Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 17

2 Kings 17


-This chapter describes the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians and the reasons why God allowed them to be permanently taken away into captivity. Hoshea, who was the last of the kings of Israel, did evil in the sight of the LORD during his reign, yet not to the extent of his predecessors (2 Kings 17:1-2). Nonetheless, the LORD was finished with this evil and stubborn group of Israel’s children and took them from their land by the hands of the Assyrians under the leadership of Shalmanesar. He got furious when Hoshea went to So, king of Egypt, offering no tribute to Assyria as he had done year by year. Shalmanesar bound Hoshea up in prison and invaded the whole land of Israel and besieged Samaria. After three years, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile settling them in Halah, Habor, on the river of Gozan, and into the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:3-6). These became the lost tribes of Israel who never returned to the land of promise.

-The rest of the chapter explains why Israel was dealt this blow and removed from the land. All this came about because they sinned against the LORD and did not fear their God who had brought them up from the land of Egypt out of slavery under the bondage of Pharaoh. They walked in the customs of the nations and kings whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel. They did secret things that were not right in the sight of the LORD and built pagan alters and sacrificed to false gods; thus, rejecting the only true God. “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:7-13).” However, they did not listen, but became hard to the truth of the LORD like their father did, and they did not believe in the LORD their God (2 Kings 17:14). They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire of pagan human sacrifice, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD. This is why the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight except for Judah, whom had been given the Messianic promise through David. The text says this rejection of the LORD began with the leadership of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. There was no turning in the succeeding generations by the sons of Israel even though the LORD had showed great patience and forbearing. They simply would not depart from their wicked ways and receive the grace that God extended. Instead, they persisted in their debauchery until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. Israel was carried away as God’s patience finally ran out (2 Kings 17:15-23).

-The king of Assyria brought in a multitude of foreigners into the land at this point to resettle it and repopulate it from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sephar-vaim. This was the beginning of the half-breed tribe of intermarried Jews that became well known in the time of Jesus as the socially hated “Samaritans.” There were some interesting interactions with the supernatural and even the animal kingdom as they came in to resettle in the Promised Land. They even were taught some on the concepts of the LORD by priests, but it did not take proper root in their souls. There was still too much mixture of the foreign gods and their practices, and the LORD was never made supreme. God had solely covenanted with His people and they had broken their promises in Israel. Those that replaced them did not fear Him properly either and gave themselves over to serve other idols (2 Kings 17:24-41).

-*Application* God is serious about His commitment to us. How serious are we in our devotion to Him? The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). The Word of God also tells us to test and examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith and evaluate if Christ Jesus is actually IN us through His Holy Spirit—unless we indeed fail that test (2 Corinthians 13:5). Too many of us take a light approach to the Lord and don’t consider the consequences of our divided affections to this world. Israel ended up paying a tragic price for their unbelief and capitulation to idols. Here’s the reality. We tend to take a tolerant position on the occult, wizards, witches, spells, and such in what we deem harmless children’s adventure stories. Here in Scripture we should get a reality check on how God views such things and His hatred of sharing loyalties.


Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 17:7

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