At this point, we’ll take a brief break from Isaiah and stick up our heads to see where we are in the book of II Kings.
In short, it was the beginning of the end for the northern kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam II was now dead, and with his death, ended Israel’s prosperity. They went through 5 kings over the next 32-33 years or so. Considering that one of the kings managed to reign for 10 years, and a second for 20, you can see the massive instability they went through as a nation. Of the remaining three kings, one reigned six months, the next one month, and after ten years under the next king, the fourth king lasted only 2 years.
This period in Israel’s history was marked by three things.
First, it was marked by disobedience. The account of each reign started basically the same way for four of the five kings, and probably the only reason nothing is said about the fifth is that his reign lasted only one month. But for each king, it’s noted that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and that they continued in the sins of Jeroboam I, that is, the worship of the golden calves. In doing so, the people worshiped as they saw fit, and as a result, they rejected God’s law, doing what was right in their own eyes.
This resulted in the second thing that marked the northern kingdom: blood. Four of the five kings were assassinated during this time. The only king that succeeded his father was assassinated within two years, and the length of their “dynasty” was a mere twelve years.
There was no respect for the king (although admittedly there was little to respect), and anarchy was the result.
The third thing that marked the northern kingdom was defeat. Assyria started to attack Israel, first exacting tribute from them, and then ultimately capturing Israelite towns and deporting them to Assyria.
What can we learn from this?
When we turn our backs on God and start living our own way, it leads to chaos and defeat in our lives. You only have to look at the divorce rate, the poverty rate, and the instances of child abuse, crime, and violence in our country to see that. Because we have turned our backs on God and instead live according to what we think is right, our society is going to hell. Literally.
And the result is many defeated, broken people. People whose lives are torn apart by sin, and are captive to the kingdom of darkness.
This was what God told Isaiah would happen. That the people would close their eyes and ears to him until their lives were absolutely devastated. (Isaiah 6:11-12)
How about you? Are you living in disobedience to God, and find yourself with a life that’s broken? It doesn’t have to be that way. If you turn to him, you will find forgiveness and healing for your life. It is not God’s desire that anyone perish, but that they should find life. But it starts with one simple step. Turning to God and saying, “I’m done with doing things my way. Forgive me for my sins. I want to start living your way. Be Lord of my life.”
And as Paul wrote,
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)