Always Return To God

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

24 And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the Lord. Therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the Lord. ~ 2 Kings 17:1-6, 24-41

The people of Samaria were completely removed from their land and were replaced with foreigners from all over the conquered world. These people didn’t know the LORD, so they continued worshipping their own gods. So, the LORD brought down judgment on them.

When the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, saw the judgment of God, he acknowledged that it was because the people he placed in Samaria didn’t know how to serve the LORD. So, what did he do? He had an Israelite priest, who was taken out of the land, sent to Bethel to teach them the way they should worship the LORD. They did what the priest taught them, but they mixed it with their own gods and idols; nevertheless, God relented. He showed them grace even though they didn’t follow only Him but mixed righteousness with unrighteousness. He showed them grace in a graceless time.

If God showed grace to foreigners dwelling in His land who didn’t even fully follow Him, how much more grace will He show to those who are striving to follow Him today? Yes, God expects perfection from us, but when we strive for perfection and miss that mark, He has mercy on us and gives us grace. Don’t allow your past to keep you from your future. We all make mistakes. We all give in to temptation. We all have low moments, but we have to get back up. Even if we fall, we can’t remain on the ground. We have to keep going. God shows mercy and gives grace to anyone who truly seeks Him with all that they have. Don’t ever be ashamed to come to God. He’s waiting with His arms open wide.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Always Return To God.

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