THOU SHALT KEEP THE SABBATH DAY HOLY (Part Two)
The following brief history of the split Kingdoms of Israel and Judah may be helpful in understanding the importance of sabbath day worship for the children of Israel, and the decision we must make about whether or not it applies to us.
The Children of Israel split into two kingdoms after the death of King Solomon, the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Israel was the first to fall into idolatry and wickedness, and the people were conquered and taken away captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. They have not been found since, hence the “lost Ten Tribes of Israel.”
By about 600 B.C., the Kingdom of Judah had also turned away from God. Under King Zedekiah, and others before him, the people had become idolatrous, indulged in fertility rites to heathen gods, sacrificed their own children by burning them alive before Baal and Moloch, and the poor and needy were abused and neglected by all, including the judges and the rich. At that time the City of Jerusalem was referred to as a “great” and indestructible city, though many today think of it as a dusty little backwater. In truth over 1,500,000 souls would perish there during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.
God sent many, many prophets to call the people to repentance. Not only did the people refuse their messages, they also stoned and killed any prophets they could. Jeremiah was the chief prophet from that period. He was told by God that He, God, had known Jeremiah before He had formed him in the belly and that he was called as a prophet to the nations, plural, even though he left the land of Judah only once when he was forced to go to Egypt with some Jewish escapees and was killed there. Were his words to the nations also meant for us?
Jeremiah never relented from his calling even though he was beaten, threatened continually, and was at one time imprisoned for a long time in a hole in the ground where people could come to spit and urinate on him, throw garbage and mock and stone him, until the King heard the words Jeremiah spoke even from the pit. Zedekiah felt threatened by the situation and released the prophet.
It is important to know that everything with God is a two-sided coin, a commandment comes from Him with a promise of blessings IF the people are obedient, or with a cursing if they break the commandment.
The time came when God sent Jeremiah to both King Zedekiah and all the people of Jerusalem with a message that informed every one of the choice they would have to make, and what the consequences of that choice would be.
What Believers now need to decide for our land is if that same message is valid for us. When the angels of God come to sift our cities, will the words of Jeremiah stand against our nation, too?
Consider the words of the prophets well.
Part Three coming up.