1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18
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Today is our final chapter of 1 Kings!!! WOW!! Another book under our belt. Do you remember how 1 Kings began? David was an old man, but with God’s grace he lived long enough to anoint his (and Bathsheba’s) son King. Israel, all 12 tribes were UNIFIED. Solomon became king and we witnessed the “golden years” of Israel…great wealth, a strong leader, a respected leader, and peace reigned throughout the land.
The UNIFIED Nation of Israel came to an end, greatly because Solomon had taken on the lifestyle of his wives…building idols, and worshipping them. God became upset with Solomon and said because of his father David’s heart he would keep the Nation UNIFIED during his lifetime, but when his son became King, the Nation split between Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) and Jeroboam, a high ranking servant to Solomon. Rehoboam became King of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) with 2 of the original 12 tribes and Jeroboam became King of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) with 10 of the 12 original tribes.
At this point in our reading, we have seen Israel have several kings with Ahab as the MOST EVIL, and Judah having a few kings. Basically you may have noticed either through the reading or by looking at the two additional entries I made about the Kings of both nations (and the prophets) that if we see a king of Israel — that king is usually BAD. Whereas if we see a King of Judah….they at least stand a chance of being good. Jehoshaphat is a good king, for the most part.
In our reading today I was totally SHOCKED that Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) went to Ahab (EVIL King of Israel….married to Jezebel!!) to make a treaty with him. CAN YOU SEE MY SHOCK FACE from where ever you may be??? I was like…. DUDE… WHAT are you doing and WHY are you doing it??? Once again it just goes to show how easy it is for us to begin to depend on our on thinking rather than on God. Before you think I am being too hard on Jehoshaphat he humanness was simply showing through on that particular day. Jehoshaphat did what we all do or have done…..he went to God in the BIG things (finances, loss of jobs, direction for our lives, health, healing, etc.) However, when it came to the day to day things we begin to think we can handle the “smaller routine things.” Thinking this way can cause little things to become big ones!! God DESIRES to counsel us in EVERYthing!! He wants our prayers to be continual, fervent, honest, open with HIM. If we simply remember to remain in a constant state of prayer….driving to work, running errands, heading to church, having friends and family over, praising God for the little wonderful things…well you get the point.
But on this particular day, after three years of peace,…..Jehoshaphat made a decision to go to King Ahab and ask if he wanted to make a treaty with him!!! It almost resulted in Jehoshaphat’s death!! When Jehoshaphat knew he was in trouble, he cried out to The Lord and was saved. (Same way it works today….we call out to The Lord, believe that He died for us, is God, and rose from the dead….and he saves us.)
Ahab, although in disguise was killed. The prophesy about him losing his life and dogs licking up his blood came to pass at the end of this chapter!!! Do you remember the prophesy given for both he and Jezebel….well we just haven’t seen it come to pass yet with Jezebel!!!
As we think back did we notice how little God was worshipped, recognized or consulted in this book. Even as we end this chapter it says Jehoshaphat was a good king (he lives longer, 25 years) (the bad kings live very short lives) but he still failed to take down the ‘high places’ of worship. A worship of convenience for his people, not what God desired or required.
So do you spend time daily with God? Do you thank Him, praise HIM, worship HIM, sing to HIM, read HIS Word, listen to HIS Word, meditate on HIS Word, tithe to HIM, make gifts and offerings to HIM?? You don’t have to spend all day with HIM to do these things…you can take a minute here…a minute there…mediate on one scripture for an entire week and see what HE has to say to you…see what wonderful things HE begins to show you and share with you.
Sharing HIS love,
Kings of Israel
In the period proceeding kings in Israel, the Nation, the 12 tribes had NO HUMAN King. GOD WAS THEIR KING!!
Waaaaayyyyyy back in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 we read: “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us LIKE ALL THE NATIONS AROUND US,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.”
As often as God commanded HIS CHOSEN people NOT to be like the other nations around them…..they were already beginning to “rumble” about having a HUMAN KING. And did you notice WHY??? Sadly so they could “be like the other nations around them!!!” Ummmm……not a whole lot as changed today….how often do we compare ourselves to friends, family, famous people, and look at all the news reports about the “royal baby!!” I remember when Kate and William were married and how many young women WANTED her wedding dress!! Can you imagine how many babies will be named after this child, because somehow that will make people feel closer to or more like royalty? I don’t think anything is wrong with looking at this beautiful couple and sharing their joy. However, when we take it to a whole other level of desiring to BE them, desiring to have all they have, etc….we take our focus off of what God wants us to be and WHO HE is. TRULY NO condemnation here….just thinking points to test our own hearts and minds and make sure we are focused on the right things.
OK…back to Israel. In Judges 21:25 we read: “Israel had no king and everyone did as they saw fit.”
In God’s wisdom he raised Samuel (remember Hannah could not conceive a child, she prayed to God, promised to give her child to God, God blessed her with Samuel, and she kept her promise when she took Samuel to the High Priest Eli when she had weaned Samuel.) Hannah made a Nazarite Vow on Samuel’s behalf before his birth and she did as she promised. Samuel also was faithful to God. Samuel was to lead the people (1 Sam 3:4). He judged Israel ALL the days of his life. And when he was old he made his sons judges over Israel (1 Samuel 8:1.) BUT….. Israel rejected his sons, refused to obey Samuel and DEMANDED a HUMAN KING (1 Samuel 8:19-20.) Samuel went before God with the situation and God said: “Listen to them and give them a king.” (1 Samuel 8:22)
Saul was the 1st King of Israel. He was a Benjamite. Saul appeared to be the perfect king….he was handsome, and began his reign with a victory over the Ammorites. Unfortunately, we witnessed his success going quickly to his head, humility gave way to pride. Saul offered sacrifice to God…..ummmmm….ONLY the Levites were to do this!!! Saul GRIEVED God through his pride, self-centeredness, disobedience, and rebellion (1 Sam 5:10.) Saul reigned unsuccessfully from 1049 BC to 1009 BC then “he took his own sword and fell on it.” (1 Sam 31:4)
David was the 2nd King of Israel. He is from the tribe of Judah. His purpose was to UNIFY the Nation which he did with grand success. David was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He was an unlikely choice for King…a lowly shepherd boy….even his father didn’t even consider the possibility that David would be the choice for king and left him in the field when Samuel came to Jesse’s house to pick the next king. Jesse had to call David in from the field and God told Samuel…. YES…. THIS is my choice for the King of Israel. David was anointed King in private the first time only in front of his family. Years later he was publicly anointed King of Judah (the nation of Israel had split under Saul’s rule.) He ruled as Judah’s King for seven years then was publicly anointed King of ALL of Israel in his 7th year as King of Judah. David reigned from 1009 BC to 969 BC.
Solomon of the tribe of Judah, David’s son of Bathsheba, became King of the UNIFIED nation of Israel in 971 BC and reigned until 931 BC. Solomon’s reign was also known as the “golden years” for Israel. They had risen from obscurity to fame and power. They were at peace with all nations around them and had great wealth. Solomon was known by all as the wisest man in the world and all leaders came to him for advice. Of course we have already read what lead to Solomon’s downfall….his 1000 wives and concubines from pagan nations whose lifestyles he came to accept, mimic, and WORSHIP. He pulled away from the very God who came to him and asked him if you could have ANYTHING what would it be and Solomon asked for wisdom. Because Solomon asked for this, God blessed him GREATLY with EVERYTHING.
Because of Solomon’s behavior as he grew older which included worshipping and building idols, God said the Nation of Israel would divide under his son. The ONLY reason it did not divide under Solomon was because God was honoring Solomon’s father, David. HOW AWESOME is our God too keep such a commitment!!!???
Israel is now the “Northern Nation of ISRAEL” with 10 of the 12 original tribes. The Kings of Israel are listed below along with the years of their reign. We have not read about all of them yet but I thought this list would be beneficial to help you keep straight who is the king in which kingdom PLUS I have added who is a “good” king and who is a “bad” king.
KINGS OF ISRAEL:
Jeroboam, bad, 930-909 B.C.
Nadab, bad, 909-908 B.C.
Baasha, bad, 908-886 B.C.
Elah, bad, 886-885 B.C.
Zimri, bad, 885 B.C.
Tibni, bad, 885-880 B.C.
Omri (overlap), extra bad, 885-874 B.C.
Ahab, the worst, 874-853 B.C.
Ahaziah, bad, 853-852 B.C.
Joram, bad mostly, 852-841 B.C.
Jehu, not good but better than the rest, 841-814 B.C.
Jehoahaz, bad, 814-798 B.C.
Joash, bad, 798-782 B.C.
Jeroboam II (overlap), bad, 793-753 B.C.
Zechariah, bad, 753 B.C.
Shallum, bad, 752 B.C.
Menahem, bad, 752-742 B.C.
Pekahiah, bad, 742-740 B.C.
Pekah (overlap), bad, 752-732 B.C.
Hoshea, bad, 732-722 B.C.
Judah is now the “Southern Kingdom” with 2 of the original 12 tribes. The Kings of Judah are listed below in hopes of helping you keep them straight.
KINGS OF JUDAH:
Rehoboam, bad mostly, 933-916 B.C.
Abijah, bad mostly, 915-913 B.C.
Asa, GOOD, 912-872 B.C.
Jehoshaphat, GOOD, 874-850 B.C. (***Jehoshaphat is the current King of Judah in our reading as of this posting.***)
Jehoram, bad, 850-843 B.C.
Ahaziah, bad, 843 B.C.
Athaliah, devilish, 843-837 B.C.
Joash, good mostly, 843-803 B.C.
Amaziah, good mostly, 803-775 B.C.
Uzziah, GOOD mostly, 787-735 B.C.
Jotham, GOOD, 749-734 B.C.
Ahaz, wicked, 741-726 B.C.
Hezekiah, THE BEST, 726-697 B.C.
Manasseh, the worst, 697-642 B.C.
Amon, the worst, 641-640 B.C.
Josiah, THE BEST, 639-608 B.C.
Jehoahaz, bad, 608 B.C.
Jehoiakim, wicked, 608-597 B.C.
Jehoiachin, bad, 597 B.C.
Zedekiah, bad, 597-586 B.C.
And, remember…..the tribe that JESUS will come from is JUDAH!!!
Sharing HIS love,