Kings of Israel by Heather Marsten
This is a Bible study I taught today at Bible study. Hope it blesses you. I gave each person the handouts that follow this post. They decided which king was a good king or a bad king, finding out that there were only 8 good kings, all in Judah.
Kings & Idolatry
During the time of Moses, God knew what would happen when the Israelites reached the promised land, and prophesied it through Moses.
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
God promised the Israelites that the Kingdom would stand as long as they obeyed His commands and did not go to the left or the right. Notice the things a King was not supposed to do.
The King was supposed to (verse 18 & 19) write out the copy of the Law in his own hand and then read it day and night. There is no way a king could pretend that he was unaware of the Law.
The People enter the Promised Land at the exact time God wanted them to enter the land.
But God first wanted to give the Amorites a chance to change and follow His ways. They did not, they persisted in their sinful living and accumulated iniquity upon iniquity so that God’s justice would be unquestioned, as he removed the iniquity from the land.
Genesis 15:13-16 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance
Sometimes we think that because God is not acting on a situation we see as wrong that means God doesn’t care. God does care, but He is patient, wanting all to be saved.
The Israelites made Covenant with God and would frequently break their Covenant. God allowed the Israelites to be ruled by judges. The people would come in line with God’s will and God would send a judge to defend the people. They would be thankful to God for a time, and then fall back into their old ways, cry out to God, and then He would send another judge.
Remember in Deuteronomy, God predicted that the people would clamor for a king, especially when they saw that the surrounding nations were ruled by Kings. They went to the prophet Samuel.
1 Samuel 8:6-22 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” 10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
Oh this is a sad situation, when the people will demand a King from God, when that was not God’s best for them. God had a King for them – the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, but at the time they wanted a King it was not God’s timing for them. Sometimes we think our solution will be the salvation of our problems, but the problems the Israelites would not be changed by having Kings, and ultimately they will only worsen. No matter the physical person over us, our ultimate allegiance needs to be to God, not man. And a mortal King cannot solve the heart issues of the people.
1 Samuel 12:13-15 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the LORD your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
The first Kings were to the UNITED KINGDOM of Israel – we saw Saul who was a bad king, not obeying God and losing his kingdom. DAVID was a man after God’s own heart, but even he sinned. But still God deemed him a man after His own heart, for David’s love was for God, SOLOMON started out pleasing God, but then started intermarrying and bring in idols to the Kingdom. The united Israel ultimately fell because of idols. Solomon’s disobedience of God’s rules for kings led to his sons being rebellious and problems for the nation of Israel.
YOUR PART: each will get a King, and have to decide by reading if they are a Good King or a Bad King. Kings of Israel into captivity 722 BC: Kings of Judah captivity 586 BC: Judah was in existence 136 more years.
Israel’s kings had few mentions in book of Chronicles.
Give them the good/bad king names. Do the handout.
A lot of times the book of Chronicles gives us more information about what is shown in the Book of Kings. I heard a teaching once that the Book of Chronicles gives us God’s perspective.
1 Kings 12:25-33 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel. 26And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
Notice what Solomon’s son did – he got so concerned about his power he did not want the kingdom to be reunited, so instead he created idols – the same idols that got Aaron in trouble – calves of gold for the people to worship. The nation of Israel never had a good king – all their kings succumbed to idolatry, and ultimately the nation was dispersed.
2 Chronicles 11:1-4 Now when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled from the house of Judah and Benjamin one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 3 “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, 4 ‘Thus says the LORD: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” Therefore they obeyed the words of the LORD, and turned back from attacking Jeroboam.
Now let’s look at one of the most righteous kings of Israel. I am going to read passages from Kings, and then I want you to follow along in Chronicles, and point out to us what is different between the passages. Let’s see what God adds to the description in Kings.
2 Kings 23:21-22 Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.
Look at 2 Chronicles Chapter 35 and look at the detail. God knows us by name and notices our worship. Instead of a simple two verses about Passover he gives specific details, mirroring what is said in Leviticus, and shows how important this celebration of Passover was for God.
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah also lamented for Josiah. And to this day all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations. They made it a custom in Israel; and indeed they are written in the Laments
Hand out the other 2 lists. Ask people what is the one sin that God seems to point out for the bad kings in every instance, and what the good kings did in response to that sin.
What is an idol? It is anything we try to put in place of where God belongs. Idols, while not God, can hold a power over us and cause us to miss God’s best for our lives. We try and use other things such as roots of bitterness, pride, the car, money, power, good works, pleasure, fashion, gluttony, anything to try and fill what we are missing in our lives, but only God and God alone can fulfill our deepest needs.
I think it is safe to say that at one time or another we have all succumbed to idols. Satan tries to convince us that our idols will free us or make life better, then we buy into the lie and find that instead of freedom we are more bound and unhappy than ever before. The Holy Spirit will convict us about what we are using as idols, and it is not to condemn us, but rather to help us achieve the freedom that Christ shed His precious blood to make possible for us.
Sometimes we think that we can serve our idols in secret, but the truth is that God sees what we are doing, even when we think we are doing it in secret. When we serve an idol God is very aware of it.
HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY OUR IDOLS?
We can so easily be tempted to trust and love many things other than God. But all the things we recognize as idols are really less than the biggest idol – ourselves. We want to serve God, but so often we put our own needs plans, problems and desires before God.
The truth is, we can recognize our idols, but removing them in our own power is not always possible – and often it does not happen instantaneously. Some of our idols have been in place for a very long time, and only the power of God can budge them.
HOW CAN WE REMOVE AN IDOL?
We need to remember that God never feels that our idols are OK, we need to realize that Jesus is exclusive. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
What is awesome is that God loves us so much He wants to remove the idols from our hearts and minds and replace them. Our idolatry saddens God and does not make a great witness for Him. But He is still willing to heal us, to make us whole and free.
Ezekiel 36:22-38 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”
Leviticus 26 shows how God will still help Israel when they turn back to Him
God sent His Son to die for us, so that our hearts of stone could be replaced by hearts of flesh, and so that the idols that have so bound us no longer have any power over us. Since He has done that for us, we need to do what
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
It is out of His great love for us that He wants us to be free of our idols. God wants the best for us because He loves us so very much.
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