2 Kings 17:1-18:12
Israel has so turned away from God that they are taken away and Judah is the one who is left. The chapter ends with, “To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”
God has continued to show grace, even through the oppression He has brought on them. Now, Israel has been taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there. If I am reading this right, these are the Samaritans who will later be despised by the Jews. Can you see why there would be such a hatred for them? These are the people who continued to turn away from God and worship other gods. These are the people who refused to recognize who God really is and respond to Him in worship. This is like the brother in the family who refused to welcome home the brother who neglected his family and walked away.
Could this be the group that Jesus is referring to in his parable of the Prodigal?
Paul’s farewell to the Elders in Ephesus is one of the more beautiful scenes painted in Acts. Paul’s focus and understanding of the suffering that he is headed into is something that I don’t think many of us in the Western world understand. We have it pretty easy because we don’t have to worry too much about real persecution.
“22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Have you ever taken on a task that requires this kind of focus on life? How do we shape the way we live into a walk of faith that requires this kind of language?