2 Kings 17:13-17 NLTse Again and again the LORD had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: “Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and decrees–the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.” (14) But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the LORD their God. (15) They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the LORD’s command not to imitate them. (16) They rejected all the commands of the LORD their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. (17) They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the LORD’s anger.
Here we see a brief description of God’s relationship with Israel, and Israel’s relationship with God. It looks like a marriage falling apart. God tried to fix what went wrong, but Israel had no intentions of changing.
We see that in marriages. Someone sees another person who tickles their fancy. Something sparks, and a new romance begins. They don’t stop to think, that new love is from a person who knows they are married, and shows no respect for commitments and promises given. Two people are getting together with no regard, thought, or consideration for vows, or time spent building the relationship they committed themselves to keeping new, fresh, and growing.
People like that can’t see, they are beginning a relationship based on lies, because their previous relationship and commitments turned to nothing but lies and deception. That same deception became the foundation of their new relationship. Add to that selfishness, greed, and arrogance, and what are people building their new found love on? The Bible called it adultery.
God did all He could to reopen lines of communication as He watched His people living in open adultery. If that’s not a vision of love, I don’t know what is. God stood by, waiting, hoping, and trying everything He could to reestablish the love connection He never really had with Israel as a nation. God established that love connection with a few, but God still counted the most despicable and untrustworthy people as His own. Soon the poor examples spread through Israel like leprosy. What could be done for Israel once the disease spread to major organs, including the heart?
Prophets and seers were like God’s marriage counselors. People look at prophets like announcers of doom. That’s not true. Prophets were messengers of hope and love. Prophets tried to counsel people on the simple art of learning how to return God’s love. But first they had to meet God before they fell in love with Him. How do you introduce someone you can’t see? Prophets heard God. Prophets talked with God. Prophets knew God, and loved Him. Prophets tried to reach people with what they knew about God, to make God real in the lives of millions of people. Do we see that today?
It’s sad to say, most prophets today focus on this world, what they think is going to happen, and what they see in this world. They cannot tell people about a God they never met. Prophets today are not at all like ancient prophets, who knew, directly communicated with God, and loved Him. The world has been deceived into thinking prophets only know how to look at the future of this world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This story tells us how God’s prophets dedicated their lives to leading people back to God. That’s what a prophet is supposed to do, and as with the law of the prophets, that is one of the ways we should be able to tell a real prophet from a false one. If they don’t have a relationship with God to talk about, that is because they don’t have a relationship to tell about.
God’s laws were made like a marriage covenant, vows, and rules for both parties to follow. Jesus lived a perfect life keeping all of God’s laws, because He loved His Father. Obeying was a part of Jesus the devil could not destroy. Love was a hedge, a shield of protection, a wall Jesus had up around Himself. But that wall had a door people could easily enter through. God only needed curtains around the Tabernacle court to illustrate that wall. The east end was always open. Viewing the courtyard was an introduction to God’s love. A view of the sacrifice. But not the explanation of the sacrifice. Israel never got past the courtyard. That’s why the meaning of the sacrifice was never revealed to them.
The Tabernacle tent had another curtain. Easy to pass through to see the table, and incense alter. Symbols that explain the Sacrifice. Jesus sat there waiting for Israel to come in and have dinner with Him. Israel missed the invitation. The incense was the prayers of the saints raising up to God. Jesus directed those prayers.
Angels on the next curtain represented God and His throne, as well as ministry in Heaven. Angels on the curtain showed a connection between earth and God, the Most Holy place, as well as peace, love, and security the law brings.
The curtain represented the distance between God and His people. Only priests were allowed in the Holy place, and only the high priest was allowed into the Most Holy place, once a year. Israel forgot God’s offer to make them all a kingdom of His priests. Every detail of the Tabernacle would have been opened to them. But they refused that invitation year after year, generation after generation. For a time Israel was happy letting someone else do the work, approach God, minister to God, and listen to Him. Israel had the attitude, “if God tells you anything important, let us know. Then we’ll decide if it is important or not.” What kind of relationship is that?
Israel slipped away until there was nothing left. Like a spouse spending the evening in bars looking for whatever they could get, and spending the night with whomever they wished, until they decided to move in with the other adulterer, and live their entire lives in sin. With no way to contact a spouse, what can anyone do? Wait until they die of natural causes, and watch the illegitimate children grow up in sin to continue the course? Israel sacrificed their children in more ways than sending them to a slow, cruel death in fires dedicated to demons.