Wednesday, January 4, 2012

failure in being false

But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them.
2 Kings 17:14-15

Most of this chapter is commentary. That is a rarity in the historical books of the Old Testament. The reason this long commentary exists is the nature of the content being discussed. Most of God's Covenant people, ten tribes in the northernmost geography of Israel, are taken into captivity in Assyria, never to be seen again. They are just absorbed... blotted out.... gone. That is a significant moment. The book's writer is compelled to explain why this happened.

It happened because God's chosen people refused to keep His covenant with them. They abandoned God in wild pursuit of idolatry, hoping to live the lives of the pagan nations around them. After numerous generations of this pursuit, and after ignoring all of God's loving attempts to convince them to repent by the preaching of His prophets, judgment came to them. And it was fierce, final, and inescapable.

There is part of this commentary that is particularly telling. It is one phrase in verse fifteen that is chilling: "They went after false idols and became false"... That phrase makes me pause, cringing at the implications. They had a worship disorder. They were extremely religious... in all the wrong ways and for the wrong things. Their hearts went after what was false... what was not God... and it was not good. They themselves turned against what was true and good by the very things their hearts craved and worshiped. We will become like what we worship. If we worship what is false we will be false.

I am thinking VERY carefully about what that means. It is a stunning insight into humanity. By that I mean that is is a stunning insight into ME! Elsewhere in scripture we are warned to guard the heart, because out of the heart flows the wellspring of life. When the heart goes false, out of that will eventually come death and loss. That is the warning of Israel's demise --- watch your heart and keep it from what is not from God!

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