Intro to First Kings
14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
1 Kings 3:14
I hope that I am not asking for too much as I type this….During the entire month of July, our Old Testament reading consisted of reading through the books of First and Second Samuel. And I really hope that you took some good notes because for the entire month of November, your Old Testament reading will be on First and Second Kings. You will remember, or find in your Bible reading notes, that Second Samuel concluded with David sinning by conducting a census and a great plague being sent by God as a result of it. David then builds an altar to the Lord and pleas to the Lord for his mercy (also echoed in 1 Chron 21). We then read these words at the very end of Second Samuel 24, “…So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel” and then the curtain falls. But the story does not end there. We can consider the plague event mentioned prior as sort of the closing scene of Act II of the play and the opening scene for Act III to be recorded in First Kings.
First Kings brings closure to the legacy of David that we find in 1 Samuel and the covenant that God had made with him is one that needs to be remembered in First and Second Kings. As a reminder, the Davidic covenant can be found in 2 Samuel 7 and consists of three main elements: 1) That the Lord had not forgotten his promise to Abraham and that they will have a place, a home (vs 10) 2) That the offspring of David will build a house for the Lord (vs 13) and 3) That there will be an eternal kingdom established by another son of David (vs 13, 16). In First Kings, it becomes clear to us that Solomon fulfills the second part of the covenant, but he does not fulfill the third. And as we track each king throughout the course of Israel’s history, our hopes of finding that king begins to dwindle. Immediately after Solomon, the kingdom is divided into two, the north and the south. In the northern kingdom, they immediately turn to idolatry and almost every single ruler is wicked. The southern kingdom is no Bible belt though. It too is ruled by many wicked kings with really only two that stand out, Hezekiah and Josiah. And because of these wicked kings, prophets are raised up to proclaim righteousness in a time full of unrighteousness, the most prominent ones being Elijah and Elisha.
Which brings us to one of the central messages of this book. Firstly, we must not place our faith and trust in rulers of this world. We serve, follow, and obey the one true Lord, the Son of David who has established a kingdom with no end. And even when our earthly rulers lead our nation away from God, we must have courage and confidence in His word. And like Elijah versus the prophets of Baal, we must not cower in fear nor change the truth. Instead, we must stand firm on it and have faith that God is sovereign and working everything according to the perfect council of His will. Finally, we are reminded through Elijah’s doubting experience that God has never left us and never will leave us. That ought to encourage and embolden us even more to trust Him above all else. His kingdom is without end, may we live as citizens of the kingdom here on earth waiting for the day when we will see the kingdom consummated at Christ’s second coming.
Grace and Peace,
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