2 Kings 17:15 They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.
This one part of this one verse speaks volumes, not only about the 10 Northern tribes but about the human condition in general. The Bible warns us in many places about the dangers of association. We end up being like those we choose to associate with. This passage is talking about spiritual association, which we often don’t even think about. The devil would have us believe that all religions are the same, but even logically speaking that’s not true. In the past year a famous British atheist has angered his atheist friends by coming out and declaring that the only real answer to the horrors of militant Islam is genuine Christianity. He claims to believe in no god, but even he can see that it makes a huge difference what God you choose to follow. Actually this doesn’t apply just to formal religion. Hedonists are exposed for the emptiness of their pursuit of pleasure, and financially greedy people bring spiritual ruin on themselves. (1 Timothy 6:10) It all comes back to the reality that our choices have consequences. Free will is genuine, even though God sees the end from the beginning and so knows what choices we are going to make. Some people insist that we are not free, since if we weren’t free we would bear no responsibility for our actions, but that is a lie of the devil to persuade us to make wrong choices. God has given us the Bible to help us understand what the right choices are, and to understand the consequences of wrong choices, as this passage does. The logical choice is obviously to follow God’s Word!
I am an illustration of the truth that simply having the Bible, and even knowing the Bible, doesn’t guarantee that we follow the Bible. I have been steeped in the Bible since before my birth, and first read through it by the age of 10. However, at various times in my life I have chosen to do things that a genuinely objective observer would recognize immediately were in violation of the Bible. By God’s grace He has enabled me to repent and return to Him, but I can attest from personal experience to the truth of this passage. As I strive to follow Christ (which is the opposite of what this passage is talking about) I also seek to draw others with me in following Him. I don’t want to be worthless, and I don’t want those around me to be worthless either. So many people have a poor self-image, but if they follow the One, who alone is worth more than everything else put together, they understand the value He has assigned to them.
Father, I am faced with this constantly. Help me indeed draw others to follow Christ as I follow Him myself, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!