The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob comprised the chosen people of God. The two separate kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, were essentially all cousins – several times removed, but still cousins.
These are the people whose destruction is documented in our focus verses. God is speaking His intention to remove them from His presence. Oy vey!
If God will separate His presence from His chosen people simply because of their faithlessness and bad behavior, how much more will He remove Himself from those of us who are merely “grafted in” when we are faithless and idolatrous?
Even the godly character of King Josiah was not enough to quench the smoldering anger of the Lord against Judah. This is a case of the sins of the father being visited on the sons and the grandsons for generations. Manasseh was the king who inflamed the Lord’s anger. Josiah was his grandson. The story is not yet completed.
We sit in a nation that has been favored by the Lord for two hundred years and more. But we persist in doing what is evil in the sight of God. We put things ahead of God in idolatry. We comfort ourselves with euphemisms like “freedom of choice” and “alternate lifestyle” when what we are naming is sin. Calling stink weed a rose will not make it smell any sweeter.
Even were we to have a Josiah in our midst, the anger of the Lord is surely smoldering against us as we speak. Our knees should be calloused in prayer and our voices should be heard in this wilderness of sin, calling people to repentance and to the Lord.
Stay Your anger a little longer. Give us the opportunity to become more faithful to You, more vocal in Your causes, more winning in our ways, so that we may bring our nation back to the fold of Your love.