Summary: God reveals Himself as the One true God who redeems Israel, warns them and finally judges them. Israel is called to worship the One and only God, and to show the nations that the Lord their God, the Lord is one. They failed.
We’ve come to the last King of Israel and the end of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 17).
• It ended this way - 2 Kings 17:5-6 5The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.
• This happened in 722BC and it ended Israel, the Northern Kingdom.
• The author then launches into an epilogue reflecting on all that has happened and what led to this fateful day.
• From 17:7-23 we have this well-written summary of the history of Israel’s relationship with God (over the past 200 years and 20 Kings). Read 2 Kings 17:7-23.
The author summed it all up right at the start with this line: “All this took place because Israel sinned against God…”
• “They worshipped other gods…” No other reason. Their turning away from God led to the rest. They brought judgment upon their own heads.
• And that goes for Judah too, the author says in 17:19. They were better than the North but did not stay faithful to God and “therefore the Lord rejected ALL the people of Israel” (17:20)
God reveals Himself as the GOD WHO REDEEMS
• It all started with that. God redeemed them by His grace when He “brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt”. (17:7)
• God revealed His will to them when He gave them the commands, decrees and laws, and declaring: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deut 6:4)
• It’s a revelation, not some smart idea copped up by man.
• God is one, and the only, and that they are freed in order to worship Him.
Sadly and slowly we see Israel rejecting God and went after other gods that are not gods at all.
• They did not just deny God (like some atheists or agnostics); they replaced Him!
• “They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.” (17:15b)
• They dumped the one true God for fake and man-made ones.
The author took great pains to tell us what came into and out of Israel.
• 17:8 - they followed the practices of the nations (from without) as well as the practices their own kings had introoduced (from without).
• They set up sacred stones, Asherah poles, idols, bowed down to starry hosts, to Baal, the two calves, practiced divination and sorcery, and burned up children as sacrifices.
Israel’s call was to be the people of God, set apart for God, but her history did not follow her call.
• Instead, they conformed themselves to the nations and blended with them.
Despite Israel’s idolatry and apostasy, God was present throughout their history.
• You might have noticed as we read through the account, the words “the Lord their God”, “the Lord… the Lord…” punctuating the commentary.
• It appears almost at every other line. You cannot ignore Him. He is there. He regarded them as His people but they ignored Him.
God reveals Himself as the GOD WHO WARNS
• 17:13 “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.”
• Again in 17:23 “… the LORD removed them from His presence, as He had warned through all his servants the prophets.”
• From the time the Kingdom was divided and King Jeroboam (Israel) introduced the two golden calves, some 200 yrs ago, the Lord continued to speak and warn.
The God who redeems them, the God who warns them, finally judges them.
God reveals Himself as the GOD WHO JUDGES. The true God judges.
• “So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence” (17:18)
• “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.” (17:20)
• “… the LORD removed them from His presence, as He had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.” (17:23)
Clearly the “removed them from His presence” means exile from their homeland, the Promised Land.
• But the meaning is more than just geography; it is about fellowship with God.
• Israelites cut off their fellowship with God. And away in Assyria, they would have lost all avenues of true worship.