their scandalous sin and the judgment and destruction that followed.
As you read these verses, make sure and thank the Lord that, even though we are unfaithful, through Jesus we are saved from the certain death of trespasses and sins. He paid the price of death and destruction in His own body that we might be saved and forgiven. And…the Good News is that He rose from the grave, defeating death and hell for us. Now through Him we have eternal life. “Praise the Lord!”