All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods – 2Kgs. 17:7 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is the second part of the Devotional with the same title where discussions on the reasons for Jehovah rejecting the people of the Northern Kingdom began. Focus was put on their decision to
- Worship other gods and follow the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced – 2Kgs. 17:8.
- Their deciding to secretly do things that were not right against the Lord their God was also highlighted (2Kgs. 17:9), the first of which was that from watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns – 2Kgs. 17:9b.
The Devotional today continues to identify some of the other secret activities that got Jehovah upset and which some Christians today are still involved with.
- They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree – 2Kgs. 17:10. Jehovah expects complete loyalty from all those who claim to be His adherents and He will not tolerate any form of spiritual adultery. To have altars, before which sacrifices and offerings are brought, that are different from the one dedicated to Jehovah can only bring His anger on such a person. Most people today may not necessarily have spiritual gods before which they take sacrifices, but their willingness to sacrifice anything including the instructions of Jehovah to gain the favour of any other, human or inhuman, will imply spiritual adultery and such should not look too far away from Jehovah for the cause of the different problems that may begin to appear, as He will most likely be the one behind such travails. He will simply not tolerate idolatry and spiritual adultery and this is what the Christian will be practicing when confirmation is not sought about the authenticity of the Altar before which sacrifices and offerings are brought. Ignorance will never be an excuse for such wrong acts.
- At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done – 2Kgs. 17:11. Though people are quick to say that the end justifies the means but this will not apply to the Christian as any success that does not have Jehovah as its foundation can never be described as “good” success. Yes! There is “good” and by implication, “bad” success – Josh. 1:8 Incense is said to have been used to accompany the prayers of the faithful (Rev. 8:4), but an individual cannot be regarded as being faithful in the view of Jehovah if the incense is before any other god. Such may achieve the desired result for the supplications made and may even choose to come before the Altar of Jehovah to offer huge thanks, but should never be deceived that such offerings will be acceptable to Jehovah. If anything, such should expect the result of His condemnation after such acts of Thanksgiving.
- They did wicked things that aroused the Lord ’s anger – 2Kgs. 17:11b. Many Christians today are actually wicked towards Jehovah as they deliberately hurt him with their actions. Being fully aware that He does not like some acts, they still go ahead and do them, not minding that such acts can only be hidden from men but not from Him. They hurt Him continuously with their decisions and simply do not care that they are doing so. Some of those wicked acts of the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom which today’s Christian may not be exonerated from are as follows;
- They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.” – 2Kgs. 17:12-14. All Christians are aware of the fact that Jehovah finds it unbearable for anyone, more so the one who claims to be His adherent, to worship any other god, but yet some still consciously disregard him, and sometimes even have the effrontery to return to Him, supposedly to worship Him. Nothing can be more evil than this act that the average Christian does with no feeling of guilt. The Christian should know that every time this is done, they are actually hurting Him. Fellow Christians and leaders may not be aware but He is aware and the one who is involved is also aware that He knows, but would not mind hurting Him. Such should expect nothing but his fiery anger which will come sooner or later.
- They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep – 2Kgs. 17:15a. It is not strange today for Christians to deliberately flout the rules and tenets of religious organisations which they voluntarily decided to join and which they can leave with no one holding them back, should they choose to discontinue their membership. Yet, they will rather choose to stay within and create discord, in the name of reforming the group. Traditions of a group may be open to reforms but the rules and tenets of any religious group is the guiding principles that members of such a group will need to observe, to get maximum advantage of being members of the group. Unlike the constitution of a group which is open to amendments due to the fluidity of human activities, the constant nature of spiritual beings in general and Jehovah in particular, does not make it likely that there will be the need to review or amend those rules and tenets. Attempting to add or subtract from them without direct instruction from Jehovah to that effect will always be wrong as Jehovah who initiated them remain the same yesterday, today and forever – Rev. 22:18-19; Psa. 119:89.
- They followed worthless idols and so became worthless – 2Kgs. 17:15b. The high spiritual rating of the Christian, especially, amongst the heathen is due to their association with Jehovah and all such ratings are lost once Jehovah decides to pull out because of the wickedness of the Christian towards Him -Judges 16:1-20; 1Sam. 16:14-23; 28:6. At that point, prayers are never answered and battles that used to be won easily become lost battles. Evil powers no longer have any trepidation in the presence of such an individual and every honour even from fellow Christians will be lost. That will be because of no other personality than Jehovah Himself, whom the Christian has made an enemy because of the acts of wickedness towards Him.
These points and more will be discussed in the final part of this Devotional but the Christian need to note all these points and avoid been involved in them to avoid negative repercussions from Jehovah. May God help us to avoid actions that will make Him reject us in Jesus name. Amen.