Today is Day 27 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
1 Kings begins a summary, in narrative form, of Israel and Judah’s many kings.
The book begins with a united kingdom under king Solomon.
Solomon began well. in Chapter 3, God gave him a chance to ask for anything he wanted. Instead of asking for the normal things people might ask for (money, fame, a lifetime supply of Fruit Roll-Ups…), he asked God for wisdom. In turn, God not only blessed him with so much wisdom that people journeyed from around the world to ask him questions, but He also gifted him with great wealth.
Solomon became the richest king who ever walked the planet. P. Diddy, 50 Cent would be so jealous of Solomon’s money (Benjamins, mullah, cash, greenbacks, C-notes) according to 1 Kings 10:27.
The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.
Silver was so common that if you saw a bunch of silver lying around, you wouldn’t even pick it up. If you did pick it up, you might use it to skip across a lake. That is a lot of silver (and wealth in general).
He put it to good use at first by building the Temple. The Temple had been his father, David’s idea, but God told David not build it and save that for his son. So Solomon got to work on that task. The Temple was built and it was amazing – a beautiful place with gold and cedar everywhere you looked. It took 7 years to build!
He began well…but unfortunately that didn’t last. His money, fame, and desire for women took over. By 1 Kings 11, the dude had 700 wives and 300 concubines! What was the consequence of that? Exactly what God had warned of in Deuteronomy – “and his wives turned away his heart.” – 1 Kings 11:3.
Chapter 11 marks the end of the united kingdom and a long line of mostly wicked kings. The Northern Kingdom of Israel never had another Godly king. By the time we finish up 2 Kings, they’ll have gone through 20 wicked kings!
The Southern Kingdom of Judah would go on to have 11 wicked kings punctuated by 8 Godly kings.
What a solemn reminder that when God says something, He says so for a reason. He had put boundaries in place for the kings so that their hearts wouldn’t be turned away. Solomon failed, and the result was devastating not only for him, but eventually for the entire nation. Sin does not only effect you – it can devastate those around you as well.
In addition to the kings, we also met one of my favorite Bible characters, Elijah, in 1 Kings 17. This guy is incredible.
He calls a famine on the land.
He challenged hundreds of prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, defeats them, and slaughters them.
Later, he prays for rain, then outruns a chariot. You know – no big deal. A day in the life of Elijah.
He hears that Queen Jezebel wants to kill him, so he runs away and asks God to kill him (everyone hits low points in life).
The book ends with the condemnation of Ahab and his death. He had been warned by the prophet Micaiah not to go to battle or he’d be defeated. He didn’t listen, and 1 Kigns 22:34 says, “But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Isreal between the scale armor and the breastplate…”
And thus Ahab’s life was ended.
2 Kings picks up right where 1 Kings left off. In fact, most agree they were originally 1 book.
Here’s the moral of the story: let God be king. The fatal mistake for Israel began all the way back in 1 Samuel when they rejected God as king and wanted to be like every other nation with a human king. Bad mistake. Whenever your motivation is to “be like everyone else,” you can be guaranteed defeat. It’s ok to have a leader or be a leader, but make sure that whoever the human mouthpiece is, you are following God.