If God hadn’t already made it clear that He knew exactly what the Israelites would do once they entered the Promised Land, this chapter details in the starkest terms that they will turn away, follow false Gods, forsake the true God, and pay a terrible price. It is a pretty bleak picture.
If history ended with this chapter, it would be bleak indeed. Yet in the light of the gospel, this chapter reveals that just as God knew how miserably the Israelites would fail, He also knows every failure that you and I will experience. He knew, even before Christ went to the cross, all the times we would commit idolatry by prioritizing our own desires above God’s purposes, all the moments when we would allow our unbridled mouth to speak words of darkness rather than light, all the hours we would waste on our own entertainment, oblivious to the pain and suffering around us.
Despite knowing all our failures intimately, God chose us in Him before the foundations of the earth. He chose to pay the penalty for those failures and to be our God, to provide His Holy Spirit as our constant companion and guide, to make us a new creation for the glory of His Name.
He turned our bleakest moment into our greatest triumph. He’s done the same for Israel. In fact, over the last three thousand years, God has often turned Israel’s bleakest moment into triumph. Whether it is delivering them from Egypt, protecting and saving Daniel, and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednigo during the Babylonian exile, or creating a new nation of Israel out of the ashes of the holocaust, God has proven time and again that Israel remains His cherished possession.
Pray for the peace of Israel. Pray for them to recognize their Savior. Pray for His soon return.