In the twelfth year of Judah’s King Ahaz, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.
King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria caught Hoshea in a conspiracy: He had sent envoys to So king of Egypt and had not paid tribute to the king of Assyria as in previous years. Therefore the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison. The king of Assyria invaded the whole land, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.
2 Kings 17:1-5
If anyone questions the patience of God, they just need to look at the history of the kings of the 10 northern tribes of Israel. It was 265 years from the split of the twelve tribes into two nations until the northern tribes fell to Assyria and were scattered throughout the empire. Over those years there were multiple attempts to woo Israel back to its devotion to Yahweh. Many prophets had been called to speak truth to the kings of Israel, but few had listened and even those who showed an amount of respect for the prophets didn’t make significant changes in the direction of the nation. It continued to walk away from Yahweh.
By 2 Kings 15, the situation had gotten very bad. 4 of the final 5 kings (including Hoshea) ascended to the throne by means of assassinating their predecessor. The conspiracies continued under Hoshea as he sought to curry the favor of the King of Egypt in protecting Israel against the King of Assyria, thus settling Israel’s fate and setting the stage for the eventual conquest of the land by Assyria.
When we see evil continuing and it appears to be going unpunished, we need to remember that God is showing patience toward those He desires to see be a part of His Kingdom. As Peter wrote in his second letter, “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
- How have you seen God’s patience at work in your life?