Day 22

The Fall of Israel

from the 1 & 2 Kings reading plan


2 Kings 16:1-20, 2 Kings 17:1-41, Proverbs 29:2, 1 Peter 2:21-25

BY Kaitie Stoddard

My first year of college I was blessed with a Southern roommate. We became the best of friends, but it wasn’t without some cultural clashes. One such example was when we stayed up late into the night debating the value of grits versus oatmeal, to the dismay of our third roommate. That year, I visited my friend’s childhood home over Thanksgiving break, and that is when my Yankee eyes were truly opened to the strong influences of the South. Surrounded by sweet tea, I found myself effortlessly adopting a phrase I’d sworn off completely: “y’all.” Not two weeks earlier, I’d argued, “It’s not even a real word!” Yet there I was, sounding as if I’d always been a Southern belle.

It’s a silly example of a larger principle. If we’re not careful, we can easily change our beliefs to fit our surroundings. This was certainly true for the Israelites. God established His covenant with them and taught them the right way to live, but they adopted the false gods of the nations they had defeated. They worshiped the idols around them even though they knew the one true God. The Lord warned them to turn back to Him through “every prophet and every seer” but they would not listen (2 Kings 17:13). And ultimately, God allowed them to become captives so they could realize their captivity.

There is a warning for us in this story—the question is whether or not we will heed it. We are all aware that today’s culture worships many idols: from financial status to career achievement, personal beauty to perfect-looking families. These things become idols when we bow down to them in worship. When we hang our happiness on their outcomes instead of turning to God for true joy.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, I’m guessing every one of us will find we struggle with some idol or another. None of us are perfect, and by the blood of Jesus, there is grace for that. But what should really scare us is that we so easily make the same mistakes Israel once made, when they “followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves” (2 Kings 17:15).

If we get so wrapped up in chasing the American Dream or building our social media platforms, we might look up one day and realize we’ve wasted our lives. We might find that we were only giving lip service to God, while giving actual power to much lesser things. Although the false gods of our culture don’t have literal golden shrines, they are very real and very seductive. And like Israel, we are at risk of ignoring the warning and willingly enslaving ourselves to idols that will never satisfy.

Let’s not wait for the Lord to issue us a painful wakeup call before we turn back to Him. Let’s not waste weeks, months, or even years of our lives chasing idols that leave us wanting. Instead, may we listen to the warning from our God and direct our worship to Him. He alone can satisfy. He alone is good. “Let anyone who has ears listen” (Matthew 11:15).

Post Comments (29)

29 thoughts on "The Fall of Israel"

  1. Bessie H says:

    I was just talking with a new friend and she was telling me about a time when she was being persecuted for her faith. On the opposite side of the story, she became very obstinate in standing strong with God.

  2. Kristen says:

    God resists the proud. I was proud of keeping my house super clean, my work ethic, eating a certain way, and working out. I remember a conversation with a friend. We were saying if our husbands had an affair we would be done. I would take him to court for money and move on. Until, he did! I found myself begging for his forgiveness for putting so many things before him, not giving time to the marriage, and my distrusting, prideful comments. I was devastated. I needed God every second to get through the pain. There’s nothing wrong with cleaning, taking care of yourself, and working hard. However, when these things become objects of our identity, idols, or just cause us to feel superior, or need to do these things to keep up an image, that’s bad. I thought, who would I be if I didn’t do all this? My husband said, I would be normal. I’m not proud of my actions. I wasted a lot of time, been humbled, and gone through a lot of pain. Please get help if your struggling with obsessive compulsive thinking, disordered eating, over exercise, or just pride! I don’t want anyone to walk this road!! There is a great message on pride at http://www.gospelinlife.com called Haughty Eyes. It is episode 274. There are things you may not think are prideful, but may see in a different light. Here is the link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000445092561

  3. Ashley Thomas says:

    The word “obstinate” jumped off the page for me today. Merriam-Webster defines obstinate as “stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion.” I’m simply nodding in agreement. Much like the people of Israel, there are many obstinate people in our world today. These people worship their own idols, like money, influence, fame, etc. They have forgotten or simply refuse to acknowledge the one who should be worshipped. God please open our eyes to see you. Let us keep for ourselves only what we need, just like the manna you provided, and give all our excess to others. Only when we are dependent on you can we be truly faithful.

  4. Melissa Graves says:

    Thank you, sisters, for the insights each of you shared in response to today’s reading/devotion. Your prayers are mine as well. Kathy, I’m praying for Macy and all who love her… that she would be completely healed, that all would go deeper with God as they travel this road, and that the Lord would give them peace, comfort, and joy as He guides each step in the process. Grace and peace to you all.

  5. Mari V says:

    “If we’re not careful, we can easily change our beliefs to fit our surroundings”. Well said Katie. Such wisdom in this statement. I thank God my son is at a Christian college but even then I continue to pray he will remain strong in his Faith. And the same for my daughter. She has a very strong will. I pray she uses that to stay strong in her Faith for Jesus as well. Despite our circumstances the past two plus years, I am so thankful that both my children have continued their walk with Christ. Though it’s been very painful, I reminded my them that God has never left us or forsaken us.

  6. Alexis says:

    Praying for Macy <3

  7. MARTHA says:

    ❤️ Thank you Churchmouse for your daily insights.

  8. Courtney Collier-Beyer says:

    Praying for Macy, her family, friends, classmates, and teachers.

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