“They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worshiped the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.” 2 Kings 17:33-34
After a hostile take over, a deportation, and another warning from God, the Israelites still did not listen. The continued in their ways. The word that stuck out though that was used in this translation, was that the word persisted. Persist in the dictionary means “continue stead fast or firmly in some state.” Another definition says it means “to last or endure tenaciously.” Here the Israelites instead of turning back to god, they continued stead fast in their ways and endured it with tenacity. Here their persistence worked against them. If they applied the same energy of persistence to pursue the Lord with all of their hearts, I bet we would be reading a different reading then we do now.
Often I can read a passage like this and say, “It’s easy, Israel should have just pursued the Lord.” Yeah right, easy in saying hard in practice. Like wise I too in many ways have a “persistence” problem. I often have this habit that when I really want something, I will do almost everything, wait as long as I can, and just hold out till I get it. Take for example, I really liked this girl in college, man I pursued her like no tomorrow, and after about a year and a half of just “being her friend” we hooked up. Persistence worked good in my favor. But after about two years into we both realized that it wasn’t really going to work, instead of breaking it off, I persisted saying to myself “we can work this out.” Two years later after we ruined our relationship, broke some rules, and well you know the rest of the story. Persistence was bad. Sometimes God puts a wall in front of me and I hit the wall hard. Often he says “Hey Mark, go this way.” My response often is, “wait Lord I can break this wall.” Oh how stupid I can be. Now there is nothing wrong with persistence, as long as the person guiding me isn’t myself. If I can adhere to the Lord, and listen to his guidance and warnings, and use my “persistence” problem to move in His direction, then I think I’ll be alright.
Lord, your children Israel can teach us many lessons. I see that human nature hasn’t really changed Thank you for this lesson. Help me to learn from it and get ready for what is next.