17th May - 2 Kings 15-17

Today’s reading was penned by Youseff.

Read: 2 kings 15:17

Unlike the dull school history lessons I remember from childhood, I find the biblical history to be so interesting. It’s not about irrelevant dates and battles, but rather a record of God’s people told from God’s point of view.

The writer was not interested in the political and economic history of Israel’s kings. He’s only concerned about their spiritual and moral qualities. In these days, kings had absolute power. Their influence over the nation was total, therefore their character shaped the society during their rule. In other words, their conduct decided the fate of their nation.

We may not be kings, but we are example to others at work, in the family and in the community. Like kings, we need to set the spiritual tone for the groups we are involved with especially if we have a leadership role.

The story of Uzziah’s rule is especially interesting to read (15:1-5). His devotion to God helped Judah enjoy peace and prosperity. However, he failed to destroy the pagan shrines in Judah and was consequently punished. This should remind us that although we might have enjoyed the gracious act of salvation, our compromise with sin can have unpleasant consequences. God doesn’t expect us to be “sinless”, but he doesn’t want us either to ignore the bonds that still enslave us in some aspects of our lives. He wants us to hide in his mercy and enjoy his unconditional love which frees us from the bondage of sin. That’s how in our weakness we can still shout “we are strong”, because of his love and mercy not because of our perfection.

The transgressions of Israel’s nation have culminated in their invasion and exile to Assyria (chapter 17). They had seen it coming for a long time. God had repeatedly warned them through his prophets. They were constantly informed of the inevitable results if they continued to sin. There were even two Assyrian invasions preceding the final one (15:19, 15:29) which should have acted as obvious red flags. It’s very important to watch out for the warning signs in our life. God in his mercy has sent us his spirit to guide and rectify us. He gave us the spirit of truth to dwell in us, gently whispering to our hearts: “this is the way”. We should be aware that if we continue to ignore his voice, there is no promise that we will be protected from the natural consequences of our wrong path. But there is always a promise that God will be with us no matter what.

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