This week we finish 2 Kings and begin 1 Chronicles. The end of 2 Kings is the beginning of Judah’s exile. At this point, we’ve already seen Israel enter exile, but Judah held out a little longer.
Quickly, before we jump into the historical accounts of the Chronicles, let’s recap the highlights of what got us to the point of both the northern and southern kingdoms being in exile:
- The Israelites demand a human king and reject God as their king.
- Rehoboam, the 4th king of united Israel is unfair and unkind to his people so they refuse to follow him. The majority of the Israelites follow Jeroboam and form the kingdom of Israel.
- Israel as much weaker as two kingdoms.
- Twenty kings in a row of the northern kingdom of Israel are evil.
- Twelve of the twenty kings of the southern kingdom of Judah are evil.
- The Israelites of both kingdoms worship other gods and forsake their part of the covenant.
So as we read, this week, about God turning away from the Israelites, remember that he is not unkind and hateful. The Israelites turn their back on God over and over until he has no choice but to allow them to face their consequences.
Reading these consequences sure makes you think about your daily decisions, doesn’t it?
It’s important to read the Bible carefully. If only skimming, stories like the one of the King of Moab sacrificing his son, in today’s Acts reading, could be mistaken for something God wanted or chose. God did not want the king to sacrifice his son. God did not ask him to do that. That was the king’s own evil choice. We tend to read the Bible as if everything is telling us to “go and do likewise”. This is simply not the case.
2 Kings 3:1-4:17:
- 9 – The kingdoms of Israel and Judah had not been united on anything since just after Solomon’s reign.
- 13 – Elisha learned his sass from Elijah. The king of Israel’s parents worshipped Baal. Elisha is pointing out that the king wants the Lord’s help even though he hasn’t been faithful to the Lord.
- 17-19 – It is often the simplest things that prove God’s favor or lack there of. Like when wandering in the desert, the Israelites lack water and God provides it.
- 27 – The King of Moab who sacrificed his son did not do this to honor God. God did not ask this of him.
- 1-7 – The Lord provided for the woman when it seemed impossible. He multiplied the oil to make it profitable for her so she could take care of herself and her son.
- 8-10 – Above and beyond hospitality
- 11-17 – Elisha was blessed and then asked the Lord to bless the woman in return.
- 8-10 – Healings often happened because of faith. This one is simply because Paul saw faith in the crippled man.
- 11-18 – The people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were their gods in human form. This, for obvious reasons, greatly distressed the men of God.
- 19-23 – When Paul later writes about suffering for the sake of Christ, he is not speaking figuratively. He truly had suffered greatly to share the gospel.
- It is pretty incredible that, with so many aggressive enemies, David is still able to focus on and remain faithful to God. At the same time, it is pretty incredible how well God protected David from his enemies.
- Joy, a fruit of the spirit, is more than just enjoyable, it’s life giving.
When God warns you of something, you should definitely listen. God knew that he was a better king than any human could ever be, but back in 1 Samuel the Israelites insisted on a human king like all the other nations. In today’s reading, just four kings later, the consequences of poor decisions by human kings is becoming painfully obvious. Israel has now split into two nations, weakening them and setting them up for their ultimate demise.
1 Kings 12:20-13:34:
- It’s about to start getting confusing with who was king of where when. Here’s a simple chart to help you keep them straight.
- 25-33 – Jeroboam has every reason to trust God because he had made it clear that he would keep him in power because of his great love for David. Jeroboam almost immediately loses trust and builds golden calves so the wouldn’t lose his portion of Israelites.
- 11-25 – This story gets confusing with the old prophet and the original prophet and the man of God. Note that the prophet should have listened to God above anything else. Ultimately, listening to the other prophet caused his death.
- 33-34 – Jeroboam continued to stray further and further from God’s will.
- 26 – Sometimes the consequences of our previous sins linger.
- 36-43 – Despite an unfortunate nickname, Tabitha was a great asset to those around her. She served and provided for those around her. Her resurrection also brought many people to faith.
- 11-12 – In our 1 Kings reading we are currently seeing God trying to find ways to keep David’s line in the throne though they continually turn against him.
Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, Marc Antony’s speech beginning “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”, and now you’ll know Moses’ Deuteronomy. This is Moses’ most important speech. It is also his farewell speech. Check it out:
Exodus begins in medias res with a listing of the names of the children of Jacob. (Jacob is also called Israel, and so his children are called the “Israelites.” The Hebrew name for the book we call Exodus is “Names,” taken from the first word of the Hebrew text of Exodus.) But who is Jacob, how did he have so many children, and how did they all end up in Egypt? To learn all that, you’ll need to read Genesis….
A few notes about Exodus 1:
- The Israelites are an immigrant people to Egypt, but the Egyptians, who initially welcomed them, begin to fear them because they grow numerous.
- The Egyptians decide to start oppressing the Israelites, but their oppression has the opposite effect (v.12): “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.”
- Pharaoh then commands the death of all the Hebrew baby boys. In other words, Pharaoh plans to commit genocide. Some things never change….
- In Exodus 1, we already see what will be the main theme of the first half of the book: a struggle between Pharaoh, the divine king of Egypt, and the Living God. Things will get interesting.
Leave thoughts or questions in the comments below.
[This post first appeared on my blog on 8/25/14.]