Kings Leading to Israel’s Assyrian Exile

Assyrian Exile

Wednesday 03/10/21 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Kings Leading to Israel’s Assyrian Exile

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Kings Leading to Israel’s Assyrian Exile

Scriptures covered: 2Kings 14:23-29;15:8-17:41; 2Chron. 27:1-28:27

Reign of Jeroboam II in Israel

2Kings 14:23-29,

“(23)  In the fifteenth year of Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash, Jeroboam son of Jehoash became king of Israel in Samaria; he reigned 41 years.  (24)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He did not turn away from all the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.  (25)  It was he who restored Israel’s border from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word the LORD, the God of Israel, had spoken through His servant, the prophet Jonah son of Amittai from Gath-hepher.”

“(26)  For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter. There was no one to help Israel, neither bond nor free.  (27)  However, the LORD had not said He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so He delivered them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash.”

“(28)  The rest of the events of Jeroboam’s reign–along with all his accomplishments and the power he had to wage war and how he recovered for Israel Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah–are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.  (29)  Jeroboam rested with his fathers, the kings of Israel. His son Zechariah became king in his place.”

Zechariah Reigns in Israel

2Kings 15:8-38,

“(1) In the thirty-eighth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in Samaria for six months.  (9)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.”  

“(10)  Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He struck him down publicly, killed him, and became king in his place.  (11)  As for the rest of the events of Zechariah’s reign, they are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.  (12)  The word of the LORD that He spoke to Jehu was, “Four generations of your sons will sit on the throne of Israel.” And it was so.”

Shallum Reigns in Israel

“(13)  In the thirty-ninth year of Judah’s King Uzziah, Shallum son of Jabesh became king; he reigned in Samaria a full month.  (14)  Then Menahem son of Gadi came up from Tirzah to Samaria and struck down Shallum son of Jabesh there. He killed him and became king in his place.”  

“(15)  As for the rest of the events of Shallum’s reign, along with the conspiracy that he formed, they are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.  (16)  At that time, starting from Tirzah, Menahem attacked Tiphsah, all who were in it, and its territory. Because they wouldn’t surrender, he attacked it and ripped open all the pregnant women.”

Menahem Reigns in Israel

“(17)  In the thirty-ninth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel; he reigned 10 years in Samaria.”

“(18)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. Throughout his reign, he did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.”

“(19)  Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, so Menahem gave Pul 75,000 pounds of silver so that Pul would support him to strengthen his grip on the kingdom.  (20)  Then Menahem exacted 20 ounces of silver from each of the wealthy men of Israel to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria withdrew and did not stay there in the land.”

“(21)  The rest of the events of Menahem’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.  (22)  Menahem rested with his fathers, and his son Pekahiah became king in his place.”

Pekahiah Reigns in Israel

“(23)  In the fiftieth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria; he reigned two years. (24)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight and did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.”

“(25)  Then his officer, Pekah son of Remaliah, conspired against him and struck him down, as well as Argob and Arieh, in Samaria at the citadel of the king’s palace.”

“There were 50 Gileadite men with Pekah. He killed Pekahiah and became king in his place.  (26)  As for the rest of the events of Pekahiah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, they are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.”

Pekah Reigns in Israel

“(27)  In the fifty-second year of Judah’s King Azariah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria; he reigned 20 years.  (28)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.”

“(29)  In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee–all the land of Naphtali–and deported the people to Assyria.”

“(30)  Then Hoshea son of Elah organized a conspiracy against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked him, killed him, and became king in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.  (31)  As for the rest of the events of Pekah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, they are written about in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings.”

Jotham Reigns in Judah

“(32)  In the second year of Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah, Jotham son of Uzziah became king of Judah.  (33)  He was 25 years old when he became king; he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok.  (34)  He did what was right in the LORD’s sight just as his father Uzziah had done.  (35)  Yet, the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.”

“It was Jotham who built the Upper Gate of the LORD’s temple.  (36)  The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings.”

“(37)  In those days the LORD began sending Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah.  (38)  Jotham rested with his fathers, and he was buried with his fathers in the city of his ancestor David. His son Ahaz became king in his place.”

2Chron. 27:1-9,

“(1) Jotham was 25 years old when he became king; he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah daughter of Zadok.  (2)  He did what was right in the LORD’s sight as his father Uzziah had done, except that he didn’t enter the LORD’s sanctuary.”

“However, the people still behaved corruptly.  (3)  Jotham built the Upper Gate of the LORD’s temple, and he built extensively on the wall of Ophel.  (4)  He also built cities in the hill country of Judah and fortresses and towers in the forests.”

“(5)  He waged war against the king of the Ammonites. He overpowered the Ammonites, and that year they gave him 7,500 pounds of silver, 50,000 bushels of wheat, and 50,000 bushels of barley. They paid him the same in the second and third years.  (6)  So Jotham strengthened himself because he did not waver in obeying the LORD his God.”

“(7)  As for the rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, along with all his wars and his ways, note that they are written about in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.  (8)  He was 25 years old when he became king; he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem.  (9)  Jotham rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. His son Ahaz became king in his place.”

Ahaz Reigns in Judah

2Chron. 28:1-4,

“(1) Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king; he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the LORD’s sight like his forefather David,  (2)  for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals.  (3)  He burned incense in the Valley of Hinnom and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites.  (4)  He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.”

2Kings16:1-4,

“(1) In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah.  (2)  Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king; he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God like his ancestor David  (3)  but walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even made his son pass through the fire, imitating the abominations of the nations the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites.  (4)  He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.”

Judah Defeated

2Chron. 28:5-21,

“(5)  So the LORD his God handed Ahaz over to the king of Aram. He attacked him and took many captives to Damascus. Ahaz was also handed over to the king of Israel, who struck him with great force:  (6)  Pekah son of Remaliah killed 120,000 in Judah in one day–all brave men–because they had abandoned the LORD God of their ancestors.”

“(7)  An Ephraimite warrior named Zichri killed the king’s son Maaseiah, Azrikam governor of the palace, and Elkanah who was second to the king.”

“(8)  Then the Israelites took 200,000 captives from their brothers–women, sons, and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder from them and brought it to Samaria.”

“(9)  A prophet of the LORD named Oded was there. He went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, 

“Look, the LORD God of your ancestors handed them over to you because of His wrath against Judah, but you slaughtered them in a rage that has reached heaven.  (10)  Now you plan to reduce the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, to slavery. Are you not also guilty before the LORD your God?  (11)  Listen to me and return the captives you took from your brothers, for the LORD’s fierce wrath is on you.”  

“(12)  So some men who were leaders of the Ephraimites–Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai–stood in opposition to those coming from the war.  (13)  They said to them, 

“You must not bring the captives here, for you plan to bring guilt on us from the LORD to add to our sins and our guilt. For we have much guilt, and fierce wrath is on Israel.”  

“(14)  The army left the captives and the plunder in the presence of the officers and the congregation.  (15)  Then the men who were designated by name took charge of the captives and provided clothes for their naked ones from the plunder. They clothed them, gave them sandals, food and drink, dressed their wounds, and provided donkeys for all the feeble. The Israelites brought them to Jericho, the City of Palms, among their brothers. Then they returned to Samaria.”

“(16)  At that time King Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help.  (17)  The Edomites came again, attacked Judah, and took captives.  (18)  The Philistines also raided the cities of the Judean foothills and the Negev of Judah and captured Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its villages, Timnah and its villages, Gimzo and its villages, and they lived there.  (19)  For the LORD humbled Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah, who threw off restraint in Judah and was unfaithful to the LORD.”

“(20)  Then Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came against Ahaz; he oppressed him and did not give him support.  (21)  Although Ahaz plundered the LORD’s temple and the palace of the king and of the rulers and gave the plunder to the king of Assyria, it did not help him.”

2Kings 16:5-9,

“(5) Then Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah came to wage war against Jerusalem.” 

“They besieged Ahaz but were not able to conquer him.  (6)  At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram and expelled the Judahites from Elath. Then the Arameans came to Elath, and they live there until today.”

“(7)  So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. March up and save me from the power of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.”  

“(8)  Ahaz also took the silver and gold found in the LORD’s temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace and sent them to the king of Assyria as a gift.  (9)  So the king of Assyria listened to him and marched up to Damascus and captured it. He deported its people to Kir but put Rezin to death.”

Ahaz’s Idolatry

2Chron. 28:22-27,

“(22)  At the time of his distress, King Ahaz himself became more unfaithful to the LORD.  (23)  He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him; he said, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram are helping them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.” But they were the downfall of him and of all Israel.  

“(24)  Then Ahaz gathered up the utensils of God’s temple, cut them into pieces, shut the doors of the LORD’s temple, and made himself altars on every street corner in Jerusalem.  (25)  He made high places in every city of Judah to offer incense to other gods, and he provoked the God of his ancestors.”  

“(26)  As for the rest of his deeds and all his ways, from beginning to end, they are written about in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.  (27)  Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in the city, in Jerusalem, and his son Hezekiah became king in his place.”

2Kings 16:10-12,

“(10) King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria. When he saw the altar that was in Damascus, King Ahaz sent a model of the altar and complete plans for its construction to Uriah the priest.”

“(11)  Uriah built the altar according to all the instructions King Ahaz sent from Damascus. Therefore, by the time King Ahaz came back from Damascus, Uriah the priest had made it.”

“(12)  When the king came back from Damascus, he saw the altar. Then he approached the altar and ascended it. (13) He offered his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar.  (14)  He took the bronze altar that was before the LORD in front of the temple between his altar and the LORD’s temple, and put it on the north side of his altar.  (15)  Then King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, 

“Offer on the great altar the morning burnt offering, the evening grain offering, and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering. Also offer the burnt offering of all the people of the land, their grain offering, and their drink offerings. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of sacrifice. The bronze altar will be for me to seek guidance.”  

“(16)  Uriah the priest did everything King Ahaz commanded.  (17)  Then King Ahaz cut off the frames of the water carts and removed the bronze basin from each of them. He took the reservoir from the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pavement.  (18)  To satisfy the king of Assyria, he removed from the LORD’s temple the Sabbath canopy they had built in the palace, and he closed the outer entrance for the king.”

“(19)  The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, along with his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings.  (20)  Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and his son Hezekiah became king in his place.”

Hoshea Reigns in Israel

2Kings 17:1-5,

“(1) In the twelfth year of Judah’s King Ahaz, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria; he reigned nine years.  (2)  He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.”

“(3)  Shalmaneser king of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute money.  (4)  But the king of Assyria discovered a conspiracy by Hoshea–he had sent envoys to So king of Egypt and had not paid tribute money to the king of Assyria as in previous years. Therefore, the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison.  (5)  Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.”


The Fall of Israel

2Kings 17:6,

“(6)  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah and by the Habor, Gozan’s river, and in the cities of the Medes.”

Exile Because of Idolatry

2Kings 17:7-13,

“(7)  This disaster happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God Who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they had worshiped other gods.  (8)  They had lived according to the customs of the nations that the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites and the customs the kings of Israel had introduced.  (9)  The Israelites secretly did what was not right against the LORD their God. They built high places in all their towns from watchtower to fortified city.  (10)  They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree.  (11)  They burned incense on all the high places just like those nations that the LORD had driven out before them. They did evil things, provoking the LORD.  (12)  They served idols, although the LORD had told them, 

“You must not do this.”  

“(13)  Still, the LORD warned Israel and Judah through every prophet and every seer, saying, 

“Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and statutes according to all the law I commanded your ancestors and sent to you through My servants the prophets.”  

Faith leads to obedience and unbelief to disobedience

“(14)  But they would not listen. Instead, they became obstinate like their ancestors who did not believe the LORD their God.  (15)  They rejected His statutes and His covenant He had made with their ancestors and the warnings He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the LORD had commanded them not to imitate.  (16)  They abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God. They made for themselves molded images–even two calves–and an Asherah pole. They worshiped the whole heavenly host and served Baal.  (17)  They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire and practiced divination and interpreted omens. They devoted themselves to do what was evil in the LORD’s sight and provoked Him.” 

“(18)  Therefore, the LORD was very angry with Israel, and He removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained.  (19)  Even Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God but lived according to the customs Israel had introduced.  (20)  So the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and handed them over to plunderers until He had banished them from His presence.  (21)  When the LORD tore Israel from the house of David, Israel made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam led Israel away from following the LORD and caused them to commit great sin.  (22)  The Israelites persisted in all the sins that Jeroboam committed and did not turn away from them.  (23)  Finally, the LORD removed Israel from His presence just as He had declared through all His servants the prophets. 

So Israel has been exiled to Assyria from their homeland until today.”

The relational nature of God is clear regardless of what covenant we are looking at, because the One with Whom we are in covenant with never changes. It is impossible to have and maintain “true religion” [James 4:27] without loving God with all your heart. God designed the human heart to respond in loving trust to those who have shown themselves both caring, kind and loyally devoted to us. Above all others – this describes God. So, at least within the context of a relationship of knowing, loving and trusting God, obedience is the automatic byproduct of trusting reliance upon Him. As is often the case, the opposite is also true – if one consistently walks in disobedience, it is a sure sign of unbelief. This pattern holds true throughout the scriptures but is affirmed by God through the writer of Hebrews…

“(18) And to whom did He “swear that they would not enter His rest,” if not those who disobeyed? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” ~ Heb 3:18-19 

Who was Jeroboam again?

As you may have noticed, Jeroboam son of Nebat has been showing up a lot recently as the “model” for evil which the kings of Israel continued in. We learned about him in 1 Kings 11, since then he has shown up pretty regular. We have found him mentioned in 1Kings chapters 15, 16, 21 & 22 and in 2Kings chapters 3, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and now here in 17.

Enough time has passed since we read about this king that I thought it wise to circle back and re-familiarize you with him.

He was a young man in the service of Solomon which we read about in 1 Kings 11.

Solomon’s heart had begun to turn away from the Lord. One of the things Solomon had done was to build the supporting terraces and repaired the opening in the wall of the city of his father David. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, but according to Jewish tradition, in building the support terraces, he was also constructing a house in Millo for the daughter of Pharaoh, and repairing the wall of the city of David he evidently also blocked the people’s access to the city.

1Kings 11 tells us that Jeroboam opposed this and rebelled against Solomon in the doing of it. Jewish tradition also suggests that Jeroboam opposed the oppressive use of forced labor in these building projects, suggesting that Jeroboam had been placed over the projects as it’s manager. 

So it appears that at least initially Jeroboam has both good intentions and a fair amount of ambition. Ahijah the prophet came and told Jeroboam that God had designs on giving ten of the tribes of Israel over to him leaving Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, only Judah and Benjamin. Upon learning of this Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, so he fled to Egypt until after the coronation of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

So Jeroboam returned with much of Israel to confront Rehoboam. Their confrontation of him seems to confirm Jewish tradition that Solomon had begun to overtax his labor force. When confronting him the people along with Jeroboam said,

“Your father made our yoke harsh. You, therefore, lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”  

to which Rehoboam replied, “Go home for three days and then return to me.” 

Now, you probably remember that he took counsel with both Solomon’s advisors and then with those of his own friends and peers. On the third day his reply was that he would make his father’s burden seem light by comparison – though his words were a bit more colorful.

So the people rebelled and made Jeroboam king over Israel.

OVer time however, the people were continuing to go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and Jeroboam said,

1Kings 12:26-32,

“The way things are going now, the kingdom might return to the house of David.  (27)  If these people regularly go to offer sacrifices in the LORD’s temple in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will return to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will murder me and go back to the king of Judah.”  

(28)  So the king sought advice. Then he made two gold calves, and he said to the people, “Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here is your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”  (29)  He set up one in Bethel, and put the other in Dan.  

(30)  This led to sin; the people walked in procession before one of the calves all the way to Dan.  (31)  Jeroboam also built shrines on the high places and set up priests from every class of people who were not Levites.  

(32)  Jeroboam made a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival in Judah. He offered sacrifices on the altar; he made this offering in Bethel to sacrifice to the calves he had set up. He also stationed in Bethel the priests for the high places he had set up.  (33)  He offered sacrifices on the altar he had set up in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the month he had decided on his own. He made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense.”

Now if you remember I’ve told you that I do not know for certain, but I am pretty well convinced that  in future years when Israel continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense on the high places that they were probably not pagan in origin. I say that because Israel used to do this while the ark was no among them and before Solomon built the temple. However, here we have Jeroboam setting up pagan worship on the high places. So it is “possible” that when Israel continued to offer sacrifices on the high places it was to these pagan gods, but I still believe that to be unlikely. Time and again we here about godly kings who followed God with all their hearts and yet they did not stop the Israelites worship on the high places. If that worship was still to foriegn god’s it seems unlikely that the king would be attributed with following God with all their heart and it also seems odd that it would not be said of them that they continued the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat like it is said of other evil kings. Until we find further evidence to the contrary that is still my belief.

An unnamed prophet came to Jeroboam and warned him that a king would eventually be born named Josiah from the house of David who will undo this evil and will take the bones of the priests Jeroboam had set up and burn them on these pagan altars. This prophecy we will see come true in 2Kings 23, which is approximately 350 years after the prophet spoke them to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

Assyria Resettles Samaria

“ (24)  Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria.”

“The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities.  (25)  When they first lived there, they did not fear the LORD. So the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.”

“(26)  The settlers spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the God of the land. Therefore, He has sent lions among them, which are killing them because the people don’t know the custom of the God of the land.”  

“(27)  Then the king of Assyria issued a command: “Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the custom of the God of the land.”  

“(28)  So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear the LORD.  (29)  But the people of each nation, in the cities where they lived, were still making their own gods and putting them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made.”

“(30)  The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima,  (31)  the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvaim.”

“ (32)  So they feared the LORD, but they also appointed from their number, priests to serve them in the shrines of the high places.  (33)  They feared the LORD, but they also worshiped their own gods according to the custom of the nations where they had been deported from.”

“(34)  They are still practicing the former customs to this day. None of them fear the LORD or observe their statutes and ordinances, the law and commandments the LORD commanded the descendants of Jacob; He renamed him Israel.”

“(35)  The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “Do not fear other gods; do not bow down to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them.  (36)  Instead, fear the LORD, who brought you from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him, and you are to sacrifice to Him.  (37)  You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the laws, and the commandment He wrote for you; do not fear other gods.  (38)  Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods,  (39)  but fear the LORD your God, and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”  

“(40)  However, they would not listen but continued practicing their former custom.  (41)  These nations feared the LORD but also served their idols. Their children and grandchildren continue doing as their fathers did until today.”

This passage about pagan’s “fearing the Lord” but not fearing the Lord may seem contradictory, but in reality it isn’t.

What is being said here is that these pagans recognized that the God of Israel was still presiding over the land of Samaria. They of course, had no notion of a universal God over all creation, just localized “Mesopatamean type gods”. They supposed Israel’s God to be like one of them. So they sought ways to appease this “god” and revere his presence among them, but they did not understand Him as the only true God.

So it was that in the limited capacity in which they were willing to contemplate His deity, they sought to offer Him the respect they thought was demanded of them…but nothing more.

So… in this fashion the “feared” or “showed some genuine respect” for God, but not as the ONLY TRUE God over all the earth!

Next week we will pick back up with Hezekiah, King of Judah in 2Kings 18.

Blessings!

 

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Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!