King Rehoboam died after ruling over the Southern Kingdom of Judah for 17 years, and was replaced by his son, Abijah. Both were kings in David’s regal line, and members of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Like his father Rehoboam before he was chastised by invading Egypt, Abijah encouraged Judah to betray God by worshiping other gods. He returned to God when Judah was attacked by the Northern Kingdom, and the Lord responded by defeating them soundly. But Abijah’s reign was short, lasting only three years.
Within David’s line there were kings who did seek to follow after God and to honor Him with their actions. These good kings led the nation of Judah to return to the Lord and they were again able to experience the blessings and peace of God. The first of these good kings was Abijah’s son, Asa, who God kept safely on Judah’s throne for forty-one years.
11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. 12 He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron. 1 Kings 15 ESV
During Asa’s reign in Judah, a host of failed kings came and went in the Northern Kingdom. Scripture tells us that in God’s eyes, each one of these kings was worse than the one before. They often fell victim to conspiracy, subterfuge and revenge as God allowed them to experience the full consequences of their ungodly choices and actions. The failed Northern kings of Israel during Asa’s reign included Jeroboam, Nadab (Asa’s second year), Baasha (Asa’s third year), Elah (Asa’s twenty-sixth year), Zimri (Asa’s twenty-seventh year), Omri (Asa’s thirty-first year) and Ahab (Asa’s thirty-eighth year).
The last of these kings, Ahab, was the worst of them all. He also interacted with two of the more famous people in the Bible: his evil wife, Jezebel, and his nemesis, the great prophet, Elijah. There will be more to say about these two individuals in future meditations.
It is doubtful that any of the Northern kings were able to experience anything like a true joy in life – that largely comes from having a faith relationship with God. The Lord brings refreshment to the soul and healing to our bones, especially in times of hardship and trouble. The seven Northern Kings rose and fell while Asa enjoyed a relatively stable throne in Judah.
Through Asa, God kept the regal line of David in place. The apostle Paul describes the fruit of this regal line – a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy through the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the seed of David.
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:1-3 NKJV
Many of the prophets that Paul refers to here lived during this era of kings. We will look at some of these individuals who were called and used by God, and often found themselves rising far above the standards of the kings that God had sent them to advise.
The prophets were ultimately pointing to Jesus, the object of David’s line:
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45 NKJV
These prophets saw His coming in their spirits through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but in their times they were only able to physically see placeholders – the imperfect kings who preserved the regal line. Jesus later said of these prophets to his disciples:
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13:17 NKJV
I am extremely grateful that God has kept me from so many of the negative consequences that I have deserved in life. But for His grace, I would not be here to write this.
Without accepting God’s generous offer of mercy, forgiveness and charity of judgement, we would be not be able to experience His serenity, peace, and joy in our lives. We are able to see the presence of Christ all around us in the many blessings He gives and in the power of the Holy Spirit as we read His word and gather together to worship Him.
God is constantly building and rebuilding healthy and full lives from states of brokenness, fear, despair and discouragement. He gives all of us hope for the new day as we turn to Him and surrender all of our burdens and failures into His loving hands. With these, He will craft a masterpiece of a life as we walk with Him.
Thought for the Day: When God was making the stars, He was thinking about you.