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Why God Punished Israel

(2 Kings 17:6-16)

Lesson 13 -- third quarter 2001
August 26, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Are God's people today repeating Israel's errors?

Despite their grand deliverance and God's unending faithfulness, His people sinned against Him way back then. Today all across the Christian landscape wander people who, carelessly or deliberately, repeat the errors of God's people long ago. I call your attention to a few areas, not to be negative and pessimistic, but to warn us and call us to faithful watchfulness.

Walking in the statutes of the heathen. I want us to understand statutes as guidelines for living. When we adopt even just certain of the values of the world we are, as the ancient Israelites, walking in the statutes of the heathen. So what is important to you? By what principles do you live? What guides your decision-making? Beware lest the selfish, godless, temporal, fleshly, materialistic perspectives of the unbelievers affect how you live.

Doing secretly those things which are not right. How foolhardy and short-sighted to think hiding our sins from humans will get us by! Perhaps nobody knows what we read in the far back aisle of the bookstore or the secluded section of the public library. Maybe nobody catches on to what we do on those occasions when we've just been "somewhere." It could well be nobody knows about the lottery tickets, the phone escapades and the online excursions. And perhaps nobody is aware of the hidden CDs, the clandestine radio stations, and the secret lover. But they're still not right! And God still sees! If you have slid into this trap, ask God to get you out of it.

Serving idols. You know God's people don't bow down to objects actually designated as gods and idols. But how easily our hearts, minds, affections and attentions incline themselves toward and before something other than the Creator of heaven and earth! Any thing that shunts God aside is an idol. Even if it's only our vehicle, our job, or our entertainment. Even if it is good reading, good works, and good service for the church. Let's be honest with ourselves: Are we tolerating anything that hinders or minimizes our relationship with God?

Following vanity and becoming vain. Some of us work hard to build a reputation, a public persona. Others struggle hard to establish a solid bank account and a secure position in society. Some folks major on appearance: their own. Others go all out for excellence in some sport, hobby or occupation. When any of these things lead our lives and rule our thoughts, we are guilty of following vanity and becoming vain. How tragic to follow emptiness until we ourselves have become empty! Look in front of you, my friend; what are you following? If you don't see righteousness, you can still turn. If you don't see the Lord, you will have no better time than now to rectify that.

Leaving all the commandments of the Lord their God? Ah yes. It seems that here we can rest in peace. With that qualifying all right there, we confidently assure ourselves that we have no guilt in this area. Then it sounds as though we have forgotten James 2:10 -- "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." How is your obedience? If you have salved your conscience figuring your many purposeful obediences far outweigh your few deliberate disobediences, your salve has only deadened you, not healed you! Choose obedience in everything all the time and everywhere.

We can avoid Israel's fate!

"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20)!

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