So tonight I’m sitting here with perhaps the biggest ‘what-if’ I’ve wondered so far in this read through: What if these other nations had actually turned toward God?
Israel utterly fails, so God allows them to be carted off by Assyria. Then Assyria, in a classic move, resettles other peoples into the area. These other peoples worship other gods, and this, of course, is displeasing to God, so he sends some lions to get their attention. IT WORKS!
In their understanding of ‘the powers that be,’ it is perfectly reasonable to assume the local god is feeling neglected and needs to be appeased. So they send for one of the priests of the land to be returned and teach them what this local god desires. They, predictably, decide to continue their previous customs while just sort of adding this Israeli practice to the mix.
But what if they had listened? What if they had recognized that the power demonstrated by God was significantly different than the power demonstrated by whatever it was they were used to worshiping? What if they had become faithful servants of the one true God?
After all, Israel was meant to be a missionary nation all along. Israel was supposed to be welcoming outsiders into a relationship with God all along. What would have happened when Israel responded to the prophets admonition and was allowed to return? Would they have had to share the land? Would these other people have welcomed them home as the prodigal?
I’m really curious. Talk about an alternate history…