That title is a mouthful. This is a big topic which will not be easy to share. As introduction, I want to provide a brief testimonial account of how I came to this subject and the process I went through with it.
First of all, I was not seeking out this topic. I had not made a plan to study the Northern Kingdom of Israel or its demise. At the same time, the history of Israel had always been a topic of interest for me over the course of multiple decades. I did not make a full study of the subject, but I had learned a lot in a piecemeal fashion.
In the very late summer and early fall of 2013, I began to wake up very early in the mornings. This happens to me from time to time. I do not have insomnia. I sleep very well, but there have been various times when I start waking up very early for a period of time. In most cases, my attention is drawn to prayer or fellowship with God. In this case, it was different. I began waking early and I sensed that it was from the Lord, but I did not know why. I began to pray and ask why He was waking me early. I began to understand that there was something He wanted me to study. I began to listen closely to understand what I was to study. I was led to study the specific subject of “the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel”. It seemed like an unusual topic (and it was/is) for God to draw my attention towards. I have learned to test things to make sure it is something that is really from the Lord, but once I realize that it is Him I stop questioning the purpose. I follow His leading and in time I come to understand.
So, as I awoke early day after day, I began my study of the Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. I felt to take a particular approach to this study.
- Focus in on God’s witnesses (i.e. the OT prophets) who were speaking specifically to the Northern Kingdom and what they were saying
- Focus in on the “Word Pictures” that God used in speaking to the Northern Kingdom of Israel before it fell.
In summary, I wanted to analyze ALL the Old Testament scripture that was specifically directed at the Northern Kingdom of Israel by God’s witnesses where He was using the principle of two or three witnesses. With this scripture I wanted to see all of the kinds of word pictures (metaphors, similes, types and foreshadowings).
This turned out to be an intense study which took months. Each day, I awoke early after limited sleep and continued to study. I had limited time each day because I had to stop and go to work. Here were my steps…
- Identify every prophet who spoke to the Northern Kingdom leading up to the fall of the North.
- Identify every passage directed to the Northern Kingdom from these prophets.
- Review the history of the Northern Kingdom and the progression of events culminating in its total demise.
- Analyze and catalogue each passage for word pictures and non-pictoral language directed at the Northern Kingdom.
- Using the catalog developed through my analysis draw out the topics which had been addressed by more than one witness (i.e. more than one prophet).
In all honesty, I did not know where this was going to lead. This was not the only time that the Lord had led me to study something that took some effort, but this was the most unusual topic and one of the most involved subjects.
By the time I got through my fifth step mentioned above, something pretty amazing began to emerge. It was clear and important enough for me to continue the process and try to package it for sharing with others. At first, I did not know how to package it but as I prayed about it, I realized that I needed to put it in the form of a presentation for sharing with others in a congregational (i.e. church) setting. I did not have any specific church where I could share it, but I felt to prepare for sharing it.
This led to an entire second phase of study and development of something that was presentable to others. I had to do a lot of work to make this topic presentable to others. I needed to compress the full picture of what I had come to understand through months of study into something that could be visualized and portrayed in about an hour.
From beginning to end, I believe the process of study and preparing this topic into a presentable format took about 4-6 months in total. As I neared the conclusion, I was contacted by a church in a city where I do not live and requested to come visit and share with them. They did not know what I had been studying. I hadn’t told anyone. They did not ask for a specific topic for sharing. They wanted to hear a report about some mission work I am connected to in Cuba, but they also wanted to give me the opportunity to share whatever God had given me to share with them.
So, I had an audience that God arranged for sharing this presentation. I told the pastor (and also a good friend) at the church I was attending at that time about the upcoming visit to this church and the message I had been preparing. He then invited me to share the message as well at our church. This encouraged me to focus and finish the entire presentation. In its raw form, it was about 60 slides of material which I progressively cut in half.
On this site I am converting this content into a format that is suitable for reviewing without a speaker. This means the content will expand some. To make it more digestible, I will break it into chunks (i.e. articles) and use a kind of roadmap to allow you to skim some content while delving into other portions.
For those who do not have the heart to work through all of the content, I will jump to some conclusions in the first few chunks (i.e. articles) and then delve deeper for those who are willing and interested to read on further. Before presenting the key conclusions, I must introduce some context so I cannot start with conclusions. However, there is more supporting information that be presented after the conclusions for the convenience of those readers who have less patience with a large subject like this one. 🙂