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The Scriptorium

Dead End

The tragic story concludes.

The Heart of God: The Decline and Fall of Israel (7)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on 2 Kings 10, 13, 16, and 17.
The story of Israel’s decline is like a broken record. Every subsequent king was stuck in the groove cut by Jeroboam – self-interest, compromise, treachery, sin, and judgment. The labors of God’s prophets, while not entirely in vain, were not sufficient to rescue Israel from its death spiral. In spite of the grace of God, demonstrated in various ways, and especially through His prophets, Israel continued to follow the wrong path. The story of Israel comes to its tragic end in these chapters.

For reflection
1.  Jehu came close to salvaging a heart for God. Nevertheless, he fell short. Meditate on Psalm 119.59, 60. Is it enough merely to root out sin in our lives? Explain.

2.  For what reasons did God deliver Israel into the hands of foreign nations? How was this a problem of their own making? Meditate on Hebrews 12.3-11. Does God still deal with His people in this way? Explain.

3.  From what you’ve seen in your reading, what is the most consistently used phrase to describe the kings of Israel? Why do you suppose this is repeated so frequently? What message was the writer trying to convey?

4.  How did the situation in Israel affect the people of Judah?

5.  What are the primary lessons to be gleaned from the sad story of Israel’s decline and fall?

Israel never righted herself. Instead of seeking the Lord and following His Law, the people continually lapsed into one form or another of pagan religion, together with all the evils attendant thereunto. God patiently bore with them for generations, even sending His spokesmen to call the people back to Himself. But God’s patience with willful rebels is not infinite. At some point, He gives them up to their sinful choices, and the consequences that go with them. Meditate on Romans 1.18-32. In what ways is this an apt summary of what happened to Israel?

Closing Prayer
Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight
The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You;
According to the greatness of Your power
Preserve those who are appointed to die;
And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom
Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.
So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture,
Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

Psalm 79.9-13

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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