Warning: The ending may not be what you expect.
While God does indeed represent love, the Old Testament reminds us that he also requires obedience. For example, when the Israelites sinned by worshipping other gods and rejecting the holy covenant, he allowed Assyria’s King Shalmaneser to conquer them. This occurred in 722 B.C. after a three-year siege (2 Kings 17).
With the captured Israelites exiled, the King of Assyria then relocated foreigners to settle in the defeated towns of Samaria. Disobedience has consequences.
The story’s next part is surprising. “When they (the foreigners put in Judah’s empty cities) first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people,” (2 Kings 17:25 NIV).
Imagine being given a beautiful city to occupy freely, only to be attacked by fierce animals. God made his presence known. Here’s the report officials sent to the king: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires” (2 Kings 17:26 NIV).
In a plot twist only God can orchestrate, the King of Assyria decides to send a captive Israelite priest back to his homeland to teach the foreigners how to worship the Lord. Talk about unexpected evangelism.
As leaders in our homes, communities, and workplaces, it is crucial we model loyalty to God. Otherwise, he may remove blessings and protection. He desires hearts fully yielded to him.
We would do well not to confuse God’s patience with passivity.
* More information about biblical lion symbolism can be found in Clarence L. Haynes Jr.’s “4 Powerful Reasons to Understand and Know Jesus as the Lion of Judah” at https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/powerful-reasons-to-know-god-as-the-lion-of-judah.html
Lion image credit: Pixabay and Angela User ID 4464111