“Good King/Bad King”

The history of the kings of Israel and Judah is long, confusing and full of intrigue and betrayal.  In the books of I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles much more is said about the king’s obedience and disobedience to God’s covenant with David than their wars and building projects.  In the northern kingdom of Israel right from the beginning Jeroboam caused the people to sin by setting up golden calves in Bethel and Dan.  Almost every king afterwards is said to, “do evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (1 Ki 16:30) Finally in the reign of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, they were taken into captivity by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. (2 Ki 17:6) “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God…” (2 Ki 17:7)  They had bowed down to Asherah and Baal and even sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire.

The nation of Judah was by no means innocent but some good kings were interspersed among the very evil ones.  Manasseh did more evil than the nations the Lord had driven out of the land. (2 Ki 21:2, 9)  His son, Amon, also did evil in the eyes of the Lord and forsook the Lord.  In spite of the heritage of his grandfather and father, Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father (ancestor) David. (2 Ki 22:2)  Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all of his life (1 Ki 15:14) as was that of Hezekiah. (2 Ki 18:3) The evil queen, Athaliah, tried to destroy the whole royal family and nearly succeeded, but the child Joash was rescued by his aunt and became king at the age of 7.  Sadly Judah was also punished and exiled for its sins against God by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. (2 Ki 24:10-14)

Most, probably none of us will ever become king or queen, but we are allowed by God to be captains of our soul.  He has given us the wonderful blessing of freedom of will and choice. (Mk 3:35) (Mk 8:34) (Rom 10:11) (Rev 22:17)  The Lord’s eyes are watching us just as he watched the kings of the two nations.  He is patient towards us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pe 3:9) (Jo 3:16) So, what will it be with us? Good “king” or bad “king”?  Of course Jesus Christ is the real King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15)  King of all the Earth (Ps 47:7) eternal, immortal, invisible and wise. (1 Tim 1:17) Hear ye Him!

—Jim Bailey