Readings: Anything after the history of Solomon
I have to admit as a blog writer trying to write encouraging blogs it has been a bit hard to be encouraged lately. We have been reading about one the kings of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah for about 10 days now. The only bright spots have been the interjected stories of Elijah and Elisha. Beyond the stories of those two faithful prophets of God, there is not much good to read.
I suppose we should not be surprised. The kingdom of Israel has been divided since the death of Solomon. There have been numerous plots against the kings, political assassinations, treaties with enemies and treason. Have you been keeping track of which kings have “good” kings and which ones have been “bad”? Here is a little chart that can you keep score:
We are only 1/2 way through the miserable history of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel and here is the score so far:
Looking at this very bad report card, we have had 20 kings and only 4 1/2 have of them worthy. In sports terms that means they are only winning 22.5 % of their games. They have won about 4 games and lost 16.
Why were so many kings so miserable? What pattern do we see in their histories that could tell us who was going to be a good king and who was going to be a bad or evil king?
If you have been reading along with us this last week you know what the key phrase has been. It has been repeated at least 15 times.
“He committed the same sins as his father before him, and he was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been.”
“he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight”
“He followed the example of (insert previous bad king’s name here), continuing the sins that (insert previous bad king’s name here) had led Israel (or Judah) to commit.”
“During his reign, (insert previous bad king’s name here) failed to remove the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. “
“He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.”
What do we read about the three good kings of Judah:
“Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. 5 Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns.”
“Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.”
“All his life Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. “
It is a very simple formula, that is repeated king after king.
- do not learn from the mistakes of their forefathers
- do not remove the foreign idols
- worship other gods
- do what is pleasing to the Lord
- remove the pagan shrines, smash sacred pillars and cut down idols
- instruct the people to follow the Lord.
- follow the good example of their fathers
- receive instructions from good spiritual leaders
So, nearly 2700 years later, what can we learn from these histories? What can we take away from these depressing stories of corruption and sin?
We can take away the concept that if we follow the Lord and do what is right in His eyes we can succeed in life. We can conquer our foes and set good examples for our children to follow. We can be different than the rest of the world.
SPECIAL RESOURCE: I have found a full list of the kings of Israel and Judah with additional notes. I have posted it on the Sermons Etc. page. Here it is a direct link… https://plimtuna.wordpress.com/sermons-etc/kings-of-judah-and-israel/