Israel is not listening to God. He is trying to save them and get their attention away from idols. But they refuse to look for the message behind the lesson.
In all reality, Israel should have been able to figure out the reason they were being punished. They had the history of the Lord walking with them. The had to Law given by God. And they had the very words of God, spoken through His prophets for instruction. MANY of these prophecies dealt with Israel forsaking God and going after idols. Yet they STILL missed the message.
Israel and Judah both have dug themselves into pits. Pits full of sin of their own making. God is not going to let them out of their pits until they repent and STOP chasing after idols. We know the history. They still refused to listen and eventually wound up in bondage, grinding someone else’s corn.
I’m not one to talk. I have fallen into some pits of my own making that took A LOT to get me out of. Even when I was released through forgiveness, I still had to contend with the natural consequences of my actions. Broken or severely bent relationships was the worst part for me. That, and a tarnished witness I became for Jesus. But then again, coming out of those dark places made me a witness of His restorative power and hope for someone else facing those same kinds of issues.
God DID NOT WANT to send Israel or Judah into captivity. He wanted them to stop their destructive behavior. Nothing short of bondage again would get their attention. He had tried everything first, including warning them of what was to come if they didn’t change.
This reminds me of my mom counting to ten for us children. One day she says she realized that she didn’t have to start with one every time. When she was angry, she started at six. When we were REALLY in trouble, she started at nine! I don’t know any of us kids that didn’t jump BEFORE she hit ten.
Israel didn’t jump. They wound up on the receiving end of what was promised. Warnings were not enough. They had to ‘touch the fire to see if it would burn’. Israel and Judah both will end up in captivity for their stubbornness. Judah a bit later than Israel because there were times she DID listen.
If this were the end of the story it would be such a sad ending that no one would want to hear it. But it doesn’t end here! For today it does though. Hold onto the promise of a better ending until we meet again.
Father God, how many times have You had to drag me away from the ‘fire’? How many times have I gone back for one more glimpse? In some areas of my life, I know it has been FAR too many times. I’m surprised that You didn’t let me ‘lie in a pit’ for a while. Maybe You did. I have the emotional and mental scars from that captivity but You spared me the physical ones. THANK YOU FATHER!
Thank You for not giving up on me. Thank You for loving me even when I was in my deepest pits of sin. Thank You for holding Your hand out and Your arms open wide the WHOLE TIME. Thank You for teaching me the lessons I needed to learn, even when they hurt. I pray there aren’t too many super hard ones left for me. If there are, I’m SURE You will get me through those too. I LOVE You Lord. Even when I’m in the middle of the pit. Remind me of this time whenever necessary. Like, every minute of the day!