Day 9

Judah and Israel’s Kings

from the 1 & 2 Kings reading plan

1 Kings 14:21-31, 1 Kings 15:1-34, 1 Kings 16:1-34, 2 Samuel 7:14-17, Isaiah 41:28-29

BY Guest Writer

At this point in our reading, the nation of Israel is divided into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Both kingdoms and their kings are in political turmoil as they face mounting instability, warfare, revolts, and murder. The kingdoms are also in spiritual crisis. King after king “did what was evil in the LORD’s sight” (1 Kings 15:26). They endorsed detestable idol worship, which emboldened the people to set up poles and stones and high places for pagan gods and to engage in shrine prostitution, along with other evil practices. Verse after verse, we read of people who have forsaken the one true God in exchange for worthless, false gods.

As I read of one evil king after another, I find myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, the next one might be faithful. With that in mind, I find myself cheering as I finally read about Asa, King of Judah, a king who finally “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He abolished shrine prostitution, removed idols, and directed his people back to the Lord’s laws and commands. Asa ruled for 41 years and promoted flourishing and peace for most of his reign.

Asa’s life is a picture of the good, gracious provision of God. His father, Abijam, was not faithful to the Lord, “but for the sake of David, the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up his son after him and preserving Jerusalem” (v.4). In the midst of Abijah’s disobedience, God provided a righteous son who would lead his people. King Asa was a lamp shining God’s light and truth. Finally, a hero in this story!

Eh. Not so fast. In 2 Chronicles 16 we read that toward the end of Asa’s reign, as the northern kingdom was threatening Judah, he faltered and trusted in his own power and plans instead of relying on the Lord. Despite shining like a lamp of righteousness for a time, Asa would not even seek help from the Lord as he suffered at the end of his days. While Israel and Judah’s kings floundered in the face of their commitment to the Lord, He remained true to them, keeping this promise to David:

“My faithful love will never leave him as it did when I removed it from Saul,
whom I removed from before you. Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever,
and your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 17:15–16).

The life of King Asa gives us a glimmer of the deliverance that we long for, as well as the realization that it’s futile to trust in kings, or anyone, really—even ourselves. But we sure do try, looking to friends and parents, pastors and employers and political leaders—only to be disappointed, because they stumble and fall and fail too. Though our hope is misplaced, it isn’t pointless; God plants this hope and hunger in us to point us to the King of kings, the ultimate hero, Jesus, who never falters. He is not only a lamp for Jerusalem, but the light of the world (John 8:12).

Patti Sauls lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Scott and daughters, Abby and Ellie, where they serve alongside the people of Christ Presbyterian Church. Prior to living in Nashville, the Sauls planted churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis and served at New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church. A trained speech therapist, Patti also enjoys serving behind the scenes, hiking with friends, and reading good books.

Post Comments (36)

36 thoughts on "Judah and Israel’s Kings"

  1. Jamie Hankins says:

    God is painting a picture of generational sins within the family line. I think what is notable is that God is the one appointing, he is still over each king’s rule. Asa, whose family line he couldn’t have followed in or learned from, somehow knew the truth and knew how to honor God, not perfectly, but he did. Doesn’t God still do that today in our own families? He plucks one here and one there whose hearts are for him. If I’m being honest, I didn’t learn that from my parent or grandparents. And I didn’t live that way for most of my life, but that searching for God, desiring to know Him, that has been in my heart since I can remember. It’s a sweet reminder how God’s hand is so sovereign, and we can all find rest believing that truth.

  2. Holly Cavender says:

    Reading about the constant failures of these kings is hard but also so humbling. A really good reminder that I am just like them…. wretched and sinful. I could be nothing else if it wasn’t for the grace of God sending Jesus to die for my sins.
    I also noticed that the Lord always says “because of David…” in these books and then gives mercy to the kings’ lines. It correlates to how “because of Christ” I am forgiven and given mercy!! I love seeing God’s hints in the OT of what is to come!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Kim, could you please help me understand what your comment means? Thank you!

  4. Kim says:

    Yes The lost tribe of Judah are the blacks in America~ Yes we are The Most Highs Chosen People

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