SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
2 Kings 17:1-18
17:1 In the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for nine years. 2 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not to the same degree as the Israelite kings who preceded him. 3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched up to attack him; so Hoshea became his subject and paid him tribute. 4 The king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was planning a revolt. Hoshea had sent messengers to King So of Egypt and had not sent his annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested him and imprisoned him. 5 The king of Assyria marched through the whole land. He attacked Samaria and besieged it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the people of Israel to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes.
7 This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods; 8 they observed the practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before them, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away before them did. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 12 They worshiped the disgusting idols in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command.
13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had not trusted the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, and worshiped Baal. 17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry.
18 So the Lord was furious with Israel and rejected them; only the tribe of Judah was left.