So far in our series, we have gone from creation, to deliverance, to Judges, and now to kings. We discussed the first two kings of Israel last time, Saul and David. We will continue our discussion of Israel’s history with the books of 1 and 2 Kings and how they continue the story of the Bible and the narrative of Israel.
The books of 1 & 2 Kings go together into one big story. It starts out with Solomon, David’s son, taking over as king over Israel. He starts by asking God for wisdom to rule and this is absolutely crucial to the story of the Bible. For the first time, we see a human asking for the wisdom of God instead of taking for themselves from the tree. This is a link back to the garden story. A man who rules on the wisdom of God is how it was intended to be in the beginning. So it seems like this human is willing to rule how God intended people to rule, with and by God’s wisdom. The story gets even better when the Queen of Sheba comes and visits King Solomon and they discuss wisdom and praise God together. It is a direct link back to the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve ruling together with God’s wisdom. However, all of this beauty takes a terrible turn when he breaks laws of the Torah worships other gods and leaves Yahweh by the wayside.
Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam and a man named Jeroboam split the kingdom of Israel into two. The southern kingdom, Judah and the northern kingdom, Israel are now separate entities. The rest of the first part of Kings and second Kings is a continuous rollercoaster story of kings who do good and then not so good and it’s just all over the place. Each kingdom has about 20 kings each and they are mostly not good rulers. Israel has no good kings in the eyes of God out of their 20 and Judah has 8 out of 20 good kings. While this story is unfolding, prophets come into the picture. In Kings it is Elijah and Elisha who take over the story line. However, even they do not reform Israel and eventually Israel and Judah are taken into exile. This is the tragic end that all of Israel’s sin has led them to. Exile was the worst possible choice for Israel because they were not faithful to the covenant and they lost their blessings of Yahweh. This story is meant to make you wonder what God will do next. Is he just completely done with these people, will there be another exodus like there was way back in the ancient days? Is all hope lost? These are the questions we have to wait and find out the answers to but let’s reflect for a moment.
We have had flashbacks that reflect the garden imagery that point back to the perfect humanity but all of it is not real. So this leads us to consider that it seems like the garden is a thing of the past, never to be attained again. However, remember the promise in 1 Samuel about the hope for a Messiah, that is the hope we are looking for. We are still looking for a seed of the woman to come and crush sin at its core, never to reign again. God is still in control and God still has a plan.
1 & 2 Chronicles may seem like a repeat of 1 & 2 Kings and much of it is the same stories but Chronicles goes much deeper and there is more to it than just the stories. For example, much of 1 Chronicles is about David. However, David in Chronicles is portrayed in a positive light. None of the negative stories about David is in the reading, only the positive ones. This is for a very good reason. The author is trying to portray David as this future Messianic King who will rule and be the seed we are looking for. Then we move into 2 Chronicles which focuses on the kings who ruled in Jerusalem after David. There is no focus on the northern rulers of Israel just on the kings of Judah who are of the line of David. All of these stories together tell a story as an example for the Israelites and us to learn from. Staying faithful to God and His commands leads to life and freedom.
Then we get to the end of the book of 2 Chronicles which is a very odd ending. It ends with the king of Persia letting the people go back to their land and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple. However, it ends incomplete and it seems rather strange. There is room for different interpretations on why such a strange ending but it seems to be that the author is looking for the Messianic hope that will restore God’s people to their glory. This is the end of the narrative part of Israel’s history before their exile and there are many lessons we can learn.
The story that leads to Jesus seems to be getting clearer and the narrative of Israel seems to be coming to an end. Adam and Eve broke the divine command once and now another group of people, the Israelites, have also broken several of the commands of God and nobody seems to be able to make the mark. The hope is that the seed of the woman will come and restore God’s people, just as He promised.