Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Difficult People to Love +

    Loving others is not easy, Read More
  • River of Love +

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
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Don  Carsonhttp://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-kings/17.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/titus/3.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/hosea/10.html

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+130-131&version=NRSV

2 Kings 17; Titus 3; Hosea 10; Psalms 129–131

SECOND KINGS 17 IS A DEFINING moment in Old Testament history.

The northern kingdom of Israel comes to an end as a political entity. The trigger for this last step in the destruction of the nation is a piece of deceit perpetrated by her last king, Hoshea. While nominally maintaining her allegiance to Assyria (the regional superpower), Hoshea opened negotiations with Egypt, still an impressive political and military power, in the hope that Israel could come under her umbrella under better terms. Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, could only interpret this as treason and destroyed Samaria, the capital of Israel (2 Kings 17:1–6). He transported the leading Israelites to Assyria and then, as the end of the chapter makes clear, imported pagans from elsewhere in the empire, who intermingled with the poor Israelites left behind.

The rest of the chapter provides us with two explicit explanations, and a subtler, implicit one.

First, the ultimate reason for the destruction of the nation was not political or military, but religious and theological (2 Kings 17:7–17). The nation of Israel succumbed to idolatry. While maintaining superficial allegiance to the living God, they "secretly" built up pagan high places—as if the all-seeing God could be deceived! Asherah poles and Baal worship multiplied. The people ignored the prophets God sent them. "They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless" (2 Kings 17:15; cf. Jer. 2:5). Rejecting the temple in Jerusalem, they constructed two calf idols. They worshiped astrological deities, messed around in the occult, and finally sank into the abominable practice of child sacrifice to Molech. "So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence" (2 Kings 17:18).

Second, this chapter explains the origins of the syncretistic religion of Samaria (2 Kings 17:24–41). The immigrant pagans mingled with the remaining Jews of the land. Racially and theologically, the results were mixed. Despite warnings from God (in the form of rampaging lions—no longer found in that part of the world, but at one time plentiful), the best this breed can muster is pathetic: they "worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods" (2 Kings 17:33). This is the background to the "Samaritans" we come across in Jesus' day.

The third explanation is only implicit. It is obvious only when this chapter is read in the flow of canonical development. Fallen humanity is judged at the Flood; only a few survive. The patriarchs of the nascent Jewish nation end up in slavery. When God delivers them, their unbelief delays their entry into the Promised Land. The period of the judges ends in debauchery, corruption, decay. And now the period of the monarchy is winding up in similar shame.

God help us: we need a more radical answer than these.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/2013/11/04/2-kings-17-titus-3-hosea-10-psalms-129%e2%80%93131/

 

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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