Israel and Judah sinned against God which provoked Him to uproot them from their land. According to 2 Kings 17, Israel and Judah failed to follow God’s covenant by worshipping “other gods” (v. 8), following “the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced” (v. 8), building “high places in all their towns” (v. 9), setting up “sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree” (v. 10), and burning “incense” in every high place” (v. 11). Way back to the time God saved them out of Egypt, God commanded them as part of his covenant not to “worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them” (v. 35). But, when they came to the Promised Land, they forgot God’s commandments and His covenant. They, instead, worshipped idols and other gods which made God angry. These idols include one that is shaped like a cow, and the other one “an Asherah pole” (v. 16). They also worshipped the stars in the heavens and Baal.
Worse, they sacrificed their children “in the fire” and “practiced divination and sorcery” (v. 17). God sent them warnings through His prophets. In 2 Kings 17: 13, God says, "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets. " And in 2 Kings 21:12-15, God revealed what he intends to do with them. Yet, despite the warnings God sent, they continued with what they are doing and they have become stubborn and incorrigible. They would not repent from their wickedness. Consequently, God “removed them from his presence” (2 Kings 17:18) by sending invaders such as the King of Assyria to Israel, and the King of Babylon to the tribe of Judah. These invaders plundered their land and they were brought to another land. So the Israelites were exiled in Assyria as what can be read from 2 Kings 17 and the tribe of Judah was brought to Babylon according to 2 Kings 25. In 2 Kings, there is a cycle of sin, judgment, and restoration of the Israelites and the tribe of Judah.
Moreover, there are also prophetic messages through the Minor Prophets Joel and Micah. However, this cycle of sin, judgment, and restoration did not only happen to the Israelites and to the tribe of Judah but this is also taking place in our world today. The Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 66, warns of people who “did evil in my [God’s] sight and chose what displeases me [God]" (v. 4). They will be judged according to their deeds but if they “consecrate and purify themselves” (v.17), God “will bring all your brothers, from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD” (v. 20). Joel, in chapters 1 and 2 of Joel, prophesies of a day when locusts will come to the land and he calls out to the people of Israel to repent from their wicked ways. Along with a call to repentance is the assurance of restoration from God. Likewise, Micah points out the sins of Israel and Judah and prophesies that their “idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire” (Micah 1: 7). But God promises deliverance in Micah 2: 12-13.
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This cycle of sin, judgment, and restoration can be seen in individuals and in groups of people nowadays. Like for example, an individual person commits a sin of lying and cheating which are minor sins and suffers the consequences for those sins, yet when he/ she repents, God makes a way for that person to be restored and to have a new life. In our times when natural and man-made disasters are happening, most of these are results of man’s neglect and carelessness. However, despite the sins of man, God comes to rescue them and he restores peace to the land.
- http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2066;&version=31;Joel1 & 2.BibleGateway.Com
- from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel%201;2;&version=31;Micah 1 & 2.
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