The Beginning of the End

“In those days, the LORD began to

reduce the size of Israel.” 2 Kings 10:32 NIV

This verse is one that should attract the attention of those who want to learn lessons from the Old Testament history of Israel and Judah. After the death of Solomon, Israel was a divided kingdom. Ten tribes form the Kingdom of Israel. Two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) comprise the Kingdom of Judah in the south. Judah is the kingdom that carries on the rule and reign of King David. These two kingdoms will be at war with each other. The times of peace and alliances will be few and far between.

A series of kings rule Israel. Some are tied to a family dynasty others rule due to revolt. All of the kings of Israel allow idolatry and, with a few exceptions, are more wicked than righteous.

King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, were the most notorious for their wickedness in Israel. Through marriage, Ahab aligned himself with Judah’s King Jehoshaphat. One hundred ten years into the existence of Israel as a separate nation from Judah, General Jehu of Israel revolts and takes over as King. This is from the Lord, who uses Jehu to execute judgment against the house of Ahab.

So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. 2 Kings 10:28

Jehu was good but not “good enough.” He did what the Lord wanted but was not fully devoted to the Lord. Even though Jehu’s sons would rule for the next four generations, a turning point was set in motion.

The territory of Israel began to be reduced. Enemy nations took over cities. Kingdoms under Israel’s rule began to revolt. While there was some reversal of this trend, Israel experienced an overall decline until it was taken captive by the Assyrians. It took over 100 years following Jehu’s reign for this to happen.

The spiritual observations are these:

  1. We see that the Lord is patient and provides an opportunity for people to repent and change their ways. When evil and idolatry persist, people begin to believe it is acceptable.

      2.   The Lord chooses those He will use to accomplish His purposes. King Jehu was utilized to execute judgment against the house of Ahab as the prophet had predicted. He did obey the Lord. He removed Baal worship. But he also tolerated other forms of idolatry.

     3.   The Lord’s judgment is in His time and His way. The human tendency is to view God’s judgment as immediate. However, throughout scripture, the Lord’s judgment is usually delayed. There will be signs and events that should get people’s attention. But too often, these are ignored or dismissed.

The application.

  Is there an application to the United States and biblical history? The United States is not “God’s chosen people” like Israel. However, this nation was established based on the recognition that, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “There is a God who governs the universe.” John Adams declared that the Constitution was for “a moral and religious people.”

Can our nation survive an immoral and secular environment if that is the case? Are we seeing the Lord allow the United States to lose its standing and influence in the world due to turning our backs on the values and principles that were held up as ideals when our nation was established?

      We don’t need the government to be different. We need people to be different. For people to be different, the Church and God’s people need to be the salt and light we are called to be. Business as usual, will not create change. Anger and resentment at our current culture and society will make a difference.

            Regardless of what is taking place in a world headed for destruction, we have the calling and the responsibility to live our lives dedicated to Christ and His cause. We need to see those who reject Christ not as our enemy but as victims of our spiritual enemy.

            Our founding fathers took a stand. Even though there were those who didn’t believe in the cause of the revolution, they stood fast. That needs to be our spiritual commitment in this day and at this time.