Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria. The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. When they first lived there, they did not fear the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. The settlers said to the king of Assyria, “The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them that are killing them because the people don’t know the requirements of the god of the land.”
Then the king of Assyria issued a command: “Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the requirements of the god of the land.” So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear the Lord.
2 Kings 17:24-28
The purpose of God’s covenant with Abraham was that all nations would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants. This purpose continued even though the Kingdom of Israel had now ended.
The king of Assyria resettled migrants from other nations in the land that Israel had occupied. As they encountered lions in this new homeland, these migrants feared that their lack of knowledge of the God of this land had made them vulnerable to the attacks of lions. Therefore, they asked the king for help in understanding the ways of Yahweh. The king’s response was to send one of the exiled priests back to the land to teach the new inhabitants about the God of this land. Though these nations still held onto the idols of their native land, they began to understand the ways of Yahweh through the teaching of this priest. Even if these new residents practiced a synchronized religion, God’s name continued to be known in the land and the area was still prepared for the eventual arrival of the Messiah, Jesus.
We need to remember that God’s purposes go on. Even when the system we have grown accustomed to changes, God’s mission continues. He is at work behind the scenes making His name and His ways known even as cultural realities change.
- How do you see God’s hand still at work even when your circumstance change?