Bible Readings for November 4th
The dark day finally arrives. In 2 Kings 17, we read of the doom of the northern ten tribes of Israel, whom Yahweh sends off into exile at the hands of the Assyrians. The relatively mild wickedness (2 Kgs. 17:2) of Israel’s final king, Hoshea, becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In Hoshea’s ninth year, the Assyrians capture Israel’s capital, Samaria, and then carry the Israelites into exile (2 Kgs. 17:6).
The bulk of the text focuses not on the exile itself but on the reasons why Yahweh sends Israel into exile: “All this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods” (2 Kgs. 17:7). Israel had forsaken their covenant Lord, choosing instead to obey other gods, despite the fact that Yahweh had warned Israel and Judah “by every prophet and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets’” (2 Kgs. 17:13).
Assyria’s method for keeping their conquered enemies subjugated involved dividing them and mixing them with various other peoples whom they had conquered. So, not only did Assyria carry the Israelites off into other cities, but Assyria also imported people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit the Promised Land instead of the Israelites (2 Kgs. 17:24). Eventually, some Israelites will return to the Promised Land, intermarrying with these foreign people to create the people called the Samaritans—and this tragic history is what stands behind the racial animosity of Jews toward Samaritans during the days of Jesus.
While the downfall of Israel is important in its own right, it also serves for us as a foreshadowing of the final judgment day of all humanity. The Lord’s patience is great, but his judgment day does come. When Jesus came the first time, he came with patience, meekness, and humility, warning all people to repent from their sins and to believe upon him for salvation. But when he comes again, he will come riding on a cloud in glory (Matt. 24:30), possessing all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18), and on that day, he will come to judge once and for all.
Beloved, do not live today so that you will shrink from him in shame at his coming (1 John 2:28). Instead, repent of your sins and believe upon Jesus so that on that day you may be transformed in an instant to be like him, since, with joy, you will see him as he is in his full glory (1 John 3:2).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.