Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 96  of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2 Kings 17 today and our focus is on the consequences and dangers of worldliness. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan

In today’s reading, we will read of the fall of the majority of Israel to the Assyrians. After the events of 2nd Kings 17, only the tribe of Judah remains relatively untouched, and they will go into exile (in Babylon) after this incident. Why would God allow and cause His people – His special people that He rescued out of Egypt – go into exile? Our passage today answers that question quite succinctly:

This disaster happened because the people of Israel sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they worshiped other gods. They lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and according to what the kings of Israel did. 2nd Kings 17:7-8

As mentioned previously, I am listening to the Old Testament through this year via an audio Bible on the Audible.com app. Earlier today, I was listening to the book of Judges being read, and I was struck by the repeated godlessness of the people of Israel. Over and over again, God would rescue the people, and then would then turn away from God, serving other gods and living how they wanted to live. Judges 18 tells the story of man who makes an idol and hires a Levite to be the priest of his home. A roving band of Danites comes and entices the man away, and steals the idol and household gods of his ‘boss,’ It is a story that simply illustrates how far away the Israelites – even their priests – have gotten from God. In the next chapter, a man shamelessly allows his concubine to be raped and killed by a group of Benjaminites, a tribe of Israel. This man then cuts up his concubine into pieces, and sends those pieces around to the other tribes of Israel to incite war against the Benjaminites – and the war results in tens of thousands of Israelites being killed. Who are the good guys in this situation? Nobody – again, another example of God’s people doing as they pleased. Over and over again for hundreds of years God’s people rebel against Him, and 2nd Kings 17 represents a severe punishment and response to their centuries of wickedness. It is righteous and holy to punish wickedness like rape, murder, lying, stealing, etc, and God is righteous and holy.

Many years later, God raised up a righteous king of Judah named Hezekiah. When he began his reign, the people of Judah, despite seeing how God had punished the other tribes of Israel, had continued in the sins of their forefathers and neglected the one true God to go after other gods. King Hezekiah led a tremendous revival in the land, recognizing how the people of Israel had constantly strayed from God in the past.

In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 2nd Chronicles 29:3-9

What should our response be, as New Covenant believers, when we read passages like this? I suggest two responses:

1 Trembling. God does not change – He is still holy – just as holy as He was during Old Testament times, and His views on sinfulness and turning to other gods or idols is exactly the same. We must tremble, reminded by the writer of Hebrews, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)

2. Thanksgiving. If we stand, it is because of God’s great mercies, as Jeremiah proclaims in Lamentations:

22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Let’s read our passage.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for April  James 4:6 “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

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