INTERESTING FACTS : ELIAS BOUDINOT PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; SIGNED THE PEACE TREATY TO END THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; FIRST ATTORNEY ADMITTED TO THE U. S. SUPREME COURT BAR; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; DIRECTOR OF THE U. S. MINT
"LET US ENTER ON THIS IMPORTANT BUSINESS UNDER THE IDEA THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS ON WHOM THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE NOW TURNED... [L]ET US EARNESTLY CALL AND BESEECH HIM, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, TO PRESIDE IN OUR COUNCILS. . . . WE CAN ONLY DEPEND ON THE ALL POWERFUL INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WHOSE DIVINE AID AND ASSISTANCE IT BECOMES US AS A CHRISTIAN PEOPLE MOST DEVOUTLY TO IMPLORE. THEREFORE I MOVE THAT SOME MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL BE REQUESTED TO ATTEND THIS CONGRESS EVERY MORNING . . . IN ORDER TO OPEN THE MEETING WITH PRAYER"
DAILY READING : 2 KINGS 15 - 17
TEXT : 2Ki 17:32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 2Ki 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. 2Ki 17:34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; 2Ki 17:35 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them: 2Ki 17:36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
THEME : COMPROMISE
Here in chapter seventeen of 2nd Kings we see the captivity of Israel by the Assyrians. Once the iniquity of Israel was full, God intervened and brought judgment on them. It is during this period the prophets Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah are prophesying. According to John Darby, to receive a full understanding of this chapter Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah should be read.
"To understand all this part of the history which we are considering, the prophets Hosea and Amos must be read, and Isaiah 7 and 8 (compare Hos_5:13; Hos_8:4; Hos_11:5; Amo_5:27; and also is, 26; Hos_13:10-11); but, to understand well God's dealings, the whole of these prophecies should be read. I have only quoted the passages which mark the connection with the history; but the internal condition of the people is much more seen in the prophets than even in the books which instruct us as to their public history." [John Darby]
Israel from the beginning was warned not to serve or fear other gods. If they did, God foretold them of the consequences. It is only 800 years or so since Moses received the commandments until the Assyrian captivity. This is not a long time for the people who have God's Word. Still, as previously mentioned, falling away from God is little by little. It is a process of atrophy and attrition. Even as the Scriptures declare - "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." [Son_2:15] Small concessions and little compromises with the world or the flesh is what brings great ruin. It is similar to Jesus statement on putting a new patch on old clothes - "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse." [Mat 9:16] New gods, new doctrines, new "morality" on the old Gospel makes an irreparable breach.
Compromise is never good for the Church. Thus, we see similarities in the Church and in America as we see in Israel in 2nd Kings. If there is not a dramatic turnaround in the Church and our country, i t is only a matter of time before we see the judgment of God increase in severity. I say increase, because we are already experiencing His Hand of judgment. I am unaware if there has ever been a lower point in the Church as a whole than we have today. Remember, prior to the Reformation, there was primarily two branches of the Church - the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox. Further, before the Great Schism of 1,000 A.D. there was only one branch. Today however, there are hundreds of denominations and Churches. Worse, very few of them have held to the orthodoxy of the Scriptures. Therefore, we are observing a repeat of history in the defection from time tested, historically revered, and spiritually and intellectually honored doctrines of the Bible. Worse, is the practice and condoning of immoral, unethical, and heterodox behavior among clergy and Church members. Certainly - "...judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter."[ Isa_59:14] Indeed, compromise is never good for the people of God.
TRUTH FOR TODAY : THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDE THE LORD!
There is so much to learn from chapter seventeen, it would behoove us to take a quick look at the entire chapter with brief comments on each verse.
1) Leaders lead people into truth or error.
2Ki 17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. 2Ki 17:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.
2) God's warnings of judgment are to be taken seriously.
2Ki 17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. 2Ki 17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound hi m in prison. 2Ki 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 2Ki 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
3) Our reverence and obedience [fear of the Lord] is reserved only for the One True God and His Christ.
2Ki 17:7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
4) We are not to walk in the ways of the world around us.
2Ki 17:8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
5) Secret sin is not secret with God.
2Ki 17:9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
6) God can be provoked to anger.
2Ki 17:10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: 2Ki 17:11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: 2Ki 17:12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
7) True Prophets do not compromise, and are sent by God to warn God's people and turn them back to Him.
8) 2Ki 17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
9) Once apostasy begins, it is rarely - if ever, turned around.
2Ki 17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
10) Life against God's Laws is empty [vain] and leads to depression, anxiety, and other physical and mental health disorders.
2Ki 17:15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. 2Ki 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them mol ten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
11) Sinning gets worse, never better.
2Ki 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
12) God means what He says, and says what He means.
2Ki 17:18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
13) Sin influences and emboldens others to sin against God.
2Ki 17:19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
14) In spite of speeches to the contr ary - even when well intentioned, God does reject people.
2Ki 17:20 And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. 2Ki 17:21 For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin. 2Ki 17:22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 2Ki 17:23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
15) Life - as people once knew it, is dramatically altered by sin and God's judgment on it.
2Ki 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
16) God will not be violated by anyone - whether willfully of ignorantly.
2Ki 17:25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. 2Ki 17:26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. 2Ki 17:27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 2Ki 17:28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
17) Ungodliness increases rather than decreases in spite of the judgments of God.
2Ki 17:29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. 2Ki 17:30 And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, 2Ki 17:31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
18) It is confusion and deception to think the One true God can be joined to false gods.
2Ki 17:32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 2Ki 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
19) Sin, once it reaches a certain point, is incurable.
2Ki 17:34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; 2Ki 17:35 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
20) The Word of God stands as a solemn reminder of what could have been if [we] obeyed.
2Ki 17:36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice. 2Ki 17:37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. 2Ki 17:38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. 2Ki 17:39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
21) More teaching, programs, reaching out, talking, eloquence, "relevance" etc. will not change people bent on disobeying God.
2Ki 17:40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. 2Ki 17:41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
The lives of the people in the Bible are written down to warn us [when they depart from God] or encourage us [when they faithfully serve God]. We must choose God - and live. We must have no other gods beside Him!