Series: Thru the Bible
PDF of Outline: Harmoney of Israel’s Kingdom Books
The Books of the Kingdom and their Chronicles Pt. 4
This period in Israel and Solomon’s story is largely uneventful. He finished the Temple and his own palace and settled Israel in more land.
Something important regarding biblical interpretation came up however and that was significant. Between the accounts of 1 Kings 9:23 & 2Chron. 8:10 there is a between the accounts of the number of managers over the workers in Solomon’s employ. As it turns out the problem disappeared when we took into account everything both Chronicles and Kings said about these groups. It was simply a matter of semantics.
By the end of the lesson when we arrived at 1Kings 11 we are told that Solomon’s heart began to turn from the Lord. This was instigated by his love of foreign women.
The account of it went like this –
“(1) King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women (2) from the nations that the LORD had told the Israelites about, “Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away from Me to their gods.”
Solomon was deeply attached to these women and loved them. (3) He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away from the LORD.
(4) When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him to follow other gods. His heart was not completely with the LORD his God, as his father David’s heart had been.”
Solomon died with a divided heart towards God.
- Context is king and you need to dig for all the facts before drawing a conclusion.
- As much as it is within your power, never enter into any binding agreement with the lost.
- We should not devote our affections towards anything or anyone who does not share our 100% allegiance and devotion to God.
Solomon’s divided heart caused a split in the kingdom. God’s promise to David and his heirs was that they would continue to rule Israel SO LONG AS their hearts remained true to God. Solomon’s heart was NOT united to fear God, but was divided in its loyalties due to his love of foreign women. So God kept His word to David and removed the greatest portion of Israel from the leadership of David’s heirs. In God’s mercy (both for Solomon and David) He allowed Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) to rule of Judah and Benjamin.
At this time in Israel’s history The southern kingdom was united in Judah and often is only called by that name though it literally included the tribe of Benjamin.
Jeroboam, an Ephramite, became the first ruler of the Northern kingdom of Israel.
Though the details are important, the lessons are even more so – It is in God’s power to rise up or tear down. The one in power, rules at God’s decision and decree.
Jeroboam coveted his new position and feared he may lose the allegiance of the people since they all had to travel to Judah to offer sacrifices. So Jeroboam set up high places where Israel could sacrifice to God. This was the beginning of much trouble for Israel. From this point on we continually hear about these “high places” being used to honor God in sacrifice contrary to the law of Moses.
A prophet confronted Jeroboam and foretold that one day a man named Josiah would burn human bones of the priests of these high places on these altars. This happened about 282 years later.
Under Rehoboam reign Judah also did evil in the Lord’s sight and also built high places and worshipped foreign gods.
By the end of this lesson both Rehoboam and Jeroboam had died and been succeeded by Abijam reigning over the Southern Kingdom and Nadab over the Northern Kingdom.
- Who reigns when, where and how is in God’s sovereign power alone.
- “Trust in the Lord, do good, dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.” – Ps. 37:3.
- When you attempt to take matters into your own hands and do not trust – destruction will follow.
Before Jeroboam’s death, there was war between he and Abijah (or Abijam), Solomon’s son. Abijah stirred Israel with a speech which contained things which were incorrect, yet it resulted in Judah trusting God in the middle of an impossible battle which resulted in Judah’s victory over the Northern Kingdom.
Faith and Victory are no signs of true devotion since Abijah remained disloyal to God in matters of lust and worship.
Abijah was succeeded by Asa who was a godly king who began his reign at the end of Jeroboams and the beginning of Baasha of the Northern Kingdom.
Asa trusted in the Lord and did good, until Baasha took action against Judah. Instead of calling upon the Lord Asa called upon the King of Syria and though it worked it cost him. It is this context that the famous verse was spoken to Asa from Hanani the prophet,
“(9) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” – 2Chron. 16:9
Queen mother was an honorary position devoid of any real power other than having the ear of the king. When Asa’s mother attempted to use that influence in a manipulative way, he had her removed.
Baasha, Nadab, Elah, Zimri & Omri all ungodly kings shared the same fate of VERY short reigns one of which lasted only 7 days.
- One does not have to be 100% right in their history or theology to trust God and obtain victory
- Faith and Victory are not sure signs of a heart devoted to God.
- God is seeking for hearts of devotion and offers them strong support
- There is no end of trouble for those who turn from God to rely upon the flesh
- The memorial of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot. – Prov. 10:7
- Manipulation is a form of sorcery which women are often more prone to than men.
Few people in scripture inspire as much thought and wonder as the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Nearly Elijah’s entire ministry was during the reign of Ahab – the most wicked king of Israel to date.
Several things happen in these chapters which provoke questions in the thinking mind.
- Why not just send Elijah to the woman who needed oil to begin with? Why send him to be fed by ravens first?
- Why not prevent the death of the woman’s son rather than have to raise him up later?
One thing we learn about God in these chapters is that He is wild and unpredictable.
This is one of the most interesting and telling stories in all of scripture and seems indicative of God’s methods of dealing with man.
Elijah had confronted and instigated a spiritual dual with Jezebel’s prophets of Baal. By the time it was over Elijah destroyed their altars and killed all the evil prophets.
He then retreated to Carmel and prayed for rain, having warned Ahab that it was coming…and it came.
Though Elijah was definitely a man of faith and power, he was also not above being intimidated. The wickedness of Jezebel’s heart and her ability to manipulate the power of the throne occupied by her husband Ahab – scared him!
In running from God Elijah ran right into Him. God passed by Elijah and it precipitated wind, fire and earthquake. God was not to be found IN these things, but in a still small voice – and that voice often invites us into a discussion rather than making a pronouncement. In this case it asked, “Why are you here, Elijah?”
Elijah was not running to God or nor was he intentionally running away from Him, but rather away from what he feared would be the consequences of his ministry in Ahab’s kingdom. Elijah feared Jezebel more than he trusted God, and in the middle of this God met Him.
The interesting thing is that when the rain came, which Elijah predicted would come as an answer to his prayer he ran not from the rain but for fear of Jezebel. Furthermore, though he was ultimately running from God, it was God Who empowered him to run and he ran – right into an encounter with God.
Elijah meets Elisha, his future replacement.
- God is NOT predictable. What might seem to have been the best course of action to us as humans, is rarely the one God chooses, and we may never know why.
- No one is above the possibility of fear and intimidation
- God will often empower you to run, but direct you in your running, into an encounter with Him.
- God honors us with being torch bearers. We carry the torch until we are privileged with placing it into our replacement’s hand.
Elijah was given the task of anointing men as king, but the previous king had not yet died. THough we see no sign that this was a dilemma to Elijah it does present one to the reader, from which we extracted two lessons…
- Never question in the darkness what God told you in the light.
- If God has not told you something new, then the last thing you heard is still the truth
This is the lesson where we learned about Ahab desiring the field of Naboth and Jezebel’s manipulative plan of deceit and murder to obtain it for him against the law of Moses.
God uses Elijah to foretell Ahab’s death which happened just as God predicted.
Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son begins to reign in Judah. He is a man who loves God and has good character but is weak in regard to his relations with kings.
Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to go to war with him and he committed himself before inquiring of the Lord. He asks Ahab to call for a prophet, he discerns his prophets are puppets and asks for a real prophet who predicts doom and yet goes with Ahab into war anyway – dress as if he WERE Ahab.
It was by the decree of God that Ahab’s prophets were inspired by an evil spirit to encourage Ahab into battle that he might die even as God predicted.
Ahab dies and the prophecy is fulfilled.
- Never question in the darkness what God told you in the light.
- If God has not told you something new, then the last thing you heard is still the truth
- Honor God above your desires
- Know the scriptures and obey them
- Seek God, obey him and do NOT be afraid of man
- God always fulfills His word (He watches over it to perform it)
- Do not allow the passage of time to cause you to question God’s faithfulness.
King Jehoshaphat seemed to have no problem going out into the public of HIS domain, and commanding religious reform. He had idols destroyed and idol worship banished from the lands of his domain – namely Judah and Benjamin. He did not do this from the safety of his throne room, but by visiting the povences and townships within his jurisdiction. So a general fear of man does not seem to be his weakness, but rather a fear of those he considered his equal.
In the face of Ahab and his son, Jehoshaphat’s actions were more about peace keeping than peace making.
So as we learned in the last lesson, Jehoshaphat went with Ahab into battle against the word of the prophet, and so upon his return to Judah he was confronted by Hanani the prophet who said to him…
“Do you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the LORD’s wrath is on you. (3) However, some good is found in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles from the land and have decided to seek God.” ~ 2Chron. 19:2-3
Actions speak louder than words
While there is no record of Jehoshaphat’s reaction, there is a continuation of godly behavior from that point on.
This lesson ended with the famous battle where the singers and the musicians went into battle before the army and God defeated the enemy.
This was all because Jehoshaphat humbled his heart before God and the entire kingdom. When he heard of a vast army of people from Edom were coming to make war against him, he feared and in his fear he sought God!
He commanded that everyone fast, pray and seek God due to the words of Solomon as he prayed to God at the dedication of the Temple. Even the animals were to fast. God sent His word to Jehoshaphat and Israel through the prophet Jahaziel who said,
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
At this Jehoshaphat bows himself to the ground and worships God – showing faith before sight and with faith and strong hope they set out towards their enemies EARLY the next morning.
Unfortunately Jehoshaphat later made an unwise and ungodly alliance with Israel’s new King of the Northern Kingdom King Ahaziah, but in the end he finally stood up to him.
Ahaziah only reigned over the northern Kingdom for 1 year because God had predicted destruction upon Ahab and his descendants, but then commuted that verdict due to Ahab’s temporary repentance. Also, Ahaziah had sought the counsel of the god of Ekron instead of the Lord God.
- Peace keeping is always horizontal, external and superficial. It will do anything…say anything in order to avoid, dissuade or calm conflict. Most often it requires a lowering of moral convictions, wagering that the outcome of a lack of external strife is solid enough grounds for some flexibility in our moral convictions.
- Peace making, on the other hand, is mostly vertical, internal and substantively real. It concerns itself with attempting to convince those who oppose godly living to align themselves with God’s word in agreement and obedience. The result of which is peace with God and so also, peace with man.
- God considers the “Big Picture” not just individual actions in His judgments regarding us.
- It is important to live lives of worship and humility because it is right AND because we everyone sets an example before someone.
- We do not sin unto ourselves.
- If you are in authority, those under you and those who come after you will pay the price for your sin or reap the rewards of your faithfulness.
The kings who were in power during this time period were Joram, son of Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, Jehoshaphat. King Joram was evil like his father.
This is largely a story of a mentor and an apprentice. Elijah is about to be taken and Elisha is about to take his place.
Sometimes, our mentors will encourage us towards safety to test the resolve of our tenacity.
Sometimes, even events and locations which appear to be trivial or random may very well carry significance.
When Elijah was traveling to the place were God would take him home, we visited 4 locations. This was likely all part of God’s mentoring and preparing Elisha for Elijah’s departure – just as Jesus did with His disciples.
The name of each of these places progressively told a story.
- Gilgal means separation
- Bethel means House of God
- Jericho means encounter with God and victory through the obedience of faith
- Jordan means God is salvation.
Taken together Elijah was telling Elisha that through separation from earthly dependencies we come to God’s house to encounter HIm in our time of loss and in those encounters God reveals Himself to us as the God Who is our Salvation.
This trek took them from a place of sanctification (separation unto God) to the house of God and from the house of God to an encounter with God and from an encounter with God to being baptised into Him.
Theologically this is not inconsistent with Israel’s spiritual journey towards salvation.
At the same time, the Moabites were going to come against Joram and the Northern Kingdom. He asked Jehoshaphat to join him which he did. Elisha was called upon for counsel and he offered it, but only out of respect for Jehoshaphat.
They were to dig ditches in the wadi and God would send a flood which would fill the ditches so the armies could drink. It also was used by God to instigate the fall of Moab in battle.
- Sometimes, our mentors will encourage us towards safety to test the resolve of our tenacity.
- Sometimes, even events and locations which appear to be trivial or random may very well carry significance.
- Sometimes the wicked are blessed due to the presence of the righteous.
Elisha comes to a family who is in financial difficulty. The father/husband has died and they are in debt. This wise woman calls for help from the prophet.
By the power of God he worked a miracle of multiplication – where the little oil she still had in her house filled many gallons of containers which she sold and paid her debt and had enough left over to provide for her and her son.
I believe with all my heart God used this story to encourage Jesus when He by a similar miracle fed multitudes more than once.
I love that the scriptures offer us the history of some of God’s people throughout the years. I also love to see the influence they had on Jesus and the apostles.
Even our Lord was meek and lowly and open to learn from others.
Here we have the Lord of heaven, Who was not too proud to listen to and learn from the lives of regular mortal men. It only serves to make my heart love and respect Him more!
I know He was living under the veil of the flesh which obscured His eyes from perfect sight as it does ours, otherwise He’d have known EVERYTHING from the beginning and would not have needed the guidance and help of the Spirit. That we have in Jesus the God of Creation, looking to and learning from His Own Creations is something too wonderful for words!
He truly is lovely, pure and without pride or arrogance! He, more than any other, is the hero of all who have eyes to see Who He is!
God is Provider!
Also, we see what it means to reap a prophet’s blessing
This passage gives some meaning or definition to the words of Jesus Who told us in Matt. 10:40-42, “(40) The one who welcomes you welcomes Me, and the one who welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. (41) Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he’s righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. (42) And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple–I assure you: He will never lose his reward!”
It seems that Elijah and his successor Elisha led or at very least taught at a “school of the prophets”. I am not certain what this is all about, but one thing which can be safely arrived at is that every calling and trade can benefit from the instruction of those who have gone before us.
A man named Naaman was commander of the king of Aram’s army. He was afforded victories by God’s hand. He had a skin disease which, through a series of events, Led him to Elisha to be healed.
Upon being healed he desired to show gratitude by giving a reward, Elisha refused but his servant took it by deception and it cost him.
A prophet lost an axe-head in a river and God, through Elisha caused it to float so it could be recovered.
There is much in these passages about blindness and sight and ironically most of it is metaphorical.
- Jesus seems to have learned and drawn from Old Testament examples and was encouraged in faith towards some of the same miracles. The wise are open to learning from others – even if they are spiritually less mature.
- God is provider – as such never limit what He can do.
- Every calling or trade can benefit from being mentored or tutored by those who successfully have gone before us.
- Though God is PRIMARILY concerned with His people, and that is His primary focus on earth, He is also God of the whole earth and is not limited to just those of the house of Israel.
- God is concerned even over the little things in our lives and will come to our aid if we will trust.
- Spiritual blindness is by far worse than natural blindness.
Two new kings are on the thrones of Israel. Joram, King Ahab’s son is reigning the Northern Kingdom and Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat is reigning over Judah.
A letter from a dead guy – Elijah writes a letter to Jehoram which is given to him after Elijah’s death. So the contents were prophetic. Jehoram who was a wicked king and led Israel into sin and so the letter prophesied that Jehoram and his family would be struck with disease from which he would die a prolonged and rather terrible death.
God moves the hearts of the pagan kings of the Philistines and the Arabs to attack Jehoram and Judah.
Johoram is succeeded by Ahaziah who walked in the ways of Ahab.
Jehu, another son of Jehoshaphat is anointed king of the Northern kingdom BEFORE it’s current king Joram had died. The prophet told him God was appointing him to fulfill His word of judgment on the entire house of Ahab. So…Ahaziah, Joram and the entire house of Ahab (including Jezebel) were killed by Jehu the new King of the Northern Kingdom.
Jehu eliminated Baal worship in Israel, but did not follow God with all his heart. So God began to reduce the size of Israel.
- God reigns supreme in the affairs of man.
- God executes judgment
- Not all judgment happens when you think it should, but it WILL happen
- God honors those who serve Him
- God knows the future as well as the past
- Nothing is too great for God
- Sometimes what God calls someone to may not look like peace, but it does produce it
- Being mightily used by God does not mean God has all of your heart.
- Do not allow how mighty a ministry is, influence you to believe God has all of their heart.
Athaliah is the ONLY queen to rule in Israel. She was the mother of Ahaziah who had just been killed as a relative of Ahab by Jehu, king of the Northern Kingdom.
She took the throne by manipulation, murder and deciet. She killed all known heirs to the throne but she missed Joash her grandson, which in itself tells us much about this woman.
Joash was saved from this fate by his aunt (former King Ahaziah’s sister). He was eventually kept safe and reared in the care of the Priest Jehoiada who was his uncle by marriage.
Though God did not cause Athaliah to take power, she didn’t actually “take it”. Power BELONGS to God so it is inescapable that God most certainly allowed it for His Own reasons.
We know that it is NOT God’s design that a woman rule over men, so this was due to judgment.
Isaiah 3:12, “Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them. My people, your leaders mislead you; they confuse the direction of your paths.”
One of the reasons God allowed this was to stir the men of the kingdom out of compaciency and into a zeal for God and His ways. Also, the last few kings in the Kingdom followed after the footsteps of Ahab who himself was “ruled” by Jezebel. God has a way of bringing our own sins back upon ourselves.
Athaliah was hated by her subjects.
In 2Chron. 23:1 it says that seven years into Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada summoned his courage and took the commanders of hundreds into a covenant with him.
This was quite a courageous act since the priest had no official authority regarding the military. He did this because something needed to be done to right this wrong. God’s law did not allow for this woman to rule and beyond that she was a terribly wicked woman.
The commander in chief would have been in the back pocket (so to speak) of the king or in this case queen, so he could not be trusted. So Jehoiada called the commander of hundreds made a covenant with him which resulted in a circuit of levites coming to the temple as well and entering into a covenant with Joash the king. He is here called the king already even though Athaliah is still on the throne. This is because justice is about to be served and so the true ruler of Judah was already in a position of recognized power.
Athaliah was arrested, dragged to the horse gate and executed.
Of note is that no where are we told that Jehoiada prayed or sought God before taking this bold action. He didn’t need to – he knew what the law said, so he acted on what he knew.
- In womanhood is a desire to rule, and this is often done from the side by manipulation, cunning and deceit.
- God’s design which best glorifies and represents Him is male authority.
- Praying when you already know what God has to say about a matter can open you up to deception.
- God often judges us by bringing our own decisions and desires back upon us.
- Power belongs to God
- Just because God places someone in a position of power, does not mean He wanted them there or approves of them (consider the very existence of kings in Israel as an example).
- Sometimes we have to take action out of zeal for God and His law (ways). Jehoiada did not have military authority, but he was moved by zeal for God to take action beyond his scope or sphere of authority – but he did it in covenant with those who DID have military authority.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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