The biblical period known as the divided kingdom is a painful one to follow. After reaching the pinnacle of blessing and prosperity, King Solomon fell into idolatry, bringing down judgment on his dynasty. That judgment came once his son Rehoboam assumed the throne, and rebellion brought division, resulting in the northern kingdom of Israel under King Jeroboam and the southern kingdom of Judah under King Rehoboam.
Both kingdoms suffered from the sin of idolatry—namely, the worship of several different Baals, the fertility goddess Asherah and the detestable god Moloch who required child sacrifice of his worshippers. God considered this idolatry to be nothing less than adultery by His people with whom He had essentially entered a marriage covenant at Sinai.
Nevertheless, one king after another did evil and led their people into this adulterous idolatry. They also rejected the safeguards of obedience to God's law; therefore, society became increasingly greedy, unjust and oppressive. The prophets Amos and Hosea listed these sins and warned of coming judgment as a result
The prophet Joel saw that judgment approaching as an army of foreign invaders who would defeat and subjugate the people. But interestingly, he referred to this foreign army as God's army, bringing the judgment that God had decreed. Joel then prophesied that even those God used to execute judgment would one day be judged themselves.
God would regather His people and restore their national life in their land. He would then draw the nations and judge them for how they had mistreated His people, scattered them abroad and divided their land amongst themselves. Joel 3:2 (NIV) says He will put the evil nations on trial, as it were, for what they did to "my inheritance, my people Israel."
Even after disobedience, judgment and exile, the people of Israel were still His people. What a beautiful and encouraging thought that is for all of us. While our sins may momentarily separate us from Him, if we are part of His family through Christ Jesus, we can be assured of His great love for us and that He is always waiting with open arms for our return.
Join me for this week's Out of Zion podcast episode, They Are Still His People. Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan, and get started reading right away! Invite your friends and family to join us! I can't wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!
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