Israel Taken Captive – II Kings 17

It finally happened! Throughout the past month, we have been reviewing the message of the prophets, who kept telling Israel that punishment was coming if they didn’t repent from their evil ways. No matter what the prophets said or did, the people kept right on sinning (17:15-17). So, in the story today, God finally sends the punishment of which He had been warning them (17:1-6). 

The Assyrians invaded and conquered the Israelites, and then, they “scrambled them up” with many other countries they had also conquered (17:18-23). This was how Assyria typically handled nations they defeated. They figured that people, who were displaced and living among others who didn’t even speak their language, would never be able to mount a resistance, so the Israelites were re-settled throughout the Eastern world, and people from the East were brought in settle in Israel (17:24). The net result of all this scrambling was that a hybrid religion developed; people said they were worshipping the Lord, but they also worshipped myriad other gods (17:33-34). Our God doesn’t tolerate this kind of worship because it’s not true worship at all! True worship demands our WHOLE hearts because anything else is a lie. All glory belongs to God because every other god is a false pretender.

What about us? Are we worshipping God with our whole hearts? Is anything other than God stealing our affections? Are we asking God to share His glory with anything else? “Search my heart and know me, God. See if there is any offensive way in me.”

Game – Word Scramble – put some scrambled words on the board and let kids try to unscramble the words. For younger group, choose really easy words – cat, snap, tree, the, bell, etc. (For older kids, see provided word scramble kids can work on as a group or independently). 

  • Remind kids that when the Israelites were defeated, they were scrambled. They were forced to march hundreds of miles from their home and were left in places where they could barely speak the language. Over time, most forgot about the Lord God. How do you think they felt as they marched? As they were left in places where they were aliens?
  • In their place, Assyria brought in other conquered people, who worshipped other gods. Over time, these foreigners mixed their religion with “a worship of the Lord.” Read 17:33. Do you think it’s possible to truly worship the Lord AND worship another god? True worship is telling God what He is worth. Only He is worth all our praise and honor. We cannot share our adoration with anything else because NOTHING else comes close to God.
  • In the busy-ness of life, we can “get scrambled” in the way we think. What things try to steal our attention, our affection, our honor, our praise? TV, video games, sports, friends, music, etc.
  • How can we keep our proper attention on God? First, give our hearts to Jesus. Make sure you belong to Him; then, ask Him to re-new and re-focus our desires. That’s why we come to church – to encourage each other to set our minds and hearts on God alone.

Activity – Scripture Cards – cut apart cards and put them on a ring. These are the verses we use as our call to worship in “big church.” Read a different card each day to turn your heart and mind towards God.

Additional questions:

What did you learn about God/Jesus?

  • God is slow to anger.
  • But, God is a judge, who will judge our sins.
  • God is a jealous God, who wants our affection and honor.
  • God disciplines His children because He loves them.

What did you learn about people?

  • People are stubborn and sinful.
  • People can forget about God, but it goes badly for them when they do.
  • People must constantly remind themselves about God and His goodness.

What did you learn about yourself?

  • I want God to change my hard, disobedient heart to become soft and obedient.
  • I want to be with people who point me to God.
  • I hope I never forget about God, so I must read God’s Word, pray and spend time with the people of God.