Lesson 12 | Sabbath, 18 September 2021
“‘So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria,’‘ because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded,…’ 2 Kings 17:23; 18:12.
“In the terrible judgments brought upon the ten tribes the Lord had a wise and merciful purpose. That which He could no longer do through them in the land of their fathers He would seek to accomplish by scattering them among the heathen…. Among them were some who had remained true to God, and others who had humbled themselves before Him. Through these, ‘the sons of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10), He would bring multitudes in the Assyrian realm to a knowledge of the attributes of His character and the beneficence of His law.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 292.
Messengers and warnings
1. Whom did the Lord send continually to His people to give them messages of exhortation and correction despite their wrong course? What was the result of His servants’ messages and ministry to the leaders and people?
2 Kings 17:13, 14 . Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye 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. 14Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.
“The prophets continued to protest against these evils and to plead for rightdoing. ‘Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy,’ Hosea urged; ‘break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.’‘ Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.’‘ O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity:… say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.’ Hosea 10:12; 12:6; 14:1, 2….
“With the severest reproofs, God sought to arouse the impenitent nation to a realization of its imminent danger of utter destruction. Through Hosea and Amos, He sent the ten tribes message after message, urging full and complete repentance, and threatening disaster as the result of continued transgression. ‘Ye have plowed wickedness,’ declared Hosea, ‘ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled…. In a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.’ Hosea 10:13-15.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 282, 279,280.
2. Where did Ephraim, the ten tribes of Israel making up the northern kingdom, go for solutions or relief? What did the Lord’s servant prophesy concerning Samaria, the capital of Israel, the kingdom, and its population?
Hosea 8:9; 12:1. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers….12:1Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.
Isaiah 8:4, last part, 7 …The spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria….7Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.
“Some of the leaders in Israel felt keenly their loss of prestige and wished that this might be regained. But instead of turning away from those practices which had brought weakness to the kingdom, they continued in iniquity, flattering themselves that when occasion arose, they would attain to the political power they desired by allying themselves with the heathen. ‘When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian.’‘ Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.’‘ They do make a covenant with the Assyrians.’ Hosea 5:13; 7:11; Hosea 12:1.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 280.
The monarchy in Israel and Judah
3. What happened with the last king of Israel when he refused to consider all of the previous remedies and warnings? Besides King Hoshea’s demise, what else reached its end?
2 Kings 17:5, 6, 18, 23. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes…. 18Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only…. 23Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
“‘They set up kings without my consent; .made princes, and I knew it not.’ Hosea 8:4. Every principle of justice was set aside; those who should have stood before the nations of earth as the depositaries of divine grace, ‘dealt treacherously against the Lord’ and with one another. Hosea 5:7.
“With the severest reproofs, God sought to arouse the impenitent nation to a realization of its imminent danger of utter destruction. Through Hosea and Amos He sent the ten tribes message after message, urging full and complete repentance, and threatening disaster as the result of continued transgression. ‘Ye have plowed wickedness,’ declared Hosea, ‘ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled…. In a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.’ Hosea 10:13-15.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 279,280.
4. Although Judah, the kingdom in the south, escaped the captivity, what eventually happened to them?
2 Kings 17:19. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
2 Chronicles 36:11-14. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. 13And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel. 14Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
“Foremost among those who were rapidly leading the nation to ruin was Zedekiah their king. Forsaking utterly the counsels of the Lord as given through the prophets, forgetting the debt of gratitude he owed Nebuchadnezzar, violating his solemn oath of allegiance taken in the name of the Lord God of Israel, Judah’s king rebelled against the prophets, against his benefactor, and against his God. In the vanity of his own wisdom he turned for help to the ancient enemy of Israel’s prosperity, ‘sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.’…
To the ‘profane wicked prince’ had come the day of final reckoning. ‘Remove the diadem,’ the Lord decreed, ‘and take off the crown.’ Not until Christ Himself should set up His kingdom was Judah again to be permitted to have a king. ‘I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it,’ was the divine edict concerning the throne of the house of David; ‘and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.’ Ezekiel 21:25-27.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 450,451.
The result–the Babylonian invasion
5. When they refused to hear and even mocked the messages of the prophets, what terrible enemy attacked Jerusalem?
2 Chronicles 36:15-17. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 16But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 17Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
“The enemy swept down like a resistless avalanche and devastated the city. The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. Zedekiah was taken prisoner, and his sons were slain before his eyes. The king was led away from Jerusalem a captive, his eyes were put out, and after arriving in Babylon he perished miserably. The beautiful temple that for more than four centuries had crowned the summit of Mount Zion was not spared by the Chaldeans. ‘They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.’ 2 Chronicles 36:19. ” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 458, 459.
6. What happened to the city and the beautiful temple? What did many of those who survived the massacres of those painful days have to endure?
2 Chronicles 36:18-20. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all those he brought to Babylon.19And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia.
“At the time of the final overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, many had escaped the horrors of the long siege, only to perish by the sword. Of those who still remained, some, notably the chief of the priests and officers and the princes of the realm, were taken to Babylon and there executed as traitors. Others were carried captive, to live in servitude to Nebuchadnezzar and to his sons ‘until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah.’ Verses 20, 21.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 458, 459.
A better way was possible
7. Do you think it would have been possible for God’s people to avoid those national disasters? What lessons can we learn from what happened to them? What did God say about how to prevent such horrible things and receive His blessings?
Deuteronomy 5:29. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
Isaiah 48:18. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.
Psalm 119:165. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
“The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to lighten the burden. So with the yoke of Christ. When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life’s burden light. He who walks in the way of God’s commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the heart is at rest. When Moses prayed, ‘Shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee,’ the Lord answered him, ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ And through the prophets the message was given, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest to your souls.’ Exodus 33:13, 14; Jeremiah 6:16. And He says, ‘O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’ Isaiah 48:18.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 330, 331.
For additional study
“God knows that if we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we would fall into Satan’s lines and become possessors of His attributes. Therefore the law of God confines us to the will of One who is high and noble and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service…. A sullen submission to the will of the Father will develop the character of a rebel. The service is looked upon by such a one in the light of drudgery. It is not rendered cheerfully and in the love of God. It is a mere mechanical performance…. Such service brings no peace or quietude to the soul.
“God presents to the world two classes. For the one–the wicked–He says, ‘There is no peace.’ Isaiah 48:22. Of the other, ‘Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.’ Psalm 119:165….”–That I May Know Him, p. 120.