Summary: This sermon introduces the series on Kings by considering the purpose for which 1 & 2 Kings was written. It seeks to give an historical setting and the foundation for the rest of the series.
“Is There More To Life Than This?”
Today we are going to start our sermon series on the book of Kings. Now, if you were all first century Christian who had been converted from Judaism to Christianity I could make the assumption that most of you would actually know a fair bit about the book of kings,
You would know the order of the Kings, when they ruled, the length of their reign, whether they were good or bad kings, and the basic story of their lives.
However, because we are 21st century Christians who have all sorts of knowledge about all sorts of things – but who seem to know very little about the Bible – especially the Old Testament we need to go back to some very basics.
Now that might seem like a harsh judgement – but does anyone want to accuse me of being overly critical?
I didn’t think so.
Which quickly highlights one difficulty that arises when preaching from the Old Testament. Most of us really only have a small knowledge about our Biblical history. And even if we do have the knowledge we find it very hard to take all of that history and apply it to our modern lives. But, through this series I want to help you to do that ... because through this series I want us to get excited about the Biblical History that we have and to see that it is still an applicable part of our heritage.
So let’s start off with some important “big picture” truths.
The years covered by 1 & 2 Kings.
The book opens with David as an old man in his last years … approximately 970BC
The book closes with a very specific date “the thirty-seventh year of the exile … (when) Evil-Merodach … released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month” (2 Kgs 25:28). That date is the 12th of March 560BC.
The math is easy then. Kings covers a historical period of 410 years.
Now let me show you something. I’m reading about the History of the Baptist Church in Australia.
Just the Baptist Church.
Only focussed on Australia.
Covering the years 1831, when the first Baptist church started in Woolloomooloo, to 2005 … about 174 years.
There is about 400,000 words in these books. And that doesn’t tell all the stories, by necessity even a work of that size focusing on such a narrow aspect of history needs to be selective.
Now, let’s look at the book of Kings …
I should mention by the way that when I say “book of Kings” I mean both 1 and 2 Kings. You see it is all one story. The only reason we have two books is that the book was basically too big to fit onto one scroll – so they divide it in half and you have two books. Part 1 and Part 2.
So the book of Kings covers 400 years of history including the history of all the kings with some focus on the religion of the whole nation and other significant events. And this is done in 50,000 words.
These books on the history of Baptist in Australia … 400,000 words – and still very selective.
The book of Kings … 50,000 words – it is very very very selective.
There is so much that could have been included in the books which isn’t. A quick example.
He was a good King.
He rules for 41 years.
His whole rule is spoken about in 500 words.
Your assignments in grade 7 are longer than that.
What we have recorded in kings is a very selective part of the whole history. That fact raises a really important question
Who does the author of Kings have in mind when he collected these historical stories and put them into a book?
You see every book is written with a particular audience in mind.
Children’s story books are written with a particular audience in mind.
Windows 8 for dummies is written with a specific audience in mind.
50 shades of grey was written with a specific audience in mind – which is why none of us have read it … have we?
And the book of kings was written with a specific audience in mind.
So who is that audience?
We had a hint earlier when we were talking about the specific closing date in the book.
In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Meradach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month.
You might remember earlier that we said this date was the 12th of March 560BC. That is significant to know because it means Kings was written to the people of Israel who are in exile in Babylon.