WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT SENT ISRAEL INTO CAPTIVITY?
After many warnings by many different prophets, God finally decreed that
Israel be “vomited” out of the Promised Land as the Canaanites had been.
Thus, “the king of Assyria…carried Israel away to Assyria…”(II Kings 17:
What if God had not allowed the total exile of Israel from the Promised
Land? What if He had simply punished them “locally” and had foregone the
The story of Israel, and God’s dealings with it, is a wonderful study in the
character of the Almighty. Through His dealings with Israel, He manifested
His total reliability by keeping His promise of delivering Israel out of
Egypt. He also revealed His love and righteousness, by giving Israel laws
that would have elevated them above all the other surrounding nations, and
that would have brought great blessings on them generation after generation.
Furthermore, God manifests His longsuffering nature by warning Israel before
punishing them and by finally punishing them with the sole intent of
sobering them into repentance.
dealings with Israel manifest that, tough God is longsuffering, He has His
limits, and that the day will come when He will finally bring about very
stern punishments on people, if they refuse to repent.
It is important to
note that II Kings 17, the chapter that describes the exile of Israel, also
gives an exhaustive list of the sins embraced by Israel. The chapter also
describes God’s many attempts to bring Israel to sobriety before having to
finally send them into exile.
The list of sins is
quite extensive and serious. The people forgot that God had delivered them
from Egyptian slavery and “feared other gods” (V.7). They walked in the way
of the nations that had been cast out of Canaan (V. 8). Furthermore, they
built high places and burned incense to idols (V. 11-12). Because of their
rebellious attitude, God warned Israel and Judah “by all His prophets (V.
13), but they did not repent and, instead, “stiffened their necks” (V. 14).
In spite of all the many
warnings, “They rejected His statutes and His Covenant…they left all the
commandments” (V. 15-16) and “made for themselves a molten image and two
calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served
Baal’(V.16); Lastly they “caused their sons and daughters to pass through
the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do
evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger” (V. 17). Thus, the
final judgment: “You shall be plucked off from the land” (Deuteronomy 28:
God had made a
covenant with Israel centuries before, and had promised to pour great
blessings on them if they obeyed and great curses if they disobeyed. The
curses are listed in Deuteronomy 28 in increasing severity. Israel did not
heed the many warnings and was finally eradicated from the land as God had
promised centuries before.
If God had not sent
Israel into exile, His word may have been questioned, and His inevitable
intervention toward sinners would not have received proper attention. As
Paul reinforces in the New Testament: “For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
and scourges every son whom he receives”(Hebrew 12: 6). Israel needed to see
that its God had reached His limit, and that they had pushed Him to the
point of no return.
If God had not
intervened and had not kept his promises of total exile, God’s longsuffering
nature might have been misunderstood for weakness. The people of Israel and
all believers since then might have taken God’s silence as uninvolvement or
the fact that He was turning a blind eye to sin.
God’s people must know that,
though they may be special in God’s eyes, and though He is very patient
toward their frailties, if they sin willfully and stubbornly, He will
finally intervene dramatically and intensely—and that is true for
Spiritual Israel as it was true for Ancient Israel.
IS GOD CRUEL? -- An In-Depth Analysis of God's
Apparent Acts of Cruelty in the Bible
CLICK ON TOPICS BELOW
FOR A THOROUGH ANALYSIS
Sodom and Gomorrah
Destruction of Canaanites
David's Punishment for the Census
Removal of Foreign Wives
Ananiah and Sapphira
Catastrophes of Last Days
LITERATURE FROM UCG.ORG
(No Follow up)
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
IS GOD CRUEL?