2 Kings 17:22-23 (NIV) 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them 23 until the LORD removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.
On verses 14-23: These verses summarize the overall story of 2 Kings: Despite the Lord warning His people about sinning against Him and about the consequences that would result from their persistent sin, the Israelites both in Israel and in Judah persisted in all forms of sinning against the Lord (v14 to 19). So the Lord does as He had warned: just as Abijah had prophesied approximately 200 years before in 1 Kings 14:15-16, God thrusts the Israelites from His presence and out of the land that He had given to them (v20-23).
What can we learn from this?
1. Just as the Israelites were ousted out of their homeland because of their persistent sin, the price we pay for our persistent sin is to be thrust from God’s presence. As Isaiah 59:2 says, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” But praise God! When we had no way of returning to God’s presence, He made a way for us through Jesus Christ. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, our sins which used to separate us from God are forgiven, and by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross we can enter God’s presence again.
2. A common theme is 2 Kings is that God’s Word is reliable and true. What God promises will happen will indeed happen in God’s perfect timing, even if it is centuries between the announcement of a prophecy and its fulfillment.
Lord Jesus, when our persistent sins thrust us out of the presence of the Father, You sacrificed Yourself for us so that we could have a way back home. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!