Summary: We can learn from the good kings and the bad kings but we most make sure the the King of Kings is on the throne of our lives.
Learning from the Good and the Bad
1-2 Kings; 1-2 Chronicles
Rev. Brian Bill
A young businessman had just started his own firm and so he rented a beautiful office and furnished it with valuable antiques. As he was sitting behind his magnificent mahogany desk, he saw a man come into the outer office. Wanting to appear busy, he picked up the phone and pretended to be working on a big deal. He threw huge figures around and negotiated an enormous contract, making sure he was just loud enough for the guy in the other room to hear. Finally he hung up the phone and asked: “Can I help you?” To which the man replied, “Sure, I’ve come to connect the phone.”
As we continue in our study of the Old Testament kings, we’ll see that many of these leaders were not connected to the King of Kings. They appeared powerful on the outside but they were really pretending on the inside. Thankfully there were a handful of kings who were connected and were used greatly by God to accomplish some amazing things.
Let me explain where we’re headed in the next couple months. Dr. Ray Pritchard will be speaking next Sunday on “Ballistic Christianity.” We’ll have a luncheon reception immediately after the second service. If you’d like to come, simply bring a salad or a dessert. The following week is Palm Sunday and our topic will be “Finding Christ in the Old Testament.” On Easter Sunday at the PTHS auditorium, our focus will be on the question, “What Are You Waiting For?” Then, the week after Easter, we’ll launch a very practical four-part series called, “Facing Your Giants” where we’ll pick up the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.
This morning we’re going to combine some teaching with some preaching. While I see a distinction between the two, it’s been said that the only difference between teachin’ and preachin’ is how loud the pastor speaks. I see preaching as the passionate proclamation of Scripture with the aim of urging listeners to put it into practice. Teaching involves instruction and the explanation of truth in a way that is understandable. We could say teaching is instructional and appeals to the head while preaching is motivational and appeals to the heart and the will. Actually, I try to do some of both in every message. The Apostle Paul said it best in Acts 28:31: “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Today I want to begin with some teaching because this section of Scripture contains some keys that will literally unlock your understanding of the Old Testament.
Let’s hit the pause button while I walk over here to this easel for a teaching time. Are you ready, class? I’ll try to keep it simple because I have a simple mind.
> As you think back in your mind to the time of Jacob (also known as Israel), you’ll recall that he had 12 sons. These sons make up the twelve tribes of Israel.
> When the Israelites arrived in the Promised Land, each tribe had a specific assigned area.
> The first kings (Saul, David and Solomon) ruled over this “United Kingdom.”
> After Solomon’s death the kingdom was divided into two parts – the north and the south. There were ten northern tribes, also known as Israel and two southern tribes, also known as Judah (Judah and Benjamin).
> The northern kingdom had 19 kings, all of whom were “bad.” The southern kingdom had 20 kings, some of whom were “good.”
> Due to blatant sin and outright apostasy, the northern kingdom was destroyed in 721 B.C. by the Assyrians and the Israelites were scattered. These tribes are known as the “lost tribes of Israel.” Incidentally, the Samaritans of Jesus’ day are believed to be descendants of these tribes, the result of intermarriage with heathen people. That explains why they were so hated.
> The southern kingdom should have learned by watching what happened to the north but they didn’t. They were invaded by the Babylonians and deported in 586 B.C.
> When reading the prophetical books, it’s important to keep in mind what country the prophet is ministering to. For instance, Jonah, Amos, and Hosea are written to Israel. Likewise, the prophets Elijah and Elisha minister primarily to the northern kingdom.
> In the southern kingdom (Judah), we come across Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Daniel.
> Judah was exiled to Babylon and eventually was allowed to return some 70 years later. The books of Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra and Nehemiah deal with this time period.
> 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles are very similar and cover much of the same material. In general, Kings reads like history in all its harshness, whereas Chronicles contains more positive details and personal information.