“They rejected His statutes and His covenant He had made with their ancestors and the decrees He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate.” (2 Kings 17:15)
It’s not like God didn’t give Israel and opportunity to turn around, to change their ways. He gave them opportunity after opportunity, grace upon grace. His patience with Israel reached a predictable conclusion, however. The year was 722 BC, and, ironically, His tool of judgment against Israel was the ungodly Assyrians who starved Samaria into submission over 3-years. The Israelites were deported and resettled, and other peoples, with their gods, were moved and resettled in Samaria and other Israelite cities.
How did this happen? How did the “salt” lose its saltiness?
It began with the very first cultural compromise, which made the next one easier, and the one after that easier until eventually the cultural and religious influences around them polluted their belief system into unrecognizability.
Salt cannot actually lose its saltiness, so to render salt useless and impotent, you simply add dirt. Enough dirt, and the salt becomes unrecognizable. Salt has its intended influences only when it remains pure. Only then can it preserve and flavor and add value.
Lord, Teach us how to live in the world, so that we may reach people, but not of the world, to the extent that we lose our witness. Amen.