Come Follow Me 2022 LDS (July 11-17) 2 Kings 17-25 | Israel Splits – powered by Happy Scribe
Did you know we’re currently involved in the greatest game of Hide and seek ever?
Yes, each of us is a seeker, but the problem is that the people who are lost don’t realize it. Who are they and why are we seeking them? Well, they’re the children of Israel, whom we’ve been commanded to gather. This is the story of how they got lost.
Now, King Solomon has ruled over all twelve tribes of Israel, living throughout Judea and Samaria as one big united group. But by the end of his life, this once wise king behaves not so wisely. He begins living so extravagantly that heavily taxes and enslaved people to build Solomon’s great buildings. His son Rey Boom, succeeds him as king and continues these same not so wise practices. So, about 930 BC, the ten northern tribes of Israel have had it and break away from the southern tribes and choose their own king.
This is huge. God’s covenant people are no longer united, but split in two kingdoms. By the way, this is where the Old Testament record becomes even more confusing, because the people, prophets and history become divided, too. The northern tribes, living primarily in Samaria, choose Jeroboam in Ephraimite as their king. So now we have the two great BOEM constrictors reyabom in the south and Jaroboom in the north.
Okay. The north consists of the ten tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, Simeon, Isakar, Zebulungad, Dan, Asher and Naphtali. But they’re collectively called either Israel, Ephraim, Samaria or the Northern Kingdom. Now, Jerebom wickedly leads his people away from worshiping God to worship idols instead. And because he doesn’t want his people traveling to God’s Temple in Jerusalem, he makes two alternate locations in the north.
But he places golden calves inside. So it’s really just idolatry with false priests. Apparently, they forgot that worshipping golden calves is a bad thing. Anyway, the spirituality of the Northern Kingdom tanks. Despite repeated warnings from the Lord’s, northern prophets elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea.
Yeah, they’re ripening for destruction. It’s now 721 years before Christ was born, and the Assyrians are one of the greatest, most evil empires in the early history of the world. Their quest for land and power leads them to conquer and destroy every kingdom they encounter. And everyone’s scared of them, and for good reason. Now, you think this fear would motivate the ten tribes to listen to the prophets and turn again to Jehovah for deliverance.
However, wickedness never was rational thought. So since the lords no longer helping them fight their battles, the Assyrians easily conquer the northern tribes. The Assyrians then deport and scatter the Israelites throughout their empire to the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and intermix them with other nations to break their unity and national identity. But these tribes become truly lost because they forget Jehovah is their God and forget they are God’s covenant people. Later, some of these people regain faith in God and travel further north in small groups to find places to worship freely.
Today, however, millions of descendants of these lost tribes still don’t know their savior, Jesus Christ, which is why we’ve been asked to gather Israel. Incidentally, the Assyrians place foreigners to inhabit Samaria, who intermarry with a few Israelites who escape captivity, and they become known as Samaritans. We’ll hear a lot more about them in the New Testament. Now back to the southern tribes with their capital city in Jerusalem. They’re called by various names such as Judah, Judea, the Jews or the Southern Kingdom.
Now, sometime after King Reoboam dies, the southern tribes are ruled over by the righteous king, Hezekiah. He worships Jehovah and tries to stamp out idolatry and help the people remember God. However, after defeating the northern kingdom, the bloodthirsty Assyrians now turn their eyes to conquering Judah. Ravshika, an arrogant and foul mouthed assistant to the Assyrian king, threatens the people and lets them know exactly how they’ll be destroyed. It doesn’t sound pleasant.
Distressed, hezekiah turns to his prophet Isaiah, who advises him that the Lord says not to be afraid, for he will cause Assyria to fall, and things are good for a bit. But then hezekiah receives a letter threatening total destruction, warning them not to trust in their God for rescue because none of the other nations were saved by their gods. What Ravshika doesn’t realize is that all the other nations were worshiping false gods who, of course, couldn’t save them. Understandably? Worried and anxious, hezekiah runs to the temple, spreads out this terrible, threatening letter, and prays god of Israel, look at this letter and see all the great destruction caused by these horrible Assyrians.
Please save us. Isaiah boldly declares God’s incredible answer. I will defend this city. Not even an arrow will come into Jerusalem. I got this.
Wow. Really? The terrifying Assyrians are right at the borders, mashing their teeth, ready to destroy, giving them little reason for hope. But hezekiah and those with him put their whole trust in God. And that night, the angel of the Lord kills.
1850 Assyrians. Yes, 1850 Assyrians leave earth to meet their Maker, while the rest flee in fear. God saves his people. Hallelujah. Such a huge miracle.
Now, you’d think the people of Judah would remember this for centuries and always serve the true and mighty Jehovah? Unfortunately, nope. They’re just like us and are quick to forget miracles. About 100 years after this, judah is led into wickedness by another bad king named Zedekaiah. Does that name sound familiar?
Zedekia’s own son Mulek, leaves Jerusalem around this time, and Lehigh is one of the prophets warning the people to repent or Jerusalem will be destroyed. But they mock him, and he flees with his family. But you can read those two great stories in the Book of Mormon. Now, many other prophets were called during this time to try and save the Lord’s covenant people like Jeremiah. But we’ll talk more about those prophets in future episodes.
Therefore, Judah loses all its divine protection. And in about 587 BC. Jerusalem is besieged by the Babylonians, who overthrew the Assyrians to become the next big empire. This great city, including the temple, is reduced to rubble, and God’s chosen people are carried into Babylon. These remaining children of Israel, who were once so mighty, are now scattered like their northern brethren.
Oh, how the Lord mourns for the loss of his children. When people who care about us teach us to follow God or risk falling off the cliff. It’s our great gift to be able to choose to obey. Luckily, there’s some hope for the southern tribes, which we’ll learn about next time.
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