We are exhorted in Ephesians 5:10 to ‘find out what pleases God’! Much of Scripture helps us with that pursuit and yet some passages, some whole sections or even books are less about an example but more like a mirror. There are many passages, many characters in the pages of Scripture that are not an example of the life God desires for us or from us but are a mirror into which we can look to see how not to live.
As we read the books of 1&2 Kings we will come across a great number of kings who are the exact opposite of what God desires for our lives or from our lives. And when we do come across them, we are to consider Scripture as a mirror.
Is there anything in their bad example that reflects our lives, our hearts or our thinking in some way?
The context for 1&2 Kings is 1 Samuel 8 that moment in Israel’s history when the people clamoured for Samuel the prophet to give them a king so that they could be like all the nations around them. They weren’t satisfied with God as their King, they wanted an earthly king….
God warned them through Samuel, that this was not a good request, that it was not good to reject God and to put their faith in man in God’s place, God warned them of all the hardship and evil a human king would bring to them…but they would not relent and so God gave them king Saul. And from this very first king hardship and pain came to God’s people, followed by David who made many errors and the nation suffered rebellion and wars and death as a result. As we come to 1&2 Kings we will encounter a total of 40 kings (over Judah & Israel) and the BIG IDEA is that on the whole the kings despite some exceptions were a huge disappointment.
In 1 Kings, king David is dying and even before he is dead his son Adonijah is jostling for position trying to become the next king Israel by scheming and posturing, positioning himself. And yet, God had told David that his son Solomon was to be the next king and was to have the honour of building God’s temple (see 1 Chronicles 22:6-10).
So David acts to quell the rebellion of Adonijah and appoints Solomon as king and charges Solomon to ‘walk in God’s ways’ to keep God’s commands so as to see God’s blessing on his life and on God’s people , to see God establish his kingdom (see 1 Kings 2:1-4)…
But the very next thing they do together is to plot revenge for things people did during David’s reign (1 Kings 2:5-9) and then spurred on by this bad example Solomon spends the remainder of 1 Kings 2:10-46 having people murdered to establish his kingdom!
Solomon doesn’t do what he was charged to do – to obey God and then trust that God would establish his kingdom, NO, he decides to do it his own murderous way. And so, 1&2 Kings is off to a rollicking bad start.
What relevance does this have for you and me in 2018?
How are you living? Are you living with the exhortation of Ephesians 5:10 pulsating through your life? Is it your desire to live in such a way that your life pleases God? (which was the charge David gave Solomon) Is that a motivation that’s central to your life?
If it is – then you know that you love God (1 John 3:10). And you can be assured that God will keep you safe to the very end (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Or is there something God has promised you that has not happened yet (like Solomon) and you feel tempted to ‘make it happen’ in your own strength? Something you feel tempted to do something God’s not told you to do – to ensure it happens…?
Don’t make the mistake Solomon made.