WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT
Even though the Northern Ten Tribes had been taken into
captivity, Judah did not heed God’s warning and chose to assume that the same
punishment would befall it as well. After all, they had been spared before, and
it all appeared as though God would continue favoring them. Did they not have
the temple among them? Did they not sacrifice to God? Were not God’s priests
active among them? All should have continued as before, and God would have
ignored their sins.
But God does
not ignore prolonged, entrenched, arrogant sinning. The people of Judah had
hardened their heart, and were bent on continuing to rebel against God—and God
knew it. Thus, His fury would finally befall Judah as it did Israel, and they,
too, would be taken into captivity.
But what if
God had not decreed that Judah be taken into captivity? What if He had decided
to spare the Judeans and had left them in the land?
had cleansed the land of idolatry, and though he had even killed the sinful
priests that had led Judah astray, Judah had not truly repented. Consequently,
God remained bent on punishing the people and on taking them away to Babylon --
but not immediately. In fact, Josiah died in battle, and was followed by
Jehoahaz , Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, three very evil kings (II Kings 23: 31-32,
35-37, 24: 8-9, 19). Finally God unleashed His wrath through the King of
Babylon, and all of Judah was taken into captivity (II Kings 24-25).
a terrifying experience. People are captured, they are taken by force away from
their homes and their land; they are then made slaves, and they are treated with
disdain and abuse. That is what had happened to Israel and, in spite of the
great grief that was to befall Judah, God did not prevent it. In fact, He
orchestrated it and made it happen a second time.
No one can
deny that God waited patiently for Judah to repent, but they did not. God sent
His prophets to warn Judah but without success (Ezekiel 21-23). The prophet
Zephaniah describes the rebellious spirit of the people of Jerusalem, and of
Judah, by extension, in chapter three. “Woe to her who is rebellious and
polluted, to the oppressing city! She has not obeyed His voice,
she has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, she has
not drawn near to her God” (Zephaniah 3: 1-2). Thus, God waited and hoped, but
in vain, and the results of their obstinacy was disastrous.
If God had
not finally punished Judah, He would have been perceived as unjust and unfair.
He had poured His judgment upon Israel, and He had to treat Judah the same way.
God had warned all of Israel in the Law of the disastrous consequences that
would have befallen arrogant disobedience (Deut. 28). As with the Northern
Tribes, He also warned the people of Judah of the Covenant, and they failed to
respond. Finally God was forced to intervene and punished the nation with exile.
Again we see
a God who waits very patiently for His people to repent, but, finally, He
intervenes and does so quite drastically. We also see a God who is consistent
and shows no favoritism. That was the case for Israel; it was the case for
Judah, and it will be the case for any nation who knows God’s will and chooses
to go against it.
CLICK ON TOPICS BELOW FOR A
The Tree of Knowledge
Cursing of the Ground
Cain and Abel
Joseph in Slavery
Death of David's Child
David's Punishment for the Census
Sennacherib and his Armies
Removal of Foreign Wives
Sodom and Gomorrah
Ananiah and Sapphira
Catastrophes of Last Days
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Why Does God Allow Suffering?
IS GOD CRUEL?