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. And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger, and they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them. And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only. Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight. When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord and made them commit great sin. The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.” (2 Kings 17:6–23, ESV) 


Verse 7 tells us why Israel fell and it goes back to the Exodus and God delivering them from Egypt. God miraculously and graciously delivered them from slavery and brought them to a better land but they forgot about his goodness and grace. They became forgetful and ungrateful. God has delivered us by grace through Jesus and brought us from mere existence into Life. But how quickly we forget our first love when our eyes return again to the world. The passage is a warning against being ungrateful and resisting God's Word. There is a danger that we can give in to the influences of godless people around us or the secret sins within us. Costly faith becomes cheap religion resulting in pride and provoking God's anger.

Without realising it, we can fall into idolatry. In verse 15 the original translates as: “They worshiped emptiness and became empty.”  We have probably all heard of the game 'Trivial Pursuit'. The phrase can also be applied to our lives when our eyes focus on the mundane. Our lives become trivial and we just go through the motions of daily living. Without him we lose that zest and excitement, that challenge to rise up, to give more and gain in the process. If we put first in our lives those things without eternal value then we will become empty and without purpose. As the Word tells us about living just for the here and now: "All is a waste of time, useless and empty [without God]" (Eccl. 12:8)."

Listen to Jesus: “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)