The Lord has always looked for fruitful obedience from those who have been known to be part of His family. Israel was “a luxuriant vine,” but it produced idolatry and rebellion. As the nation increased in prosperity, the leaders and their subjects in the northern part of the Promised Land built “more altars” for prohibited worship and more ornate “pillars” for strange devotions to foreign gods and goddesses. Jehovah was not impressed. A golden calf that Israel loved would be sent off to Assyria and the places of forbidden religion would be decimated.
“Samaria’s king shall perish like a twig on the face of the waters.” The citizens were no longer sure that they even needed a ruler. They wanted their own way in everything. “Their heart is false, now they must bear their own guilt.”
One day there would be such devastation in Israel that men and women who had once appeared brave would say to the mountains, “Cover us!” They would cry to the hills, “Fall on us!” Many would seek a speedy death by natural disaster rather than face the brutality of a foreign army.
The Lord had a good purpose for this severe national discipline. His chosen ones needed to bear this “yoke” of suffering in the hope that they would truly return to Him. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Despite the failure of multitudes who had rejected the commandments of the Lord of Hosts, God had not forgotten His promise to bring forth an eternal King of Glory. Jesus is that long-expected Savior. In Him we have a Man who will never die, be defeated in battle, or fall to the corruption of this sinful world. He is our holy Lord, and because of Him we can have great confidence that we belong to “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:28)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God of Grace, You have brought us through many challenging times. We have faced trials from enemies, and great troubles from our own false words and actions. We repent, O Lord God. We do not want to go back to the place of our ugly sin, but desire to move forward toward the new world You have for us. Your Son has taken upon Himself the trouble that we deserved. He was cut off from the land of the living for us and by His life and death we are fully restored. We thank You for Your abundant mercy.