Source: Pastor’s Blog
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7 And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods 8 and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. 9 And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right… 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only. (II Kings 17)
At times during the divided kingdom, it was a back and forth competition, and one might wonder which would prevail. Ultimately neither would, and both would go into exile. But clearly, the divisive Northern Kingdom of Israel led the way in sin, and into exile. Their evil was not always so obvious for all to see, but the seeds of rebellion and division ran deep. Such it is for those who leave and divide the people of God. They may at times appear more “holy”, but then again, the comparision is to man, and not to God. He really does want us all to be humble and repentant towards Him, together.