How could Old Testament people witness the power of God and still turn away?

Floyd Rogers

Second Kings tells us God’s people had many warnings not to create idols. They knew God had driven out people who opposed them. They had seen the power of God and had been warned against building shrines to pagan gods and worshiping idols but did the exact things God had forbidden them to do. How could they do that?

I believe they’re not that much different than people today. God had warned them that they would be driven out of their own land if they acted in this manner, but he didn’t tell them for how long He would allow them to backslide before doing so. He didn’t lay out some ratio by which once a certain number of His people did these things, He would act. He just told them not to do it. I think this is what makes it understandable. Doesn’t this open the door to doubt?

Someone had to be the first to make an idol, and others watching that individual noticed that nothing bad seemed to happen. Eventually other followed. The Bible says they did so; “secretly.” I’ve been told in this context secretly implies hypocritically. It’s something I think went on for quite a while because 2 Kings also tells us they rejected statutes and the covenant made with their fathers.

The young saw people doing the exact thing God forbad but did not see the bad things they heard would be the result. As a people, more and more began to doubt God would follow through with punishment. Some may have continued to talk the talk, but hypocritically they violated God’s law. Eventually, God’s people learned that they should have heeded the warnings.

Are they so much different than people today who watch on as others commit adultery, blaspheme God’s Word and do all manner of things that God forbad us to do with seemingly having no ill effects? How many of God’s people have fallen, or will fall, because they see the sin but not the downside?

What are your thoughts?

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