“They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them.” – 2 Kings 17:15b
Scripture reading: 2 Kings 17:6-23
God encouraged Abram to make a complete break with his past, go to the land of Canaan and be a blessing by living for the other, the nations, by promising him that He would make him into a great nation and that the nations around him would identify with him and his God. In fact, in him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. Were these two promises fulfilled in the Old Testament?
Well, the promise of becoming a great nation was fulfilled, even though Sarai was barren and Abraham himself was already 75 years old, and it took another 25 years before Isaac was born. However, Jacob had twelve sons and traveled to Egypt with a family of 70. In due time Israel entered Canaan with a few million people under the leadership of Joshua and reached its high point as a great nation during the time of David and Solomon.
But what about the promise of an international community? Did the nations bless Israel? Were they on good terms with Israel and did they identify with this nation and their God? Was this promise fulfilled in the Old Testament?
No, it was not, because Israel wanted to be just like the nations. They were idolatrous, worshipping and serving the things of this world instead of worshipping and serving God and their neighbor and living for the other by being people and places where heaven and earth meet, reflecting the glorious presence of their God and drawing others into this glorious presence.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask your heavenly Father to show you whether there is any idolatry in your life that hinders you in living for the other.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren.