Tag Archives: Judah

Foolish Kings

1 Kings 10-14; David the King of Judah is gone, the man who was after God’s own heart, gone. Solomon now reigns in his place, but not without conflict. Solomon as we read last week was an extravagant king. All the luxury he enjoyed came with a price. Solomon had too many women/wives. To keep them content and happy he constructed idols of their gods. The wisest man ever, in his last days forsook God. While there was peace on all the borders, there was an up rise brewing in the people. Now we read that Solomon did not use the people of Israel to do the work of construction, but the taxing seems to be the issue Israel objected to. When Solomon fades on the scene, Rehoboam his son asks for advise from two groups of people. I talked with the elders, and the elders told him to give relief from the taxation. Rehoboam then talked with his peers [younger generation] and they advised him to not to relief the burden, but increase it. I’m not much on looking at polls and surveys, but this is one time Rehoboam should have listened to the Elders. Enter Jeroboam – who rebels against the king. The people were ready [i.e. Israel] to leave. Rehoboam had other adversaries raised up by God. God was going to do a work – Jeroboam would rule over ten tribes and Rehoboam over two [Benjamin and Judah] only because of God’s word given to David. We have issues today with listening to various generations. Pastors and leaders are encouraged to give full audience to the Millennials and Gen X and Z people. I can’t think of a more volatile time in history. So many polls/surveys are being conducted to find out what people want and what they will support. Our own political system appears to be bankrupt, with socialism gaining more and more support. It is a sad few chapters we have to read this week. From a glorious reign of a king, to a divided kingdom. Jeroboam is so arrogant that he rejects God who gave him the ten tribes. He raises up Baal and Asherah idols for fear that the people will return to Jerusalem to worship and wind up staying. Our passage says that Jeroboam did more evil than all the fathers before him. There is a ray of hope – we hear the prophecy of Josiah being born. Albeit, the revival will only be temporary and superficial. This divided kingdoms of North and South, Judah and Israel will continue on until, the fall of Israel and Samaria around 722 BC. We will have kings like Hezekiah, Ammon, Ahab and the like. The idolatry and immorality will become so entrenched into the life of both kingdoms, God will scatter Israel, and send Judah into Babylonian captivity. 19 kings and one dynasty [Davidic] for Judah, but 19 kings and 19 dynasties for Israel in the North. How could such a blessed people forget so soon the blessings they received from Jehovah? I guess America could ask the same question. This point in history is filled with politics, immorality, deception and fear. Except the fear is not of the LORD, but of man. When I think of all the Father did to establish Israel as His people, and we as His Bride the Church, I am saddened because people knew better and still chose to satisfy their own fleshly appetites, rejecting God who literally “birthed” them into a people. Warning after warning is given for people to repent, yet the warning goes unheeded. We pray today for revival – revival of the Church, of the people of God. Yet there seems to be a demonic hold on mankind to continually reject the Savior Jesus. I wonder how log-suffering and merciful with God continue to be with us; Personally and collectively before He acts in judgment?

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Blow the Trumpet!

This blog will focus on the book of Joel. The book is a clarion call to the nation of Judah, but also to the believers today, especially in America. From the onset of the book we find that Joel speaks of the devastating condition of Judah. “Has anything like this happened in your days, or in your fathers days?” Already there has been captives taken to Babylon, the city is falling apart, the enemy is camped outside the walls. Jerusalem has not fallen yet, but it is only a matter of time. I know that many have ready Joel and relate a future prophetic message only,but scripture cannot mean something today that it did not mean then. The church is in trouble today, just as Judah was on the brink of total disaster. The wonderful Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey is now a waste land. The vines are broken down, the fields lay barren and wind worn. No crops to feed the people, no hope for a better day tomorrow. Yet with all the devastation clearly in eyesight, the people are sleeping or worse drunken with a stupider and oblivious to what is going on around them. This continuation of the message from Jeremiah, still falls on deaf ears.

When we think of the Baal cultic worship, this agrarian god that promise fertility of crops and vats of wine flowing from the wine presses, and all Judah has to show for their idolatry is a waste land. For a people so dependent on the Land, the absurdity that they will not turn back to Jehovah, who gave them the Land  is ironic.

A repeated phrase “for the Day of the Lord is coming” declares that such a time is conducted at the hands of God. When I think of the apathy, apostasy and anarchy that pervades our country and world today I grieve for the Lord to heal us. But I also know that there must be a brokenness within us. We have to come to our senses, as the Prodigal son did before he returned to his loving father. What will it take for the people of Judah, even America to come to their senses? Is it too late for Judah in Joel? Is it too late for America today? The trumpet call that needs to be sounded in the assembly alarm, the calling together of the people. Like in the days as a child we had civil disaster sirens that caused us to assemble in a designated place, we must assemble at the clarion call of the Holy Spirit. We and Judah had to respond to the alarm, sadly Judah did not – will we go the same way in our stubbornness? In Joel 1:14-15 and Joel 2:15-17 declares the necessary actions for the people to avert disaster. But it cannot be just to avert punishment and calamity, there must be a humility and passion to return to the God who loves us, and to our blessed Savior.

Needed today is for the “trumpet to blow” for the people of God to come together for an out pouring of prayer and repentance – needed today is a “Holy Ghost revival!” Nothing short of a solemn assembly will do. A solemn assemble is a called meeting for a specific purpose. I recently called for a “solemn assembly for my church. It is time to drop what is in our hands and fall before the LORD. Call the elders, all the inhabitants to the House of the Lord your God and “Cry out to the LORD” – alas the day for the day of the Lord is near. God is drawing all things according to His plan. Judah is told to come and PRAY in the HOUSE of the LORD – come to the TEMPLE people!

Every great revival began with a small group of people who were broken for the Lord and over their sin – the Shantung revival in China occurred because the missionaries were broken before the Lord in prayer. Prayer is incense in the nostrils of God – let’s make is a sweet-smelling aroma.

With the call to come to the House of God, proclaim a fast and prayer; the end result “who knows whether He [God] will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him.” (2:14) Judah had the chance, but they refused – let us learn from their hard heart refusal and Call on the Lord.

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Crying Out Loud

Book of Lamentations – the five funeral dirges.  The year is close to 587 BC, the first round of captives have been taken to Babylon from Judah. All that God had said in Jeremiah, was come true in Lamentations. The book is authored by Jeremiah – the Weeping Prophet. No matter how much Jeremiah warned the Southern kingdom of Judah, the would not listen to the pending judgment of Yahweh. While there is admitted guilt about the rebellion and immorality entrenched within Judah; there is still the request for mercy or as is sometimes translated lovingkindness. Chapter 3:21-25 is a clear example of HOPE for the mercy of God. I found it interesting that while punishment was being implemented, Judah was not crying out in repentance, but in anguish for being punished. I can remember as a child that I could start crying and wiggling around even before the spanking started – crying out I wouldn’t do it again, but never admitting that I deserved what punishment I was getting. In Crisis of our lives, we too often focus on the repercussions more that the offense. In Lamentations, Jeremiah is weeping or crying out loud about the truth of God’s judgment upon the “daughter of Zion.” I had to look up “daughter of Zion” to have a more full understanding of the phrase. It has to do with the relationship of Judah [IE. Israel] to the Father. SO a relationship is being expressed in “daughter of Zion.” Since we know that God “birthed” Israel from an old and man and woman beyond child-bearing years, the Heavenly Father can call Israel not only His people, but treat her as His child.

The very language of the book is descriptive of the prophetic message given Jeremiah before the captivity and exile. I do not know why we wait so long before we pay attention to the trouble that will be ours when we sin. Of course Israel, Samaria were deserving of the m=punishment they received, but Judah, it seems to appear was appalled that they were being punished.

Clearly represented in the “anger and wrath” of the LORD on Judah. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and ransacked by the enemies. Things were so bad inside the walls of the city, women boiled their children and ate them to stay alive. Famine, sword and pestilence just as they had been warned would occur, did – yet they still are complaining about their situation rather than acknowledge there is justification for their plight.

In each of the funeral messages, we find the depth of the punishment and wrath of God. The people of Judah were compared to the sins of Sodom, but considered worse, this being because they knew better.  While reading of the lament and sorrow of Jeremiah, I couldn’t help but think of 2 Chronicles 6 & 7, where Solomon prays to the LORD about the sin of rebellion Israel would potentially get entrenched in. Solomon asks the LORD to remember and forgive the people. The LORD answers Solomon’s prayer with an emphatic YES in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The exile and destruction of Judah is only comparable to the destruction of Jerusalem again in  70 AD. The land had become so polluted with the excesses of sin and immorality, God was compelled to “cleanse the land.” the Message to us [Americans] we cannot think we are above Israel and exempt from punishment. Arrogance and pride caused the fall of Judah and Israel; it will be the downfall of America as well. In our day we are hearing warning after warning to repent and return to the LORD. Will we heed the warnings or will we relive Lamentations “Crying out Loud” in sorrow for our unrepentant hearts over the judgment of God upon us?

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Broken Jars and Ruined Clay

this blog covers Jeremiah 18-22; there are two references to the potter and clay. The first is when the potter is working the clay into a vessel, the second it when the clay has been fired and fixed, but is deliberately broken. This past weeks reading means a lot more if you have an understanding of ceramics. Behind the Potter and clay is the understanding that God the father is the potter, fashioning Israel the clay into the vessel He wants to make. Israel, the pot is being designed for the intended use of Jehovah. We have heard many times – “will the clay say to the Potter, why have you made me this way?” [Romans 9:20-21] This illustration to Judah is to bring to mind that God is God and that He is in control. The Triune God in the creator of the world. He- Jehovah has ultimate power and authority. The Potter finds the clay/vessel is not fit for use. It obviously hasn’t been fired so The Potter crushes it, puts it back on the wheel. The Clay is remade-Judah reformed by God. When thinking of this and the inability for Israel to be a useful vessel, the thought that the Gentiles becoming the New Vessel that God would make, came to my mind. However, I did have to remember, that at some point the New vessel would become unfit as well and have to be crushed. The problem with both Israel and the Gentile vessels is that they become rigid and unmalleable in the hands of God. Israel was in the hands of God, to do as he wills, as is the vessel – the Church  today. There is a promise in this passage of hope. If . . . .evil nation repents, God will relent the evil. If . . . Evil nation continues evil, I will withhold the good I intended. But herein lies the problem with Judah and the Church we will now allow ourselves to be molded by the Father. So God says – Judah – “I am fashioning calamity against you.” Rather than repent, the reply; It’s HOPELESS;  We will trust in ourselves! We will act according to our own heart [stubborn and evil]. What choice does the Potter [God] have but to crush the vessel? In that Judah could repent – the problem was the said it was “hopeless” – yet the real problem was they didn’t want to change! Depending on how people “turn” will determine blessing or discipline. “My people have forgotten Me” replaced Him. Apostasy has entrenched Judah. Even though Nature will act normal, Judah has “abnormal” behavior [13-17]. The problem with THE CHURCH today is the same problem Judah had then – refusal to obey God. Refusal to be “under the creative power of the Holy Spirit. “We’re fine just the way we are, leave us alone.” Jeremiah 19; The Broken Jar. We find  the Valley of Ben-Hinnom also called –Topheth nor Ben-Hinnom. It will be renamed  Valley of Slaughter. To understand this the background is Topheth was a location in Jerusalem in the Gehinnom where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of children to the gods Moloch and Baal by burning them alive. Jesus actually refers to this place when He talks of the Hinnom Valley. Many verses describe the “garbage” that went on in the valley of Hinnom – 2 Kings 23:10; Matt 5:20-22; Mark 9:42-45; unquenchable fire, and the worm never dies. Gehenna or Hinnom are plays on words. Hinnom was a garbage heap, where the fire would smolder and the stench smoke would reek with the putrid smell of burning carcasses. A very graphic picture of the future for Judah, but also for those going to be cast into Gehenna. Yet unrepentant they remain. Jeremiah 21; God is a gracious and merciful God. There is always a caveat in thee passages of punishment where God gives hope of another outcome. Today in our land and nation we find that so much devastation and evil at work. Yet, the Church and the world remain Unrepentant. We must heed the warnings. If there is judgment coming, then what will you do? Will you seek God? Or will you resist God?Was it too late? Verse 10?Was repentance and staving off judgment possible? Is it too late for the Church in America?

 

 

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Ruined and Totally Worthless

Jeremiah 13-17;in this selection of chapters, Jeremiah is told to use a waistband as an illustration. The Linen waistband; practice is to soak the belt in water to make it supple and flexible. Like any new belt very stiff and uncomfortable. The point is God was “uncomfortable for Israel to “Wear”. They sought after other gods’ that were more easy to serve [actually] or serve their desires. This is still thought of today, that God is too restrictive. To get rid of the “stiffness” bury in the river, subject it to the elements. This is what God did to Judah, He allowed the unbelieving nations and idolatry to have its effect on them.  Just like the belt being ruined, so had Judah. Because of Judah’s Pride and stiffnecked they would be ruined. The indictment of God against Judah/Israel, The people just won’t listen. The proverb – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall! Judah had become worthless, being saturated with all the “filth” of the pagan nations.In the waistband – we are to cling to the LORD, listen to His counsel and trust Him. God is going to subject Judah to the treatments of the  nations like a bunch of “drunks.

Pity and compassion days are over for Judah, Yahweh has had enough. Warning after warning – but still the people will not listen. Even though captivity is coming, the kings and queens will be humble and taken as prisoners, the people won’t listen. So ask the question like most of us – WHY have these things happened? Verse 22. God gives them His answer. –Because of the magnitude of your iniquity!  In a very vivid illustration of becoming naked, God is going to remove their skirt, Their heels will be exposed, which means that God is going to reveal what is under the surface. It would be different if Judah would change, but they won’t is fact God gives some examples of things that cannot change. –Verse 23 – somethings you can’t change. Judah takes great pleasure in their sins, adulteries, prostitution, and abominations.

Jeremiah 14, Judah likes it Agricultural gods in Baalism which is dominated with a procreation mentality. So for the land to be in famine state exposes the Baalism lack of power to produce. It is God of Heaven that cause the earth to produce, something Judah and Israel forgot. The coming conditions of the Land [a Lion King scenario]; –No rain/water,  Animals languish in starvation,They recognize the “why” they still won’t repent. Rather they plead for God to act, so as not to bring shame on Himself. Confess apostates, confess sin, iniquities exposed – but Judah will not repent.  It’s like they are telling God fix this, but we are going to continue to do. God’s answer [vs. 10-12] – why? –They love to wander, –Won’t keep their feet in check, –Rejected by the Lord, –He calls them to account. Then the Lord says – “Do Not pray for this people – Jeremiah, I will not listen. They may fast, They may offer burnt offerings, They may offer grain offerings, I will not going to accept them, –I will make an end of them by Sword, Famine and Pestilence.”

Jeremiah tries to defend the people vs. 13, it because of the , Conflicting message from false prophets, but they Speaking for God, but not His message.

Jeremiah 15- It’s too late Baby now! Yahweh says “even  if Moses and Samuel interceded, No! By the time that Judah came to acknowledge God; it was way too late! But this isn’t any new news – the warning had been given 100’s of years earlier. Foretold Deut. 28:63-68; I told you before this would happen! No there are Four future possibilities for the people.

–Death by disease; –War, –Starvation, or –Captivity. Either way Bodies would be eaten and rot in the streets.

Jeremiah 16, When they ask WHY [ as if they didn’t know, but then again maybe Judah was clueless, surely not innocent or ignorant of God’s desires.

–What is our sin?

–What is our iniquity?

–Why has the Lord declared this calamity? Answer: verse 11; Your fathers idolatry and sin, Your idolatry and sin, you have done more than they have; your stubborn evil heart, don’t listen, You have forsaken Me! Forsaken My Law, You want to serve other gods – wish granted!!

The Hope of restoration

–God restored from Egypt when they were slaves

–God blessed them in the Wilderness of disobedience

–God rose up a great nation in David

–God delivered them to Babylon/Assyria

–God returned them to the Promised Land, Ezra

–God delivered them again to Roman armies; rejection of Jesus the Savior

–God restored them 1948, after 6 million slaughtered

–God will judge them again at End of the Age

–Final Restoration and deliverance

In all that has been said, God still gives the Hope of being Restored. Even when it is over, God still has compassion for restoration.

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Reading Jeremiah 8-12; in 2 Chronicles 6 & 7 we find the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the New Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon prays for the dedication of the Temple, that it would be a place where God would be found. However, the problem wasn’t with God but with the people of Israel. Solomon knew how the people would be in the lust for things of this earth. He knew or better yet prophesied that Israel would wander and drift into idolatry and pagan worship. He foresaw that they would become enslaved again in sin, and as a result the blessing of God would turn into a disciplining situation. The drift of God’s people from Him has been an ongoing problem since the time of the first sin and Adam. Instead of listening and loving the LORD God, mankind seeks his own pleasures. Man doesn’t want to be without, or prevented from satisfying his sensual desires. Even today I still hear people complain that God is too strict, and that He [God] doesn’t want people to have any fun. In chapter 7, Look at what they are doing! 17-19. They had been breaking the Covenant with God since coming out of Egypt. Time after time, God wanted to destroy the stiff-necked people, but for intercessory prayer, He relented. Problems: –Won’t Listen, –Won’t obey –Stubbornness/evil heart –Backward not forward! Disobedient Prophets/People. What was God to do? Let it go? People count on grace/mercy of God. God chose Jeremiah, the task preach Jeremiah! But they won’t listen -27. Preach it anyway.

Jeremiah begins to outline all the abominations of Judah. A place called Topheth – Hinnom valley;  is a place of child sacrifices. The Lower South wall, they just threw dead bodies into a refuse pit where the fire and worm did not die. In Chapter 8- Grave robbers.Worse insult to desecrate the graves of the dead. But the condition of Judah has so degraded spiritually, even though such turmoil and anguish, they would rather continue in their sin Rather than repent – they would rather die instead. This has a Revelation connotation during the Bowls. How bad is it? Apostasy of Judah – every depth/level

Verse 14 – what are we waiting for? Rather than repent, they look for a way of escape [humm sounds like wanting the rapture]. IN America, we hope in the return of Jesus to end the troubles of our time. Do we not see that it is the hand of God on His people, trying to bring them to repentance and back to Him? We are Blinded by our own pride and religious regimes! All that Judah had hoped would happen, that God would bail them out didn’t happen. Summer is past and we are not Saved! In the season of hope, or so they thought, that God would deliver – no time for salvation was gone, time for turning to God over – Do Not Pray for these people for I will not listen! The presumption that God would do something to deliver them from Babylon, yet they missed that it was God behind the scenes working

Jeremiah is called the “Weeping Prophet” – he Lamented – weeping or crying over the people.

Condition of the people:

  • Adulterers
  • -Liars
  • -Treacherous dealings
  • –Do not know God
  • –Evil to Evil
  • –Life in utter chaos
  • –Watch Out for everyone – trust no one!

The LORD

–Exercises Justice

–Exercises Loving kindness

–Holy and righteous judgments

-“Psalm 51” – broken and contrite heart God will not despise! No fleshly animal sacrifices. But a heart humbled.–Uncircumcised, circumcised – not the foreskin, but of the heart. Pharisees boasted of being Abraham’s children and circumcised – outward looks don’t count

Jeremiah 10; Judgment is coming; the True God is going to act on Judah and the nations.Shepherds have become Stupid – 3X used times. I often have heard that a preacher is not to use the word “stupid” – but here we have it used over and over. A quick definition – doing something when the person knows better, ignoring all caution and warning.

Desolation of Judah – Lion King after the Hyenas destroyed it. Judah will be Corrected with Justice God, not with wrath. We must always remember that Israel is God’s own people. He will not tolerate sin in His children. He will Discipline us, but not destroy them for they have led us astray.It will be a thorough cleansing of Judah, they will be refined by fire, and they will not forget it! Judgment coming on gentile and Judah. Jeremiah 12:10 – bad shepherds; Ezk. 32:1-10. Desolation 3X = barren, isolated, empty. All The efforts of the wicked will result in emptiness.Unproductive crops and lives. Uprooted– the damage of pulling something up by its roots. Remove the plant from its protective and sustaining source

BUT – Merciful God – “But” verse 15, I will have compassion on them, bring them back into the land.“If” – they must listen! They must learn My ways 2 Chronicles 7:14, MY People, My Ways; if they don’t I will uproot them permanently

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Hey Judah Guess What is Coming?

Jeremiah 1 –The Northern Kingdom has fallen, 722 BC. The Lost 10 Tribes are gone because of the apostasy of idolatry with Baal. In Judah King Hezekiah is gone; He lived 15 yrs. too long. In that time both Manasseh and Amon are born. They are two of the most despicable king’s history. Born out of Amon in this horrific situation is a boy King called Josiah. His reforms have been going on for a # of years. These are Good Times, Good Things are happening – Enter the Call of Jeremiah to preach. Who is He?  A 21 years Old, Son of a High Priest. Jeremiah Ministers/preaches for 40 years he serves under 5 Judah Kings; beginning with Josiah; Jehoiakim … Josiah … Zedekiah—Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are omitted for they reigned only three months each. King Josiah was 22/Jeremiah was 21 when the two began to reign and preach. There was a great Time of reform and revival under Josiah. Jeremiah will serve until fifth month of Exile [2 Kgs. 25:4-10]. He is used as God’s Prophetic voice of Judgment against Judah by Babylon. Jeremiah is Called and Commissioned to preach God’s judgment Message to Judah [last remaining of tribes]. He is called while still in mother’s womb. His message is a message of Captivity. Now Remember that Josiah had brought many reforms and Times were relatively good – or were they? Jeremiah is told “Preach My Message; oh and they will fight you.”  The years he preaches are Appx. 630 BC to 582 BC. The name Jeremiah = May Jehovah exalt; Exalted of the Lord. His Lips anointed like Isaiah in Chapter 6.

The Message of Judgment and captivity is because Judah has burned incense to idols, worshipped the images of their own making; instead of God – man was the solution [he could fix himself] – we call this humanism today.

An illustration of The Almond Tree; The first tree to bloom in Spring; The “Watcher” to see the  return of the sun and warm weather, a message of Hope for a Fresh word of God, “I am watching over My Word to perform it”.  The Boiling Pot, Facing North- Enemy [Arm of God] coming from the North. God still uses Gentile Kings to discipline His people. Smoke, Steam, coming up blowing south. There is A Confederation of Nations to destroy Jerusalem. Judgment was coming; God would use the Gentile powers to bring His judgment on the last remaining remnant of His called people God is long-suffering and merciful; but there comes a time when “enough is enough”

In Chapter 2 – Apostasy of Judah, God brings His case/indictments against Judah. Like a trial lawyer God brings evidence for the judgment that is coming. God remembers the history of His redemptive acts towards Israel from deliverance from Egypt to them. It is ironic that God delivered Judah from Egypt [sin] and they are returning to Egypt 2:18/36 – It is like God was saying – “so you want to be imprisoned by sin? I’ll send you back to bondage.” God’s love is spurned like Hosea’s for Gomer; she played the harlot; Israel and Judah also Harlotry. Israel had Strange lovers [sexual], they had become Prostitute [for money/goods]; intentionally trying To seek out and court for personal advantages. Indictment starts with the “Fathers” who had Walked away from God. They Lost their way – but did not call on the LORD; they Forgot the benefits/security and provisions. They had been Given a fruitful land, took from Gentiles. But they defiled the land [connotation is polluted by means of immorality]. Next the “Priests” – servants of God for the people. Instead of proclaiming God’s message, the prophesied Baal. At the end of Joshua we find that people are still faithful to God, but a “generation that knew not God, or the works of God rose up.” Reiteration of how long does it take for a family, community or country to fall? But God isn’t willing to just let them go He will “contend” for them. [oppose them, compete for them] Two errors They have forsaken Me, the Living Waters. They have dug cisterns that hold no water; Cistern water is stagnant sitting water, foul-tasting. How can someone desire cistern water over living Spring water that is purified through moving through rock etc.

The Leaders were at fault; Prophets, priest, rulers and teachers. People are not innocent – they chose to follow. Just like the times of the Judges there is Sin in rebellion; followed by Discipline of God, the Cry out for deliverance through repentance, then a Judge or deliverer sent to restore the people and then Blessing returned. Cycle continued over and over. Historically, God shows how that Israel [Northern Kingdom] fell and Judah [Southern Kingdom] will likewise fall. While there may have been periods of fidelity – infidelity was always in the DNA. Early on in a marriage things are bliss, but after time “wandering” often occurs, this isn’t the best I can do – Israel always looking for a “Better god”

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