And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger, and they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them. And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.
2 Kings 17:7-16 ESV
The book of 2 Kings gives us the list of kings who ruled Judah and Israel, providing us insight how they led their people to and away from God. Both had a share of failed kings, Israel was over-the-chart while Judah was less so. All through-out, we can see that the Lord was so gracious giving His people warnings by sending His prophets to turn from their idolatry. Here, we can see the extent of man’s depravity, the Lord speaks but men do not listen. The Israelites knew that their disobedience would cause God’s judgment and yet they continued with their wickedness. More and more, I realize the depth of what is to be dead to sin. Being dead to sin removed our ability to instinctively choose what is good in God’s eyes, let alone choose Him.
This reflection gives me a deeper appreciation of God choosing me to Himself and to what had Jesus done for me. I know I could have been like the Israelites who did not follow the Lord, if not for His grace. Grace is everything because I can offer nothing to earn my salvation. I came to Christ not because I could but because of His irresistable grace. If I could, I would be a Christian much earlier rather than later but I did not, because I was dead to sin and God needed to work on my heart first for me to respond to His call. Nevertheless, I just praise God for His perfect ways and timings! What is interesting is that when He called me, I suddenly saw something that I did not see before. Actually, I never thought I would be this zealous for God as I had never been religious.
Furthermore, this passage reinforced to me that conformity to the world is dangerous. I do not have to follow what it dictates because I am first and foremost a follower of Christ. Now that I have Jesus, I am enabled to choose God’s ways and overcome the pressure of the world to be much like those of the world. My moral compass is clearer than ever and it points back to God who delivered me.
Soli Deo Gloria!