“For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them commit a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So, Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day” (2 Kings 17:21-23).
After centuries of forsaking God, the northern kingdom of Israel now endures God’s judgment. The nation of Assyria captures the land of Israel and the people of Israel are taken captive to a foreign land (2 Kings 17:4-6). God’s longsuffering with the southern kingdom of Judah would continue, but a couple of centuries after the fall of Israel, the nation of Judah would also face God’s judgment.
Why did this judgment of God occur? “For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made” (2 Kings 17:7-8). Israel had walked according to the nations and not according to God.
What had God done to help His people avoid such a terrible judgment upon themselves? “…the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.’ Nevertheless, they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God” (2 Kings 17:13-14). Through His servants, the prophets, God had pleaded with His people to turn from their evil ways!
After such a long period of trying to encourage His people to repent, the time had finally come for God to execute His judgment. “Therefore, the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone” (2 Kings 17:18). In order to be a just God, there has to come a time when God executes His justice!
As I read the 17th chapter of the book of kings which describes God’s judgment on Israel, it is interesting the lengthy explanation of why God had brought this judgment on His people. Verses 7 through 23 of this chapter provide the details of why God allowed another nation, more wicked than His own people, to overtake the Promised Land and lead his people away captive. Why did God dedicate all these verses to explaining why He brought such judgment on His people? I believe it is to show that God’s judgments and true and righteous altogether.
Today, I rejoice that God is a just God. He shows no favoritism in His judgments. He isn’t influenced by bribes. He is more than fair in His judgments. As He considers His judgments, He extends His grace and mercy to those who seek it by repentance. He is longsuffering hoping that people repent. He sends His messengers to warn people they need to repent. Praise God that His judgments and true and righteous altogether!
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:9-10).