Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 17:7-41, Philippians 1:12-26
The Old testament passage today from 2 Kings summarises the fall of Israel into apostasy leading to the exile and “banishment” from Gods presence. In the passage from Philippians Paul describes some of the challenges he is facing in chains in Rome.
The two passages make the results of disobedience, and the blessings obedience very clear.
A Common Heritage
Paul and the Israelites, though separated by hundred of years in time, have a lot in common.
- Both were heirs of Abraham and the covenant promises of God.
- Both had experienced Gods miraculously salvation (the Israelites deliverance from Egypt and Paul’s experience of Jesus on the Damascus road).
- Both knew God’s law from their youth.
A Different Response
And yet, in reading these two passages it is difficult to miss the contrast in their response to God and His promises to them ..
|Worship idols (v12)||Exalted christ (v21)|
|Suffering because of affliction caused by disobedience (v20)||Suffering for Christ direct result of obedience (v13)|
|Influenced/Imitators of the culture around them (v15)||Influencing the culture around him (v13,14)|
|Did not trust God (v14)||Trusted God that what was happening would ultimately be for his good (v19)|
|Anger, exile, banishment (v23)||Rejoicing, joy, hope, love (v18,20)|
It seems that Paul found true joy in exalting Christ above all else. Even in the worst of circumstances Paul found love and satisfaction when he trusted Jesus to give it to him.
In contrast the Israelites appear to have believed the lie that true satisfaction, pleasure and joy is found elsewhere. Instead of looking to God as their treasure, they were deceived and they looked to the false gods of their culture. In doing so they didn’t find satisfaction – rather they ended up sacrificing their children in the fire (v15), degrading themselves to become worthless (v17), and ultimately they were exiled, oppressed and expelled from Gods presence (v20). They lost everything.
Paul found hope and love and joy in Jesus. The Israelites found nothing but shattered dreams, misery and despair in believing satan’s lie
Be encouraged. Jesus has great things waiting for those who trust Him – who put their hope in Him, and Him alone. Praise God who will satisfy our desires with good things. (Psalm 103:5)