St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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The Bible: History of the Northern Kingdom of Israel

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Isaiah was a prophet before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. He prophesied the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC. Jeremiah came over 100 years later and served the southern kingdom of Judah. Remember that after King Solomon, his son was foolish and followed after worldly things which caused division of the kingdom that God had established through King David. This set up a constant fighting of the northern kingdom of Israel against the southern kingdom of Judah and vice versa. The kingdom was now divided into at least two.

They were like brothers, always fighting. Sometimes they would help each other out, but usually they were fighting. Any parents know what that is like. It puts new meaning to the words of the Bible, “How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one! Like fine oil on the head, running down upon the beard, Upon the beard of Aaron, upon the collar of his robe. Like dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion. There the LORD has decreed a blessing, life for evermore!” (Psalm 133;1-3). This arguing causes a separation in God’s people.

The first kingdom to fall is the northern kingdom of Israel. For any Jew or Christian, this makes sense. It was the southern kingdom of Judah that held Jerusalem and therefore the Temple of the Lord. Only in Jerusalem could one make sacrifices to God to atone for sins and be right with God. The Israelites were separated from the Temple and it was harder to make the trip to Jerusalem. So they set up their own “Jerusalems” in the northern kingdom of Israel in the towns of Bethel and Dan. But the King of Israel, Jeroboam, had golden calves installed at each place (2 Kings 10:29). The northern kingdom would eventually intermarry with other non-Jewish people and follow their practices to become the Samaritan people. Until the coming of Jesus, the separation of God’s people weakens the people of the northern kingdom. Many of them lose their faith entirely.

You can see this reality and understand better the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John 4:4-26. You can tell the woman really wants to worship what is true and good, but feels totally rejected. But Jesus brings the Good News to her. No longer will they need Jerusalem to participate in true worship. No longer do they have to be slaves to what is evil or to a worship that she knows does not commune with the one true God. That is why she would get so excited and run to call everybody else to discover Jesus and the hope of the northern kingdom to finally be back in a right relationship with God. They, after so many centuries of estrangement, could have the God of Israel as their God, and they could be His people (Psalm 100). The words of this psalm must have been cherished in her heart after meeting Jesus.

Some of us may feel the same as she did before she met Jesus. If so, are you open to the message of the Good News? Are you willing to step out in faith and follow Him?

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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