II Kings 17:28, 34, 36,39 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 (revere) the LORD.
- 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;
- 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.
- But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
Background: Samaria is the capital of the Northern Kingdom, a port city in Palestine during the time of Christ. Its people were a mix of races, nationalities. Samaria means watch tower.
Bethel means house of God
Wait! STOP! Wait, don’t run off. I almost skipped this too and trust me, I didn’t need too. There is a profound lesson buried in this history lesson.
The Old Testament was written by Jews, to Jews, for Jews and for Jewish converts. It is full of history (because the Lord works through people and nations) and the way the canon of scripture was put together (not in chronological order), coupled with Hebrew words not always having a great English counterpart can make study of Scripture a challenge. A single verse of Scripture like these we are wading through today taken by itself leaves me scratching my head and fighting the “skip it and move on” attitude some days and on other days, like today, it sends me scuba diving for sunken treasure. There is a shiny doubloon here!
My search sent me back to II Kings 17:1-28 just to get a picture of what is taking place centuries ago. King Ahaz (name means he has grasped) is the king of the now split country of Israel’s Southern Kingdom which included Jerusalem. He has been king twelve (12) years. King Hoshea (name means save) is king over the Northern kingdom and includes Samaria. He has reigned nine (9) years. The king of Assyria, Shalmaneser (name means [a god] is chief) is the leader of the invaders.
Israel as a whole has forsaken the laws of God, specifically, they are into the worship of multiple gods and the LORD God Almighty is not happy with His children! They have ignored all the warnings by His prophets who are saying, “If you don’t stop this worship of other gods, Israel is going DOWN! He said it, He meant it, now just watch.” The law Thou shalt have no other gods before Him, is non-negotiable. He is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)
So, off into captivity they go. The Assyrians moved into Samaria (His people’s land) and they ignored the laws of the land and the animals began attacking them to the point they woke up and told Shalmaneser, “Hey dude, we do not know the rituals of the God of the land and this is why we are dying!” (No, I cannot explain this.)
But God! He has a way of dealing with those who harm His children even when because of their disobedience He did not intervene so they could learn from the consequences (He gave us a FREE WILL and we get to choose our own path but we don’t get to choose our consequences–see Choosing and Pursuing God, Aug 15, 2016),
So Shalmaneser sent the priest of Samaria back to Judah to teach the rituals of the God of the land of Israel. Hence, vs 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 (revere) the LORD.
II Kings 17:33 They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. They still didn’t get it! They wanted the “salad bar” gods–take the ones you like and leave the rest.
Verses 38-39 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.
39 But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies, sums it up: God made a covenant with Israel requiring they serve Him only and if they would do this He would deliver them from ALL their enemies.
The sad truth, they did not and the middle east is a mess to this day as a natural consequence of the disobedience. So, where is the gold doubloon for me? I must ask myself the question: Am I serving ONLY the LORD? Do I fear (revere) the LORD God? Easy way to find out–Look at my life and see is He delivering me or just watching my consequences come to their natural conclusion.
Inventory time. What god(s) am I choosing? The book gods at War by Keith Idleman is a great way to do an inventory! It will shoot you right between the eyes and you will see gods from the salad bar you never have recognized who have invaded your life.
Here is a quote from this dynamic read: “When we feel overwhelmed by disappointment, it’s a good sign that something has become far more important to us than it should be. Disproportionate disappointment reveals that we have placed intense hope and longing in something other than God. Erwin Lutzer writes, ‘Have you even thought that our disappointments are God’s way of reminding us that there are idols in our lives that must be dealt with.’” OUCH!!!
How Great Thou Art by Susan Boyle
Treading for treasures,