The Israelites had received from God, a choice, an option, to go one way or another, God's way or their own way. They made their choice, God never forced them to make a choice but, let them see for themselves the consequences of the choice. I'd say God urged them, to choose life, that they might live. For example: When a child is playing with a sharp knife and is stubborn and resistant in turning over the knife to their parents, the parent knows, if it be snatched from them it would hurt them bad, the only way to get it out of their hands is to give them the choice to open their hands and give it back. The consequences of holding onto that knife, would be harming the child anyway, sooner or later. It might look like fun for the kid for the time being but in the long run it would cause hurt.
In the light of what I have presented, you now have a choice to make every day, every moment of your life too.
Background: I read through the next few chapters after Amaziah and his son Uzziah had gone, from 2Kings 15-19 and here's the gist of it all. The Israelites had gone as wayward as they wanted to go. Keep in mind the covenant God made with Abraham and confirmed through His promise to David and join with me in this exploration of truth. Here's how the 2 Kings 17 describes Israel's stand with God: The covenant of Abraham included, God blessings, and Abraham's obedience of faith in God, all that God expected of Abraham was faith in God, love for God because God knew that was the only way mankind would truly reach the spiritual, social, economical, physical potential God had originally created man to be. However, 2 Kings 17 says, the Israelites turned away from that covenant, they did evil, secretly disobeying God..to the point that, they were exiled from the promised land. They were relocated from Samaria to Assyria by the Assyrian king. They were treated badly by the king of Assyria, until Hezekiah came up as king in Judah. This king Hezekiah was a good king, 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done (2 Kings 18:3)
Lessons I learnt
God never forced them(the Israelites) to trust Him or follow Him or love Him. Now you might think, why did God let them be exiled, why did God let them be defeated by a foreign king? I asked this question too. What came to my mind was the covenant and a God who believes in free will.
covenant:means covenant means "a written agreement between two or more parties to perform some action"
Now knowing this, its easier to understand that, the covenant between Abraham and God was based on Abraham's faith and God's promise of a complete or fulfilling life. Covenant was to result in an action, on the basis of the components(faith from Abraham's part and life from God's part) provided by the parties in the covenant.
Since the faith in God part of the covenant wasn't being activated, God's desire to activate the abundant life part wasn't able to take effect.
The Israelites,"v11 They did wicked things that provoked the LORD to anger." If I were to read this verse without the light of knowing covenant, I would have been disappointed, that God was angry at them, but now I think, God was not angry at them, God was angry at the way they had been decieved in disobedience, thinking that was the best life they were living. Satisfying ONLY their physical and material cravings. I don't think there's anything successful about a life with ONLY those two aspects being met. They might seem successful in the eyes of the world, for now, for the time being. 200yrs from now, will they be remembered????? Will they have done anything that could impact and change lives??? NO I don't think so.
The Israelites weren't ready to let go of the knife they were holding. The knife of disobedience, the knife of worshipping other gods(which weren't even god), the knife of self-destruction which would not only destroy them but also their following generations, because thats what they were teaching their kids, to hold onto that knife. The sad thing was, they weren't looking at their life from God's point of view.
God knows what man is all about, what can make man complete and the choice to find "that success" A life that impacts lives, a life that gives its all into the hands of God, becuase they love God and would want God to bring out the best in them, for they themselves know not whats best about them and for them. They discover the immense power that the covenant holds, to bring about all the blessings, be it spiritual, physical, social, financial or anything else. Look at all the examples of people who kept the covenant of God, their part in the covenant, the part of faith and love for God. Weren't they blessed beyond measure, weren't they successful in ALL areas of their lives, not just the 2 that man has been thinking of all this while.
Conclusion: At the end of my reading from 2 Kings 15-19, I have come to meet a man Hezekiah. "5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook" Oh would I ever so love to be like him. He activated the covenant by his faith, when he invited God back into His life and called out to His covenant partner for the promise that was made so many 100s of years ago. That power worked and brought him out of the generational rut of disobedience everyone was stuck in. He was successful.
Its our choice now, either to continue holding onto that knife ever so dearly( not knowing the dangers of it all) or to hand it over to the LIVING God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and see the covenant in action in our life.