I believe we all appreciate a warning. If you happen to be speeding down the highway and get pulled over, you appreciate a police officer who says,” This time I will give you a warning.” If you happen to overlook a payment and miss the deadline, you appreciate an e-mail or a letter in the mail that gives you a warning of the missed payment, but says you can avoid penalty if you pay by a certain date. Warnings are greatly appreciated, however, a warning is only good if it is heeded. What happens if you ignore a warning? A penalty is coming. If you ignore the warning of a police office and continue to speed the next time you get pulled over will result in a ticket and a fine. If you fail to heed the warning of an overdue payment, then eventually there will be a penalty fee added to your bill. Warnings not heeded will be followed by some type of penalty.
In 2 Kings 17, we see where God’s people failed to heed God’s warning. The people had continually disobeyed God, even worshipping false gods, and God gave them a warning. 2 Kings 17:13 says…
13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”
This verse shows how gracious God is. If you read more fully what the people of Israel and Judah had done, then you wouldn’t blame God for simply destroying them. You at least wouldn’t blame God for sending punishment. Yet God’s first response was to send a warning to the people. Actually not one warning, but God sent them many warnings, as God sent multiple prophets to call the people back to him. Unfortunately, time and time again the people ignored God’s warning and continued to rebel against God. Because of their continued rebellion, eventually they suffered the full consequences for their sin. Their sin was so bad, 2 Kings 17 is actually detailing the last King of Israel and how Israel was captured by the Assyrians.
The lesson for all of us is simple, don’t take advantage of the grace of God. If God sends you a warning about how you are rebelling, listen to the warning and turn back to God. If the warning comes through reading his Word, through a faithful preacher, through a godly friend, or a convicting by the Holy Spirit, listen to the warning before it is too late. If you continue to ignore the warning don’t blame God when the consequences come. You can’t blame God because God truly is a God of grace who will give you every opportunity to turn back to Him before he will send consequences your way.