The study of 2 Kings 17, 18 and 19.
Fearing and obeying God leads to abundant life and God’s protection. God commanded us 365 times to not be afraid. In other scriptures, like the ones in the passages in this study, He tells of his commandments to fear God alone, not fear other Gods and to not fear threatening people. Fearing other gods or people opens the door to a spirit of disobedience, as we will act out of fear rather than seeking God on what His instructions are. Disobedience leads to distance between us and God. Distance from the Father leads to bondage by our enemy, and destruction of our children and the loss of our inheritance, But…. When we become good spiritual leaders, and we tear down idols and the places in our lives where they held power over us in our habits and old rituals, we began to have prosperity of soul, deliverance from bondage and come into maturity to gain the full spiritual inheritance.
Fearing God is just the beginning of wisdom. Obeying God brings us closer to Him, brings us to mature sonship and with mature sonship comes full inheritance.
We see in the following Bible passages how a disobedient people, Israel, and Judah, who did not fear God brought bondage and disaster upon themselves and the loss of their inheritance, but when they got a God fearing, obedient leader who began to do what is right by tearing down idols and places of idolatry and to trust and obey God, then deliverance from bondage and blessings came upon them and the promise of God was fulfilled.
2 Kings 17:
In verses 1-6 we see that Hoshea the king of Judah became king over Israel while they were under bondage and were paying tribute to the King of Assyria, and when they stopped paying tribute the king of Assyria took Samaria, which was the capital of Israel at the time, and took them captive and moved them from their homeland.
Verses 7-12 explains why…
17:7.” For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they feared other Gods…”
17:12. “for they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “you shall not do this thing.”
The children of Israel had built shrines and pillars upon every high hill “from watchtower to fortified city” and had not destroyed their shrines on the high hills nor the gods made with hands from the places they had previously been held in captivity, including Egypt, Assyria, and other countries.
God had sent His prophets to warn the people.
17:13. “Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.”
Verses 14 through 17 tells of the images they carved to become idols and that they went after the nations around Israel that the Lord had commanded them not to be like them. They made false gods and worshipped natural things, did witchcraft, fortune telling, tortured their children and prostituted themselves, all in the worship of their false gods:
17:16-17. “So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God. Molded for themselves two golden calves, made a wooden image, worshipped the host of heaven, and served Baal.
And caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.”
When you follow others who are disobedient, the same fate comes upon you and you lose your inheritance.
Verse 18 shows God distancing Himself from Israel and He removed them from his sight and only the tribe of Judah was left. Then Judah began to follow the statutes of Israel which they had made and were not of God, and they also were punished by God and were driven from the land.
17:19-20 “Then Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them and “delivered them into the hand of the plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight.”
Those who are given the inheritance, even though they have never heard of God or His ways, are held by God to the same standard and judgement, even in their ignorance.
In verses 24 and 25 it shows how Israel’s inheritance is given away by their captors to other nationalities who brought their own gods from their countries into Israel and set them up in Samaria, and those people brought onto themselves the wrath of God.
17:25. “at first did not fear the Lord; therefore, the Lord sent lions into their cities which killed some of them.”
Then the people who had been moved into Samaria told the king of Assyria that the people who now lived in Samaria did not know the rituals of the God of this land and therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land.
The king of Assyria sent a priest who was in captivity to go back to Samaria to teach them the fear of the Lord. Which he did but did not teach them to keep God’s commandments. Later their descendants no longer fear the Lord.
Learning to fear the Lord, but not obeying His commands, leads to our descendants not fearing God and they continue the ungodly rituals of their forefathers.
17:28. “Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the Lord.”
17:29. “However every nation continued to make gods of its own and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they dwelt.”
17:33 ”They feared the Lord yet served their own gods-according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.
17:34 to this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the Lord had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel,
17:35 with whom the Lord had made a covenant and charged them, saying: “You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them.
17:36 “but the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship, and to Him you shall offer sacrifice.
17:37 and the statutes, the ordinances the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, “you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods.
17:38 and the covenant that I have made with you, “you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods.
17: 39 But the Lord your God you shall fear” and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”
So those who were taught to fear the Lord by the priest but were not taught to observe God’s statutes, continued to serve their own Gods. Then eventually their children no longer feared God and in ongoing generations continue to serve their carved images.
17:40 “So these nations feared the Lord, yet served their carved images; also, their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.”
Chapter 17 set up a story, a reason why the next two chapters are so powerful. As the contrast is seen between what happens to those who do not fear God or keep His statutes and those who are obedient to God’s commandments and put their trust in Him. It shows us that when we are obedient and perseverant in trusting God, our enemies are destroyed, our captivity is ended, and our inheritance is secured.
In Chapter 18 we learn how an obedient leader led his people back to God and to His protection.
2 Kings 18:
At age 25 Hezekiah becomes king of Judah which was in the third year of the reign of Hoshea is king of Israel. Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of God. He removed the high places, destroyed the idols, the pillars, and shrines and even the serpent that Moses had made in the wilderness as the people had began to burn incense to it.
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, God of Israel, like no other king of Judah before or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not depart from following Him and kept His commandments.
18:7 “The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.”
This scripture shows if Hezekiah did not fear the king of Assyria, he was in health and he prospered.
Giving into your enemy, never satisfies them and they will attack you.
In Hezekiah’s ninth year of reign, the king of Assyria came against Israel at Samaria and took them captive. Israel had rejected the ordinances of God and made up their own rules and rituals to serve their false gods.
Then in his fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, the same Assyrian king, Sennacherib came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them captive. If you are wondering why Judah had been attacked, when their king had done such mighty work to destroy the idolatry, just look back to chapter 17, verse 19. It says that Judah had begun to not walk in the commandments of God, but rather to follow the statutes that Israel had made.
Then Hezekiah apologized to Sennacherib for not paying tribute and gave him the silver in the house of the Lord and in the king’s treasuries and he stripped the gold off the doors of the house of the Lord, that he, Hezekiah had put there previously. This shows that Hezekiah began to fear his enemy more than the one true and living God who had brought his people out of Egypt.
Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army against Jerusalem and began to call for king Hezekiah to come out and speak with them. His scribe, recorder and the man over his household went to meet them. The Rabshakeh begins to mock them for trusting in God and begins to bribe the men of the city with horses and saying if they give them gifts, they will let them live and stay in their homes. He then says not to be deceived if Hezekiah says that God will deliver them from the king of Assyria.
When the enemy demands an answer, not answering them sets them up for defeat.
The people did not answer the taunts as king Hezekiah had given a command to not answer them.
Then the king’s servants, the scribe, the recorder, and the man over his household tore their clothes and came and told the king the words of the Rabshakeh.
2 Kings Chapter 19:
Seeking God’s instruction when under pressure sets the atmosphere for a miracle.
When king Hezekiah heard what the men had said he tore his clothes, covered himself in sackcloth and went to the house of God. Then he sent the scribe, the man over his household and the elders of the priests covered in sackcloth to Isaiah the prophet.
19:3 “and they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.”
19:6-7. Isaiah told them to tell Hezekiah, “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king have blasphemed Me. surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword of his own land.”
When you hear the Word of the Lord, it does not always come to pass right away, and sometimes the enemy will show his hand and persecute you even more. Then with perseverance in prayer, acknowledging His power and greatness breaks open the door for God’s word to be accomplished.
In verses 8 through 19 shows God did answer the first part of Isaiah’s prophesy as the Rabshakeh returned to his land and found King Sennecherib warring against the King of Ethiopia due to a rumor, but then king Sennecherib sent more messengers with a blasphemous and threatening letter to Hezekiah, who then went to the house of the Lord.
19:15. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, you are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, or Lord and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see and hear the words of Sennacherib which he has sent to reproach the living God….”
Then Isaiah, the prophet sent a message to Hezekiah, saying that God had answered him because he had prayed to Him against Sennacherib king of Assyria.
In verses 21 through 34 in the form of poetry, God gives his answer to Hezekiah, telling king Sennacherib of his folly of hatred and rage against God and His people. He trusted in his own might to do what God had given him power to do. Then in verses 29 through 31 God gives the house of Judah the promise of blessing and inheritance!
19:30. “And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
19:31. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this.”
God will answer, maybe not when you think, maybe not right away, but trust in Him, He will perform His Word.
19:35. And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when the people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses-all dead.”
Fear God and no other. Even when you are threatened. Not only fear God but seek after Him to love Him and to do His will. When you are in trouble and under pressure, seek His instruction and do not be afraid of any threatening of the enemy. Then if the threat continues, take it all to God in prayer. Tell Him of His greatness and power. Then listen for the answer. When you hear the Word of God, keep believing for it to come to pass, even when you do not see a change right away, because, at the appointed time, God brings to pass what He has promised.
Psalm 37:8, 9 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath: do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.