In 722 BC, the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated by Assyria and most of its inhabitants were taken into exile (2 Kings 17). The king of Assyria wanted to place his stamp on this newly conquered territory. So he imported many Assyrian residents. And of course they brought with them the worship of their various gods and goddesses. The one true God of Israel sent a marauding pride of lions as judgment for their idolatry. The king of Assyria finally relented and sent back some of the Israelite priests to reestablish the worship of the God of Israel.
But the result of all of this was a muddled mess. The people didn’t stop worshiping these pagan idols. They simply reintroduced the worship of the one true God alongside of these false gods. God confronted them again and reiterated his covenant. But the people persisted in this pattern of compromise and confusion.
We are given this chilling statement at the close of this account, “However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner…Their children did likewise, and their children’s children – as their fathers did, so they do to this day” (2 Kings 17:40-41).
I call this the inertia effect. Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Established habits are hard to break. It is easiest to keep doing what we’ve always done. We often continue in sin because we are comfortable with the status quo. Some of you have patterns of sin that have persisted for generations in your family. It might be anger or gossip or complaining or laziness or greed. Perhaps other gods have been allowed to persist alongside of the worship of the one true God – gods of sports, money, leisure, and sex. This is the watered-down heritage that you are passing on to your children.
What will you do today to escape from the inertia effect, break the cycle and establish a new trajectory – for you and your family?
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/circle-repeat-cycle-reload-redo-311551/