Scripture Read: 2 Kings 17 - 18Title: The Exile of Israel
(H) Highlight verse: "And this occured because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drowve out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced " 2 Kings 17:7
(E) Explain: These two chapters are a tale of two nations. At this point and time Israel had divided into two nations Israel (the northen kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). Israel had turned its back on God and they "did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger, and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, 'You shall not do this.'" As a result of their rebellion against God, they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
Judah, however, remained faithful to God under the leadership of Hezekiah who trusted in God and there were none like him among all the kings of Judah after him. We read that "The LORD was with himwherever he went, and he prospered.
(A) Application: These passages are the classic tale of what happens when you are disobedient to God verses when you remain faithful to Him. Israel was doomed because they chose to walk in the ways of the rest of the world. They chose to ignore the God of their fathers who made a covenant with them and follow after ofther gods and walk in the ways of evil. The result ended in exile and bondage. This still holds true today. When we decide to walk in the ways of the world and ignore the commands and teachings of God, He will allow us to go into exile and bondage. If we choose the path of rebellion and wickedness, God will discipline and it may be harsh.
However, if we remain faithful and obedient to God, and walk in His ways, we will prosper everywhere we go. This doesn't mean we will gain wealth, have comfort and live carefree lives, this is not the proseperity that God speaks. The prosperity we will have will be God's favor, we will be blessed in our daily endeavors, we will know true freedom and joy. We will know and experience freedom, peace and victory in our lives. So, you have a choice today... Will you choose the way of rebellion and bondage like Israel did or will you choose the way of victory and freedom as Judah did?
(R) Respond: Lord, I choose to walk in your ways and keeps you commands and statutes. I choose to walk in the prosperity of the LORD and in the freedom that you bring through Jesus Christ.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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