1 Kings 15:25-16:34 & 2 Chronicles 17
In our chronological journey through the Bible we took nearly 7 weeks to read and discuss the life and writings of David. But in today’s reading in 1st Kings (15:25-16:34) we will cover 6 kings of the Northern Kingdom Israel and in 2 Chronicles (17) we will be introduced to a king in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Hold on to your hat – here we go!
THE NORTHERN KINGDOM – ISRAEL (10 tribes) – will have 9 different family dynasties reign (with 19 kings) over a period of 208 years
Jeroboam – rebelled against Solomon’s son Rehoboam – reigned 22 years – evil – set up golden calves for worship so the people wouldn’t return to the temple in Jerusalem – succeeded by his son….
Nadab – 2 years – evil – overthrown by…
Baasha – 24 years – evil – Jehu prophesied Baasha’s family would be ruined – succeeded by his son….
Elah – 2 years – evil – drunk – overthrown by…
Zimri – 7 DAYS – (next time you think you’ve had a tough week – remember Zimri) – long enough to kill all of Baasha/Elah’s family, as prophesied – but he too was evil and when their army (and Omri, its commander) heard Zimri killed Elah and made himself king they marched against the palace – rather than be captured, Zimri burned the palace down around him as he was overthrown by…
Omri – 12 years – evil – moved capital city to Samaria – “sinned more than all those before him” (I Kings 16:25)
Ahab – 22 years – evil – “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.” (1 Kings 16:30)
Well, that’s where our reading will leave the nation of Israel today – so far that is 4 of the 9 dynasties – not bad for a quick history lesson. Do you see a pattern developing for the Northern Kingdom of Israel? Not a very pretty one I am afraid. Spoiler alert – NONE of their 19 kings are going to be deemed good and upright by God. You would think with all the rebellions and overthrowing of the old nasty king, someone better would come along at some point. But, no. Can you imagine living in a country with one after another dirty, rotten, scoundrel, violent, unfaithful leaders? I wonder if the people thought back to Samuel’s words about the wisdom of being led by God rather than a man? They already had God, why did they think they needed a king? Over and over again we read, “(He) did evil in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit.” (1 Kings 15: 34). Even when it is no longer Jeroboam’s family line, the sin continues to snowball. Unfaithfulness breeds unfaithfulness. Tomorrow we get to read a ray of hope and inspiration as we watch a man of faith witnessing in the midst of this evil and tumultuous world. Never give up -even when evil is on the rise!
The rest of 1st & 2nd Kings will focus on the rest of the evil kings of Israel (from Ahab on) as well as the prophets who spoke for God and worked to turn the hearts of the people to God.
Meanwhile, 2nd Chronicles will continue their retelling of the house of David – what has become the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Quite in contrast to their northern neighbors, Judah will remain under the leadership of ONE family – the line of King David! And, while there will be a fair number of kings judged to be evil – we will also meet some who seek God and strive to lead their country to do what is right as well. Here’s the start of our chart for Judah
SOUTHERN KINGDOM – JUDAH – (2 tribes) – from the split to the exile 20 kings in the line of David
Rehoboam – 17 years – evil – David’s grandson – but heart not set on seeking God
Abijah – 3 years – gave a great speech about God as the leader – but didn’t continue to live it out – evil
Asa – 41 years – called good and upright – commanded Judah to seek the LORD – but then at the end of his life put his trust (& treasuries) in men rather than turning to God in his troubles
Jehoshaphat – 25 years – “the LORD was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel” (2 Chronicles 17:3)
We will get to know Jehoshaphat better in our coming readings, but today I am most impressed with his deep desire to seek God rather than doing whatever is politically/religiously “correct” at the time (following the neighbors). And, he knew it wasn’t enough for him to do it alone – his desire was to see his whole country following the LORD. I see great wisdom in his act of sending out godly teachers throughout Judah with the Book of the Law.
You may be feeling surrounded by evil and bad examples. Don’t give up. The world needs your light and example and godly teaching just as much as it did back in the day of Jehoshaphat. How will you shine and spread the word of God today?
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+15%3A25-16%3A34%2C+2+Chronicles+17&version=NIV
Tomorrow we get to read several events from the life of Elijah as we cover 1 Kings 17-19 in our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan