Pastor Christopher Brock
December 23, 2023
2 Kings 17:7-8, New International Version
“All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced.”
This verse is one that could be very easy to simply read and then continue on without giving it a second thought. The Israelites sinned and they experienced the consequences of that sin. However, as we so often find, when we dig a little deeper into scripture and think about the situation and what is being said it takes on a whole new dimension of meaning.
The key portion of this verse that I want to review here says, “and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them”. Over the course of time, after the Israelites left Egypt, we see the Lord do great and amazing things. From the plagues in Egypt, to the walls of Jericho, to the countless battles that the Israelites had fought, this nation had been witnessing to the power of the Lord in ways that no other nation has been. They saw, in a close and intimate way, what the Lord had done, and they knew beyond doubt the power of the Lord. Yet, they followed the practices of the nations that the Lord had driven out before them. How is this possible? How could a group of people see the work of the Lord, see His power defeat those in front of them, and then follow those who were defeated? As I read this and consider their actions, I am left thinking that these people must have simply been insane. Yet I, and every single one of us, have the potential of following the same path that the Israelites took.
Everyone who has found Christ and become His disciple has a testimony. They all are amazing, and many of them include amazing stories of healing, both physical and emotional. Others tell of amazing things that happened in seemingly impossible situations which could only be attributed to the power of the Lord. These testimonies and stories about the power of the Lord in the lives of His people are no less amazing than those things that happened with the Israelites when the Lord brought them out of Egypt. Even so, we can see the exact same process occurring in the lives of these people that we saw demonstrated with the people of Israel. They experience the power of the Lord firsthand and then, over time, they slowly began to turn back to the ways of the world. Their passion for the Lord and their desire to please Him fades, until they have completely fallen away from Him.
Right now, in this moment, we can make a decision to move closer to the Lord and go deeper in relationship with Him, or we can choose to move away from Him and separate ourselves from His presence. Don’t let even a single day go by in which you do not passionately seek the Lord and His will for your life. Do not sit idly by and let the world influence you in a direction that leads you to destruction. The choice is yours.
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT)