Summary: A focus on Hoshea, the last king of Israel, makes us realise what the theological problem was which lead to the demise of the Northern Kingdom - they just wanted to be like everyone else.
You can listen to the full message here:-
“The Last King of Israel”
Tallest Building in the World
It dominates the landscape
In some ways it sets the mood for the city.
We are great, powerful, mighty, rich.
When you are there you sense that mood.
Today we are going to find in the Scriptures a dominant power which sets the mood.
That which dominates the landscape tells us about the mood we need to have.
Read 2 Kings 17
We will do it in sections.
The king of Assyria dominates the landscape.
Talk about Assyria and the politics – the powerhouse they were.
Tiglath Pilesar III 745-727BC
Shalmanesar V 727-721BC
Sargon II 721-705BC
Then Hoshea comes to the throne
It is interesting that he is described as not being as bad as the ones who came before.
So maybe he should have been shown more grace. We don’t even get a description of what he is like or what he changed. All we know it is too little too late.
Hoshea made a bad political decision.
He thought he was chosing a better side.
It was his little bit of rebellion, but he chose the wrong side.
Egypt was a weak nation and it was foolish to look to them for help.
Assyria was just too dominant.
This had been prophesied
Words spoken by Ahijah the prophet to the wife of Jeroboam almost 200 years ago.
14 “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. 15 And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the Lord’s anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”
That was the warning from the beginning of the two kingdoms.
There had been plenty of warning and opportunity since then.
But nothing changes.
No real reform occurs.
No real repentance emerges.
No leader calls a halt to the pagan worship.
No prophet is taken seriously.
It is really only by God’s grace that it has taken this long for something drastic to happen.
Ultimately they end up being deported.
Deportation is different to exile … (expand).
So why did it all go so wrong?
What has gone wrong? They had broken the covenant.
God in His grace had brought them out of Egypt, and instead of acting in thankfulness and giving devotion and worship they turned to idolatry.
Expand – they were not really thankful
The crazy thing about all of this was rather then trusting in God who is powerful, they trusted in the weak god’s of the land … the ones who had been overpowered
Expand on how this is seen
Why do we trust in that which is weak?
Ultimately it is about trying to take control because we prefer to do it our way
We know we are doing something wrong – so we try and cover our weakness and inconsistency by being passionate.
The people were passionate about the task at hand.
All the towns have high places … no matter how small or large.
You walk across the country and you will see them.
Trying to get close to God
Something special about this place.
Lets reach up to the heavens.
Look how passionate these people are.
Sacred Stones and Idols
On every high hill and under every spreading tree.
It is everywhere. You walk around and you can’t miss it.
Expand – gives a very spiritual impression
They have thrown themselves into the task. No-one can question their passion.
But it is all empty passion.
But it is all pretend and it is all useless.
Tried to pretend before God.
Saying we follow God as Lord, but not really.
Raises the question for us
What do we get passionate about?
What drives us?
Sometimes it is activities and pursuits that are not Godly … isn’t it.
As we are confronted by the reality of who we are an important question comes to mind.
Have we really understood the reality of God’s grace?
Expand to speak about Christ.
This is what creates passion
Don’t mistake passion for righteousness.
We need to be making sure we are passionate about Jesus.
What are we passionate for?
To see what we are passionate for it is good to have a serious look at our lives and compare it to the scriptures.