- 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chron. 5:23-26
- 2 Kings 15:37, 31, 30; 17:1-2; 15:36, 38; 16:1-2a
- 2 Chron. 28:1b-4
The warnings of the prophets are beginning to come true. During the reign of Pekah king of Israel, the king of Assyria came and took several towns and regions, including Gilead and Galilee and all the land of Naphtili and deported the people to Assyria. The heads of the families of these people had behaved wickedly before GOD and GOD raised up the king of Assyria to punish them. The king then took the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. They all were taken to the land of Assyria.
At the same time the LORD began to send the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah king of Israel against Judah. Pekah was assassinated by Hoshea who succeeded him as king of Israel. Hoshea did evil but not as much as those before him. Jotham king of Judah died and his son Ahaz reigned in his place. Jotham had done what was right but Ahaz was evil, really evil! He worshiped idols and burned sacrifices in a valley and even sacrificed his own sons in the fire.
GOD has given each person the opportunity and the right to choose good or evil, to walk in His ways or follow Satan's path of wickedness. For a righteous person, nothing is more tragic than to watch others we love and care for make the choice to reject GOD. But we have to remember that no one hurts worse than GOD does when a person rejects Him, because no one loves like GOD loves. GOD is love! If you have a loved one or a friend who is walking in the paths of wickedness, pray for them. Ask GOD to work in their life in order to help them see their need for Him and to turn away from evil and serve Him. GOD can look forward like you and I can look in the past and see how things unfolded. He knows what WILL happen in addition to what HAS happened. GOD exists outside the confines of time, which is a difficult concept even for adults to grasp.
The bottom line is that we mustn't give up on our loved one because time and time again GOD's faithful love and progressive discipline reach the once-hard-hearted person, turning them and saving them from destruction. Unfortunately, in the case of Israel, they were unwilling. The person has to be willing to humble themselves in order for GOD to work in their life.