Do you remember what it was like to be a kid and you had to be disciplined or punished? I know that growing up there were sometimes things that we would do to just push the limits. It would carry on for just so long and then, Wham! the consequence would come down. There was a limit to our parents’ mercy and they could be pushed, but only so far. And when we were disciplined, they would utter the near-universal phrase, “I’m only doing this for your good.” Looking back now, we can see that many times it probably was.
Imagine if you were surrounded by millions of kids that pushed the boundaries? That would get tiring. Well, the Northern Kingdom of Israel was just like us when we were kids. God said time and time again that they needed to listen to Him and to follow Him. But almost every single one of their leaders would do evil in God’s sight and they would gladly follow them. Warning after warning wouldn’t stop them, until finally, Wham! they got the message.
Why does it sometimes take a captivity for us to finally listen? When we were little, it may have been a timeout or sore behind. But as adults, sometimes it is God’s gentle but extremely firm reprimand and removal. This week’s chapter shows how Israel disregarded God for centuries until finally God showed that there was indeed an extent to His mercy. Israel was taken into captivity and the Northern Kingdom wiped off the face of the earth. But God, just like a good parent, says that it is for their good. He wants them to know that He alone is their Redeemer, Provider, and Blessing-giver. Thankfully, this captivity is not the end of the story for God’s People. God’s plan to rescue and restore will come to completion.