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2 Kings 17:1-41
“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.
2 Kings 17:1-6
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.”
1 Kings 14:14-16
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?
2 Kings 17:7-12
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.
2 Kings 17:13-17
You know what they wanted?
They just wanted to be the same as everyone else.
They just wanted to fit in and be liked.
They just wanted to have some fun and enjoy life.
Seemed harmless enough.
They were still including Yahweh.
But here is the reality:- You become what you worship.
Do we worship our culture?
Do we worship the norms of society?
Do we worship the “isms” … materialism, individualism, determinationism?
Expand on these … what are we like?
Where does it all lead us?
There is a whole sense of worthlessness happening here.
Ultimately it just becomes empty.
We can’t just say look at us … we are God’s people.
We can handle it.
We just want to be the same.
We just want to fit in.
That might be how we feel sometimes but we can’t do that because the consequences are drastic to the extreme.
2 Kings 17:18-23
The punishment is clear.
The important truth is emphasised 3 times
He removed them from His presence.
A Theology of once-saved-always-saved.
We need to be careful.
God is faithful
Don’t take God for granted
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
It is a huge warning to us, don’t mess around with God.
And it all comes back to a basic command
You shall have no other God’s before me.
When we forget this we forget everything else.
Don’t forget the grace of God.
Remember what God has done and be thankful.
Don’t try and be like everyone else.
Be who Jesus created you to be in Him.