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At the same time that the Assyrian King sent OUT the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel from their land, the king of Assyria also sent IN a bunch of people from far away places to live on God’s land.
Now do you think any of these people from far away knew anything about Yahweh God? No, they didn’t. These people had many selfish idols and false-god-ways of living. So when they came into the land that used to belong to God’s Children and started living any old way they wanted, God didn’t like it! Uh-uh! These people needed to know Who they were dealing with here in this land!
So God sent lions into their cities, and the lions started attacking those people who were trying to make their home in God’s Land — the land He’d promised to Abraham.
Eventually someone realized what was going on and told the Assyrian king, “The people from far away places that you sent to that land of Israel don’t know how to obey the God of that land, so they’re getting attacked by lions.”
So the Assyrian king had what he thought was a “bright idea” to try to fix things. He commanded, “Just find a priest who used to live in that land. Send him back there and have him teach the people what the God of that land wants them to do.”
So that’s what they did. A “priest” was sent back who taught them some of the things he knew about God and offering sacrifices and stuff.
Now remember that hundreds of years earlier, Jeroboam had let anyone who wanted to be a “priest” say they were one. And Jeroboam had wickedly added things to God’s rules, like worshipping those 2 golden cows. So there’s no telling who this “priest” was. And no telling what he taught these people. There’s a good chance that he was not God’s priest at all and that his ideas of God’s ways were terribly “mixed up” with idol worship.
These new people in the land were from many different far away nations. They had come to this new land with all sorts of yucky or selfish or Godless ways they had learned from their relatives. This was probably the first time some of them had even heard of Yahweh.
Now, if they had really cared to find out who God is and all He really wanted, they would have discovered a wonderful opportunity to have a relationship with the Creator of the world! Their yucky and Godless and selfish ways could have just fallen away, away, away if they would have taken this opportunity to know Yahweh.
And at first the people seemed willing to learn about Yahweh and make sacrifices to Him (or maybe it was more that they didn’t want to keep getting attacked by those lions!).
But after awhile, their idols and love for other things didn’t fall away, away, away. Instead they started adding more and more idols and love for other things. They bowed down to anything and everything that they thought might give them a chance of having what their selfishness wanted. They didn’t want or love God alone.
They thought they could just worship or sacrifice to Yahweh a little here and a little there, but still worship and serve their own little false gods, too.
These people left room in their hearts for other stuff, which made their hearts divided, which is not okay with God.
To them, God was just one more way to try to have a happier life or to try to get something they wanted out of life.
They’d make some offerings and say, “Look, I’m worshipping Yahweh! (Because that way lions won’t eat me, so I’ll do it.)”
Then they’d take a few steps down the road and bow down to something else and say, “I worship you, god of whatever. (Because I want more money and if I bow down to this I might get more, so I’ll do it.)”
Then they’d take a few more steps down the road and look up at the hills and declare their love to something else, like the sun, saying, “I worship you, sun. (Because I like nice weather and I want better weather, so I’ll do it.)”
They were even willing to hurt their children to try to get a better, happier, more comfortable life.
Yahweh God was just one more thing in their try-to-get-what-I-want world.
If someone, sometime, somewhere told them they could get something they wanted if they would only bow down to some thing of this earth, then they’d do it. Their “gods” were a means to an end — just a way to try to get stuff they wanted or to try to get out of a jam.
Nowadays, people do the same things. It’s no different at all. One minute people are trying to do just enough good things to “stay out of trouble,” and the next minute they’re running fast after their own idols and feel-good loves. People “bow down” to having fun or their phones or iPads or food or toys or vacations or movies or “not wanting to be hurt” or just about anything as they try to get what they want from life. They think that if they had just one more good thing or one less bad thing, then they’d be happy.
But that’s really not how life works. Apart from God, chasing thing after thing after thing to try to be happy is just a wild goose chase. You’re never going to catch that wild goose. And you’re never going to “catch” true happiness apart from God. Anyone who wants to depend on a fake god to make them happy is also going to have to depend on that fake god to save their soul and fix their brokenness. Good luck with that! It’s NOT going to happen.
But True Life with Yahweh God is meant to be different. One of the names He is called is Jehovah-Jireh which means “God is my provider.” He alone wants to provide ALL we need. And He will provide ALL we need if we put our trust in Him. He gives us real, lasting Happiness, AND He can Save us and fix our brokenness.
And one more thing about these people we were just talking about. Much later in this story they’re going to be talked about again. They’ll be known as Samaritans by then. And some of them will actually get to meet God — in person! And they’ll get another opportunity to let Him be everything to them. And some of them will.
Do you want to learn another song about that? Okay!
You are my everything You are my all You are my everything Both great and small You gave Your life for me You’ll make everything new You are my everything And I love You, too