In Chapter 14, we witnessed the kingdom of Israel being torn into two – Northern and Southern Kingdoms. While it’s easy to look at this from a lower story perspective of greed, jealousy and power, God had a bigger plan. The people of Israel were a poor reflection of the One True God, and were dabbling in other religions and abusing people with their new found power. God could not stand for this. His purpose for the nation of Israel was to showcase his character to the world around them. They were sending a wrong message. In order to right this wrong, God splits the kingdom to purify his message regarding his character. He doesn’t need all 12 tribes to fulfill his promises to Abraham and Jacob and David. The promise was that the Messiah would come through the line of David, from the tribe of Judah, of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Jesus fulfilled this promise.
In Chapter 15, we were introduced to 4 of the 9 prophets (Elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea) God used to speak to the 19 kings over 208 years, which almost as many years as the life of our country today. Elijah and Elisha were not the traditional prophetic voices. They performed extraordinary feats of strength to demonstrate the power of the One True God. Amos and Hosea fulfilled the more traditional role of messengers, bringing the light of truth into the darkness of disobedience.
When looking at the Lower Story, we see a nation wanting to worship god of their choosing, rather than be devoted to God. We know this story. We live this story. We may not have statues built, but we are our statues. Just look at our money, our time and our energy. Those things create a trail to the gods we worship – professions, possessions or progeny. Our intentions are not evil, but they are no less idolatry than the Israelites pursuit of the god, Baal.
In the Upper Story, we see that God loves us no matter what, and despite our rebellion, he wants nothing more than to call us back to him so he can live with us. He pursues you. He pursues me. He goes to incredible lengths to reclaim those of us who have turned against him, either willfully or accidentally. Know that God chases after us, just as he did for 208 years with the Israelites.
As he pursues us, he uses people to speak into our lives. It’s our choice to listen and obey, or to pass and just ignore the messages. Sometimes his messengers reveal new paths for us to take. Other times, they may reveal disobedience in our lives that needs to be addressed. Whatever the message, our responsibility is to listen and obey.
Is there something God is trying to communicate to you? Is he using someone else – a friend, a family member, etc. – to reinforce his message to you? What will you do with it?