Summary: This message is a part of a series that surveys the entire Bible. It is based upon the study guide from an older Chuck Swindoll series. This message surveys 1 Kings-2 Chronicles.
Wow! The journey on God’s Route 66 has been quite exciting so far. We have witnessed the creation of the world, got acquainted with the patriarchs, saw the hardships endured by the Israelites in the wilderness, watched as God delivered the Israelites into the Promised Land and witnessed a nation rise to prominence on the world stage. We have taken in so many sights but hang on; the roughest part of the road is directly ahead. This stretch of road will be littered with potholes of pride and idolatry. The pavement will begin to disintegrate under the weight of immorality. What causes a nation to fall? The answer is a force known as erosion. Roads, nations, businesses or marriages just don’t self destruct over night; it takes years of steady, thoughtless decay. The problem is people rarely notice that everything is falling apart until it’s too late. The period of Jewish history that we will look at today is very tragic as God’s people turn away from Him.
I. What causes a nation to collapse?
A. The collapse of the Roman Empire illustrates this process of national erosion.
1. Edward Gibbon in his work the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” identified five factors that lead to the nations ultimate disintegration.
2. An undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis for human society.
3. Higher and higher taxes and spending public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
4. A mad craze for pleasure, with pastimes becoming every year more exciting, brutal and immoral.
5. Building great armaments, although the real enemy was within and the decay of individual responsibility.
6. Decay of religion, faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and losing power to guide the people.
B. Like Rome it was not military might that ultimately conquered Israel it was a similar course of internal collapse.
1. The people of Israel failed to heed the warnings of Moses and Joshua leading to them slowly turning their backs on God.
2. They grew comfortable and complacent in the land which led to them forgetting the source of their blessings.
3. Like with Rome, Israel’s collapse did not happen overnight.
II. Making sense out of this complicated portion of Jewish History.
A. The beginning of Israel’s monarchy.
1. Saul’s forty-year reign initiated the monarchy period in Israel.
2. When Saul died the crown will be passed to David who will lead Israel for forty years also.
3. When David died the crown will pass to his son Solomon who will reign forty years as well.
4. Solomon’s son Rehoboam will come to the throne and try to rule with an iron fist leading to the northern ten tribes revolting and breaking free under the leadership of Jeroboam.
5. The northern kingdom known as Israel will last for 209 years being ruled by twenty different kings and ultimately being conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC.
6. The southern kingdom known as Judah will last for 345 years being ruled also by twenty different kings and ultimately being conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC.
B. There three keys to decoding this complicated portion of Jewish history.
1. The country was ripped apart by civil war so the writer of Kings and Chronicles have the huge task of tracing the history of two different nations.
2. We need to know the different names given to these two different kingdoms. The northern kingdom will be known as Israel, Ephraim, and Samaria. The southern kingdom will be known as Judah and Jerusalem.
3. We need to keep on hand a list of the different kings and their reigns.
4. It is also helpful to keep track of the different prophets and where there ministries fit into this portion of Jewish history.
III. A brief survey of this era of Jewish History.
A. Signs of erosion during the period of the United Kingdom.
1. The narrative of Kings begins about 970 B.C. with the accession of Solomon.
2. God highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel. He bestowed on Solomon royal majesty which neither Saul nor David had possessed
3. The Queen of Sheba expressed her amazement when she said what she had heard concerning his words and wisdom had proved to be true. While she had been unconvinced prior to making her journey to Jerusalem, she now was of the opinion that the wisdom and prosperity of Solomon far exceeded any report which had come to her ears.
4. In Deuteronomy 17:14–20 God stipulated three things that the future kings of Israel were not to do and Solomon managed to violate every one. They were not to multiply
a. horses unto themselves
5. No amount of wisdom or wealth could cover the effects that sin had on Solomon’s heart.