Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
2 Kings 17:5
2 Kings 17:6-23
2 Kings 17:24-41
Questions & Observations
Q. (Isaiah 28:16): What foundation stone is Isaiah talking about?
A. Isaiah is referring to Himself here. He uses the same reference in Isaiah 8, noting that He is either the Cornerstone of our lives, or the Rock over which we fall. I suspect what he is talking about is the contrasting vision of the Temple of the true God (and built of stone) with the false gods that the people had been worshipping in Samaria. Against this standard or plumb line (v. 17), the Israelites do not measure up to God’s standard of justice.
Q. (Isaiah 28:22): This speech makes me think of what I would call a crazy person on a street corner. Any idea if prophets were thought of as crazy or did everyone know they were holy?
A. Oh I am sure people thought they were crazy, especially when the spoke truth to power as we say. But they were called to declare God’s word to an unfaithful people, and they did so, even in ways that sound crazy to us. Some are even more out there than Isaiah. Wait until you meet Ezekiel!
Q. (2 Kings 18:10-12): Is this God’s prophecy of the fall of Israel starting?
A. No, it is a summary of what happened. The deed is done, and in our reckoning, Israel has been destroyed.
Q. (2 Kings 17:17): I caution asking this, but … God sacrificed His son so how is this different?
A. I see no harm in the question, but there were very different things at work. The people, including some of the kings, who sacrificed children to Molech, who required a live offering, the child, to be fully consumed by fire, were doing so for the express purpose of manipulating this god to favor their cause. It’s the same thing we saw in 2 Kings 3:27, when the king of Moab sacrificed his son in order to stop Israel’s troops from conquering him. Children, as we have seen and discussed, are a blessing of God, and therefore are not to be sacrificed in order for personal gain. We are disgusted by such a practice today, but in this era children were generally seen as having no value at all, so sacrificing them made them “useful” to the parent, in a way that was surely revolting to God.
But what God did in the sacrifice of Christ was something very different. God did not offer up Christ for the purpose of personal gain — God needs nothing — but rather so that salvation might be opened up to the entire world. The sacrifices made to Molech were ultimately selfish and about power and control via manipulation. The sacrifice of God’s son was the ultimate reversal of this exploitation: in this moment of sacrifice —and don’t forget, Jesus went willingly to His death — Jesus made it possible for all of us to be children of God. So in my mind, these two examples of child sacrifice couldn’t be more different!