September 16, 2012
But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God (v.14).
READ: 2 Kings 17:1-23
God, I’m not listening. I’m not going to read the Bible because I know You’ll speak, and I don’t like what I hear. I’ve been turning away the godly people You’ve sent my way, and I’m going to sleep in late and skip church. Sound familiar? Yes, sometimes we would rather not hear God—especially when we find our sinful indulgence pleasurable. The Israelites had a hearing problem as well. “Again and again the Lord had sent His prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah . . . . But the Israelites would not listen” (2 Kings 17:13-14). They were stubborn in their refusal to believe in God. As their hearts hardened, their attitudes and behaviour soured. They treated their covenant relationship with God as contemptible. They rejected His decrees and despised His warnings. When God said, “Don’t,” they did it anyway. They turned from worshipping the worthy God to worshipping worthless idols. As a result, Samaria fell to Assyria in 722 BC. The northern kingdom became the ‘ten lost tribes’. But more than losing their identity, they also lost their “worth” (v.15). Eugene Peterson paraphrased it this way: “They lived a ‘nothing’ life and became ‘nothings’—just like the pagan peoples all around them” (THE MESSAGE). Yet, despite the lessons that history has taught us, we still like to stretch God’s patience. It seems to be all good and pleasant as we swagger down the path of willful disobedience. God hasn’t struck us down yet, we think. The apostle Paul warned: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4). Are we listening? —Poh Fang Chia
In what areas of your life has God been giving you repeated warnings? From today’s read> passage, list the reasons God has a right to be angry at His people’s disobedience.