The reading from 2 Kings today was hard to read. 2 Kings 17 tells the story of what feels like a “final straw” where King Hoshea is deposed by the Assyrians and the residents of the Kingdom of Israel are taken into exile. Verses 7-21 recount the ways that the people had turned away from God. Its just heartbreaking to read.
Moving into chapter 18, however, we hear the story of Hezekiah, king of Judah and the first few verses tell of the many ways he was faithful to the God who led his people out of slavery and into the promised land. In contrast to the devastation and exile of Israel, Judah is spoken of as a place of fruitfulness and blessing. The contrasts are so incredibly stark.
I read these early this morning while I was out for a hike/run at a local park. I read the passage as I began my time there and came to a small overlook area where I have stopped many times before. Today, the grass was green and verdant and full of growth and life. As I stopped there, I remembered when I was there just a few months ago in that exact same spot and seeing the area after they had done a controlled burn. The two pictures are the ones with this post – taken from pretty much the same spot. Feels like these stories from 2 Kings – one kingdom that is essentially burned to the ground while the other is healthy and growing. Got me thinking of the places in my own life where I have not turned things over to Christ’s rule that seem desolate and dead – in contrast to the areas where I feel life is growing and fruitful. I am grateful that the latter seems much more present than the former, but I want to always keep attentive to the call to keep Christ as the center of my life – not out of fear, but out of a desire to have a full life that is vital and verdant.