1 Kings 15 — Abijam, Asa, and Nadab Reing in Judah
1 Kings 16 — Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab Reign in Israel
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One Reply to “Apr 26 — 1 Kings 15-16”
The story of the kings in Kings is relatively brief, deferring details to the Chronicles, so it’s interesting to peak at the parallel passages in 2 Chronicles. Here we read “Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maakah as crown prince…in order to make him king” (2 Chr 11:22). Then to help support him, Rehoboam dispersed “some of his sons throughout the districts” (2 Chr 11:23) in an effort to keep these sons out of Abijah’s way. Seemed like a great plan, but after just three years as king of Judah, “he committed all the sins his father had done before him” (1 Kings 15:3). In between, there was a huge battle between Abijah and Jeroboam where 500,000 Israelite casualties were inflicted by Judah (Abijah)(2 Chr 13:17). Abijah must have been pretty proud of this great “victory” (in quotes because any victory in a civil war is no real victory in my mind) because he soon begins to take on many wives and repeat the sins of his father.
“Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11), that’s a refreshing statement! Asa cleaned house, even deposed his grandmother because of the idol worship she supported. Asa relied on the Lord when he had to battle against the Cushite army, he called to the Lord for help, “Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you” (2 Chr 14:12) and the Lord crushed the Cushite armies. Asa did well until the 36th of 41 years when he sought a treaty with the king of Aram rather than seeking God’s support. A prophet proclaimed, “You have done a foolish thing” (2 Chr 16:9) by not trusting in the Lord. Further, when Asa’s feet were diseased, he only sought the support of physicians, not once asking the Lord for help (2 Chr 16:12). So Asa was a “pretty good” king for 36 years.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) Nadab didn’t last so long…killed by Baasha who then killed Jeroboam’s “whole family” (1 Kings 15:29). Baasha continued the evil ways of Jeroboam, yet he lasted as king for 24 years followed by Elah who lasted for 2 years (killed by Zimri while he was getting drunk) (1 Kings 16:9-10). Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha. “Zimri reigned in Tirzah 7 days” (1 Kings 16:15)…one week! Omni became king for 12 years and continued to sin against the Lord (1 Kings 16:25-26), but Ahab followed him and “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30). From bad to worse!
There are two overriding thoughts that come to mind in reading the tragic stories of Judah and Israel during these times:
First, for the Northern Kingdom, they just keep following bad with more evil and getting worse. They lost all perspective and have forgotten the Lord is there foundation. Those who are raised in this country, in these times where God is not honored will fall into the Ahab trap because they lack the hope of Christ (prayer removed from schools to Christians being chastised for proclaiming their faith). Unless we have the courage to show God’s light, the coming generations will fall farther from God.
Second, as Pastor Roy mentioned a few days ago, we need to stay focused on Christ during every day of our lives, not 36 of 41 years as Asa did, but 41 of 41 or however many years God allows us to remain on the earth. We must not rest on last year’s “good season,” but understand every year, every day, we must rely on God’s direction.