After King Solomon died in 931 B. C. his kingdom (the wealthiest kingdom on Earth) began to quickly fall apart. The mismanagement of royal affairs by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, made civil war almost a foregone conclusion.
Within a few short years Jeroboam I, one of Solomon’s generals, rallied ten of the tribes of Israel to his side. The upstart set up an alternate capital for his government in the city of Samaria. Then he commissioned the creation of two golden idols in the cities of Dan and Bethel which he commanded the people of Israel to worship as their god.
Interestingly God did not respond immediately with full-blown judgement upon this situation. He sent prophets to warn Jeroboam and the kings which came after him.
God gave the people of the Northern Kingdom more than a century to repent before setting judgment on its course. This is significant. It shows that God will use judgement only as a last resort. His desire is always repentance, mercy, and redemption. Too often when we read the Bible we look at the harshness of the prophets. Separate from the vast amount of time God actually gave the people to change their ways, Jehovah looks to us like a God of violence and anger. In actuality as the prophets of the divided kingdom came to power God had been warning the nations of Israel and Judah to repent for over four generations of time.
Amos points this out in Chapter 4 of his writings:
“Listen to me, you “fat cows” of Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and who are always asking your husbands for another drink!The Sovereign LORD has sworn this by his holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook!…”I brought hunger to every city and famine to every town. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD.”I kept the rain from falling when you needed it the most, ruining all your crops. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell on one field, while another field withered away.
People staggered from one town to another for a drink of water, but there was never enough. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD.
“I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD.
“I sent plagues against you like the plagues I sent against Egypt long ago. I killed your young men in war and slaughtered all your horses. The stench of death filled the air! But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD.
“I destroyed some of your cities, as I destroyed [fn] Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like half-burned sticks snatched from a fire. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD
“Therefore, I will bring upon you all these further disasters I have announced. Prepare to meet your God as he comes in judgment, you people of Israel!” Amos 4:1-2, 6-12 NLT
You see God did not start off destroying the nation. He started with smaller chastisements designed to turn Israel back to the One True God: He kept rain from certain places during certain years to bring regional famines but he didn’t take all the resource of the nation. He left enough so they could survive but not prosper. This should have been enough to turn them if they had remembered the promises and warnings from Deuteronomy.
God sent strength sapping wars, not enough to decimate their armies or their resources but enough to cause national pain.
When even this did not work God destroyed some of their cities absolutely leveling them to the ground like He did with Sodom and Gomorrah. Meanwhile the people of the capital city, Samaria, continued to live as if life was still a bowl of cherries. They kept living like their economy wasn’t crashing. They stayed ignorant of the costs of war.
Does any of this sound familiar?
It is logical to say that if our society mirrors the society of the divided kingdom then God will mirror the actions he took against the divided kingdom in our live.
We have seen the regional judgments, the rains, the droughts, the mildew, the wars which tax but don’t destroy, we have even seen the leveling of some of our cities through natural disaster. What if Amos 6:12 now speaks directly to us?
“Those of you who survived were like half-burned sticks snatched from a fire. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the LORD
“Therefore, I will bring upon you all these further disasters I have announced. Prepare to meet your God as he comes in judgment, you people of America!”
I don’t write to dishearten but to enlighten. The time for the church to awaken has come. We are facing national judgment. You can “pooh-pooh” it all you want but the parallels (and there are more as you will see) are undeniable.
The body of Christ must rise to do during this hour what only the body of Christ can do for our nation. WE MUST PRAY!
“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or I might command locusts to devour your crops, or I might send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” II Chron. 7:13-14 NLT
More tomorrow. But I would love to hear your thoughts on what has already been said!