by Wayne Blank
When the Israelites entered The Promised Land under Joshua, they were undefeatable (see The Fall Of Jericho). You could say that they were a "superpower" of their day. The Lord (see The Logos and Rock Of Ages) was with them, because they were with The Lord. Over time however they became corrupt in the structure of their society, and in their obedience to God. The Lord then left them to the mercy of the many enemies that surrounded them, which of course was no mercy at all. Without The Lord, they were brutally conquered.
After the death of King Solomon, Israel (see Children of Jacob and The Tribes Of Israel) split into 2 kingdoms - "Israel" with their capital up in Samaria, and "Judah" with their capital at Jerusalem (see Jews At War With Israel).
The first to go was the northern kingdom of Israel whose fall to the Assyrians was completed by 721 BC. The Assyrian capital was Nineveh (see Ancient Empires - Assyria). They were defeated and transported away into permanent exile, becoming known to Bible History as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel." God allowed them to be conquered because they turned their back on Him, and ignored all of the warnings that He sent to them through His prophets, including Elijah and Elisha.
The southern kingdom of Judah lasted a little longer, until 586 BC, before they too had been gradually conquered and taken into captivity. This time it was the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. Their capital was Babylon (see map). As with Israel, Judah became deeply involved in paganism, idolatry (see Baal), and Witchcraft - all blatant violations of The Ten Commandments. They ignored all of the warnings that God sent to them through His prophets (see Prophecy), including Jeremiah.
There are some who see unsettling parallels between God's people of ancient times and those of today. The societies of many of the most powerful nations on earth are in many ways identical to ancient Israel and Judah just before their fall. Consider a prophecy from Timothy:
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
Vast wealth and great military power will not protect those who turn from God. What He made, He can break. Destruction need not always come from foreign invaders - it can just as easily be accomplished by collapse and pandemonium from within. The good news of it all however is that it is never too late to turn to God. He will always forgive and protect those who truly repent.