God had blessed Israel and made her prosperous. But as she became wealthier, she cared less and less for the God to whom she owed everything. And God had known that this would happen (Deuteronomy 32:15,16). The people relied on their king for leadership; but without God in charge, their rulers had no authority to rule, and their government was hopelessly corrupt. Because they dealt deceitfully with God, they were also deceitful with each other. Society cannot function without a basis of trust; in its absence, even justice ceases to be a good and civilising force, and becomes just another means by which people fight and exploit one another.
What was at the root of all Israel’s problems? They had chosen to serve an idol rather than the living God – an idol that would be unable to save even itself from capture, let alone its devotees. It would be carried off by the Assyrians, along with Israel’s hapless king, while its sanctuary became an overgrown ruin – a fitting monument to its worthlessness. With everything that she had trusted in taken from her, Israel’s fate was one of almost unimaginable horror and despair – the same destiny that awaits all those who reject God (Revelation 6:16-18).