Week 20   Day 1

Trouble for Israel is coming from the east

First the Syrians, then

            the Assyrians

            the Babylonians

            Chaldeans and

            finally the Persians

All of them would overrun the "Promised Land"

            and make their presence felt

            in terrible ways


In these Biblical accounts

            the coming of these warring nations

            is paired with God's anger and retribution


There was a time when I responded

to this Old Testament God

            as a tyrant who said

             "You obey me or else ..."



            not someone I would choose to love


Now I see God's anger

            as God's love suffering

            because we choose

                        sin instead of righteousness

                        and death instead of life 


In God's anger I see his passionate love

            which is grieved beyond measure

            by our rejection of him   


Disaster is a way of last-resort

            for God to call us back to himself.




                                     THE WAGES OF SIN
               Israel suffers the inevitable consequences

                             of being on the wrong road. 
                                             II Kings 17


     1Hoshea became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned

nine years.  2He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the

kings before him.  3The king of Assyria came against him;

and Hoshea became his vassal, and paid him tribute money. 

     5The king of Assyria went up to Samaria and besieged it for

three years.  6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria

took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed

them in Halah and the cities of the Medes.

     7For Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had
brought them up out of Egypt,
from under the hand of Pharaoh. 
They feared other
gods, 8and walked in the statutes of the
nations whom
the Lord had cast out from before them.

    9Also Israel secretly did against the Lord their God things

that were not right, and they built for themselves high places

in their cities, from watchtower to fortified city.  10They set

up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images on every

high hill and under every green tree.  11There they burned

incense and did wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger,

12for they served idols.

     13Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah,

by all of His prophets, saying, "Turn 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."  14Nevertheless they would not

hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers. 

    16So they left all the commandments of the Lord.  They 
made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made
wooden image and worshiped all  the host of heaven, and
Baal.  17They caused their sons and daughters to
through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying,
and sold
themselves to do evil.  18Therefore the Lord removed
them from
His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah.

     20The Lord rejected the descendants of Israel, afflicted

them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He

had cast them from His sight.  

    23So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria.

24Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, and

placed them in the cities of Samaria; they took possession

of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.
              This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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