Bible Time Period: Divided Kingdom
Israel split into rival kingdoms and fell into idolatry: help me to choose your kingship over other loves.
Under Jeroboam II, Israel’s northern borders are secured and Israel (the northern kingdom) enjoys a respite from foreign pressure. The people become complacent, worship other gods, and fail to follow God’s commands. God sends the prophets Amos and Hosea during this time to announce that He will punish them with exile to Assyria: the new world power to the north.
The Assyrian invasions against Israel and Judah are ferocious, brutal, and devastating. They will bring Israel to its knees and weaken Judah.
2 Kings 16 brings the narrative right up to the fall of the northern kingdom. Judah will hold on a while longer before falling itself. Those stories are told in the next period, Exile.
Key Verse to Remember from the Period of the Divided Kingdom
“And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only” (1 Ki 12:20).
Today in lieu of a question, I propose a meditation from the prophet Hosea.
God sent Hosea to Israel during this dreadful time with a dramatic pledge of his intentions. Although they must bear the consequences of their harlotry (in exile with the nations and other gods to whom she has turned), he will speak tenderly to her in the wilderness and call her back to himself. Recalling all you have read about Israel’s behavior, meditate on the following words and let them speak to you about God:
“And in that day, says the LORD, you will call me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer will you call me, ‘My Ba’al.’ For I will remove the names of the Ba’als from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. […] I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD” (Hosea 2:16-20).
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