The End of the Line

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria.
2 Kings 17:6 (NIV)

In this life, some things end. That’s the simple truth of the matter. Along this life journey I’ve come to the realization that we human beings like to feel a sense of the eternal amidst the temporal. We like things to remain fairly stable. We are lulled into a state of accepting that what has been always will be…

  • I will always live here…
  • I will always have this job…
  • We will always be together…
  • We will always be friends…
  • My parents will always stay together…
  • My children will outlive me…

And then suddenly, things end. Relationships end, jobs go away, homes are destroyed, people move away, churches split, companies are acquired, and so on, and so on, and so on.

World rocked. Equilibrium off. Heart breaking. Mind spinning.

Life changing.

In today’s chapter, we get to the end of the line for the northern Kingdom of Israel. For 190 years they had existed through a roller coaster succession of monarchs. Hoshea would be the final king. The Assyrian empire lays siege to Israel’s capital city, Samaria. It is destroyed, plundered, and the Israelites taken back to Assyria as slaves. Using the ancient playbook of conquest, the Assyrians move a melting pot of other immigrants peoples into the neighborhood to ensure that the Israelites left behind don’t unite in rebellion against the Empire. It is the end of the Kingdom of Israel.

As I read and mull over this morning’s chapter, I’m reminded of our chapter-a-day journeys through the prophets who warned that this was coming. For those who had ears to hear, the warning signs were there. Amidst the chaos, grief and questions that arise when things end, we can often look back with 20-20 hindsight and see that the signs were all there. In our desire for the eternal amidst the temporal we simply choose to ignore them.

I’m also mulling over the lessons that I’ve learned both in my journey through God’s Message and my journey through life. Things must end for us to experience new beginnings. In order for there to be resurrection, something must die. God even wove this truth into His artistic expression of creation. The seasons teach us that the new life and recurring promises of spring don’t happen with out the long death of winter. In summer Iowa has such lush green landscape with deep blue skies that it almost creates a new color all its own. But eventually we reach the end of the line. Lush green corn turns to ugly brown stalks, and the blue skies give way to the dull gray snow clouds of winter. And then it happens again, and again, and again. Old things pass away, then new things come.

For the people of Israel, this chapter of life is ended. But the story isn’t over. The prophets predicted this, as well. A new chapter has begun. Perhaps unexpected. Perhaps unwanted. Perhaps scary and unnerving. Yet that’s why we love great stories. They take us to unexpected places and new experiences we hadn’t dreamed or imagined. But we don’t get there without journeying through the end of the previous chapter(s).

3 thoughts on “The End of the Line”

  1. Excellent post! Change has never scared me. In fact, ever since I was a small child, I enjoyed moving because I could “reinvent” myself, striving to be a better me to honor God. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Lately I’ve been researching Heaven for our Ladies Bible Study and am looking forward to eternal REAL CHANGE – fascinating! Thanks for all you do for our Lord. Blessings back,

  2. I agree Tom. Great post. The irony for our weak, feeble minds is that we hang on so vigorously to the old and the new often brings opportunity, joy and fulfillment. Trust, Kevin. Trust.

  3. 40-41 But they didn’t pay any attention. They kept doing what they’d always done. As it turned out, all the time these people were putting on a front of worshiping God, they were at the same time involved with their local idols. And they’re still doing it. Like father, like son.

    At times I’m a pretty bad husband and father. I disengage, don’t listen well, get inappropriately annoyed and angry and set poor examples. Don’t worry, this isn’t just a self deprecating comment. I do some good things too and have days where I am a really good father and husband. However, it’s the former that concerns me sometimes. The whole like father, like son bit. Freaks me out. Especially in a year where my son is a senior and on the brink of leaving the nest, I question almost all my actions and behaviors and how they will impact him. This chapter had my mind spinning about God’s accountability to the people in the OT and how they willingly and knowingly went against God’s will and law. I do too sometimes. Do I put on a front worshiping God? Is my worship and dedication to God authentic or putting on a front? Am I at the same time keeping audience with my local idols? At the end of each day when I lay my head on my pillow I am reminded that my heart is what matters to God, not what someone else’s perception of my heart might be.

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