Today's devotion from 2 Kings 17.
In this chapter we read of Hoshea who reigned during a tumultuous time. We read of his attempts to employ some means of casting off the Assyrians. We read about their intercepting messages meant to establish an alliance with one potentially strong enough to overcome the Assyrians. We read of his disobedience to God in reaching out to Egypt. Finally, we read of the Northern Kingdom's exile into Assyria. This downfall is incredible, but not the tragedy I have in mind.
We read about the Assyrians relocating peoples into the area from across their kingdom. We read about their encounters with lions sent by God. We read about their decision to seek out knowledge about God from a priest. We read about their adopting God into their pantheon for worship along with the false gods of all these peoples; gods who are powerless, yet demand the sacrifice of their own children. Yes, this is sad, but not the tragedy I am thinking about.
No. In my opinion, perhaps the most tragic event recorded in 2 Kings 17 is the fact that God had entered into a covenant with a people, with Israel, and they had squandered that relationship. In fact, isn't it tragic that there really was no difference between the paganism of the Assyrian immigrants and that of the Israelites? These people had been chosen from among all peoples to enjoy a special relationship with God, and they had simply cast Him aside.
I actually wonder how much good it did having a priest brought in to teach the Assyrian transplants, "the law of the god of the land." Was their even a priest left by this point that would know the law and follow it? As the chapter concludes, it is heartbreaking to think of everything God had done and realize that, at the end of the era, the Israelites were really no different from these pagans now going through the motions of worshipping God alongside their false deities.
Today, do not neglect or take for granted the grace of God in the special relationship He is offering you through Christ. Make every effort to ensure that those that know you, know what it looks like to love God and honor Him.