Summary: A 32 week journey through the Bible. Inspired by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee.
January 23, 2011
As we move into chapter 15 we are going to be looking past the kings who led . . .
PHONE RINGS — Oh, hold on a minute, I forgot to turn my phone off. Don’t you like that song. I’ve gotta take it. This is not really a good time to call me. You have a message. Okay, what is it? Keep the message short, the Bears are playing.
Okay, if you haven’t put your phones on silent, now would be a good time.
Actually, I’m just playing, but this is the point of chapter 15. God is trying to get a hold of Israel. The question is . . . will they pick up and answer, or will they just let the call go directly to voice mail.
And if they do pick up, will they listen? And if they listen, will they do what God tells them to do.
Chapter 14 of the Story starts us in a section of the OT which can be very confusing. This is due in part to the fact that the Bible is not written in chronological order.
Think about the Bible this way . . . the first 17 chapters are more historical in nature. Then we add 5 books called wisdom literature or poetry, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Job. Then the OT concludes with another 17 books called Prophetical books. These are the stories of the prophets as they called out to Israel and Judah during the times of the divided kingdom. Last week, I spoke about the kingdom dividing. You can see from the map, Israel or Samaria was the northern kingdom and Judah was the southern kingdom.
Today we’re looking at the northern kingdom of Israel after they were divided. There were 10 tribes in the north and 2 tribes in the southern kingdom.
The question for now is, WHY DID GOD CHOOSE TO DIVIDE THE NATION OF ISRAEL?
Remember the goal for the nation of Israel through, Abraham and Sarah was to show the world through their relationship with God, a God who is filled with power, love and grace; and a God who wants to be in relationship with all people. God doesn’t want anyone to perish without coming into a relationship with Him. That’s the goal from the start. God is going to do it through this tiny nation called Israel.
God is the One true God who is to guide the people to live distinctively different lifestyles than the rest of the world. This way people will see God through the way the people live. They are to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, spirit, mind and body; and to love one another. The secret of their success and prosperity is not found in anything they do, but is found in God.
It should cause those around them to want to get to know God. And this was God’s objective . . . to reveal His plan and Himself, not just to the Israelites, but to all people. And God promised One would be born who would provide the ultimate solution, so that we could come back into a relationship with Him. So the stakes are high, and it’s important for the people to reveal God and His plan.
As we’ve been journeying through the Story, we’ve learned that Israel stopped being fully devoted to God. They became complacent, overly comfortable, and trusted themselves more than God. They worshiped pagan gods and began to look like the other nations. As a result, they were no longer revealing the character, nature, and plan of God. Think about it, if God continued to bless them, it would’ve sent a wrong message to Israel and the surrounding nations about God’s character.
Let me put it to you this way. If Doug and I were to go out on the town every Friday night, and got arrested, and had our mug shots in the newspaper, then we showed up on Sunday and preached like nothing ever happened, it would send the wrong message about the church to the congregation and the community who desperately needs to know Jesus.
It would be necessary to remove us from our positions. Or, at least Doug, because he would be the one who put me up to it. So, in the same spirit, in order to purify the message and representation of the character of God, God divided the nation of Israel into two nations. It’s a dark time in the history of this once powerful nation.
Of the 38 kings who led the north and south over a period of 344 years, only 5 were considered to be good kings, kings who followed God, the rest were evil. Not one king in the north was considered good.