Summary: A journey through the Bible inspired by Randy Frazee and Max Lucado. The kingdom is defeated, but good news is coming in Jesus.
The Beginning of the End
January 30, 2011 - The Story - 16
Did you know that the colonialists wanted to make George Washington a king. But he refused. Because George and many of the colonists believed that there was only one king, and it was not King George III.
On April 22, 1774, before the Revolutionary War, a report was sent to King George III of England, and in it the governor of Boston exclaimed “if you ask an American who is his master, he will tell you, he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.”
In April of 1775, when a British major called the colonialists, villains and told them ‘lay down your arms, in the name of George, the sovereign king of England,’ the immediate response was “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.”
This became the battle cry and motto of the revolutionary war. No king but king Jesus.
With that in mind, let’s dive into chapter 16, or begin by looking at 2 Kings 17 in the Story. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen how the strong, vibrant and united nation of Israel, had been divided into 2 separate nations by God. Ten tribes were part of the northern kingdom, called Israel; and 2 tribes were part of the southern kingdom, called Judah.
I’ve already mentioned that there were 38 kings who ruled over Israel and Judah, and only 5 were considered good kings, who followed the Lord. We’re told over and over, the other 33 kings “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
We also saw last week, that God raised up prophets. The prophets would hear from God, and then proclaim that message to the king and to the people. Usually they were warning the people to turn away from their sinfulness and return to God. But nothing seemed to work.
If we look at today’s message in 2 Kings 17, we find that 209 years have now passed, and we read the following . . .
13 The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees,
in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”
14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the LORD their God.
15 They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”
20 Therefore the LORD rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.
23 So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.
God raised up a pagan nation called Assyria, to overtake and destroy the northen kingdom, Israel, and to send them into exile. Now, pull out your maps and make an arrow, going from the northern kingdom of Israel moving NE to Assyria, because that’s where the Israelites were sent. And on that line, write down 722 BC, because that was the year it occurred. They would never return to their homeland. In 722 BC, these people who started out with so much promise, lost their distinction of being followers of Yahweh. They did this of their own choosing as they adapted to the pagan culture around them.
In 2 Kings 17:18, we read, So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Can you imagine hearing those words? Only the tribe of Judah was left. The Story makes a sudden shift south, and the story, at least for a moment gets better.
The king in the southern kingdom of Judah was King Hezekiah, who was one of the 5 good kings. He did right in the eyes of the Lord; and was successful in everything he did. Since they had destroyed Israel, the king of Assyria decided to come against Judah and destroy that nation as well.
But king Hezekiah decided to stand up against him. It was courageous and silly. He was outnumbered, he was surrounded; and it was silly. Yet, Hezekiah was courageous because he knew and trusted in God’s protection in that very moment. The king of Assyria heard that Hezekiah was going to stand up against his mighty nation, and in 2 Kings 18:19, he asked Hezekiah – On what are you basing this confidence of yours?
That’s a great question, isn’t it? It’s a great question, even for us today. For those of you who are confident people, if someone were to ask you on what basis do you have this confidence, what would your answer be?