As I am reading through the Book of 1 Kings, I am amazed at how quickly Israel turned ungodly. Once the Israelites split into northern and southern kingdoms, both kingdoms backslid. However, the northern kingdom (called Israel) descended more rapidly. Instead of serving with humility in the fear of God, the kings of Israel patterned themselves after the world. They epitomized the slogan, “power corrupts.” Listen to God’s Word concerning King Abijam: “Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem…and he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 15:1-3). The Lord reminds us of important spiritual truths from the life of Abijam. I present just a few:
- Life doesn’t work well without God. When you abandon the presence of God, you open up yourself to chaos. The kings who forsook God and His Word reaped confusion and disorder. Most also died at a young age. For us, living godly does not mean without challenges; it means our lives are ordered around the presence and peace of God. Our God is a God of order.
- The influence of parents is powerful. For the most part, the princes followed the example of their fathers. Abijam followed the ways of his father, Jereboam, and paid an awful price. Never underestimate the power of your influence. Even if you are not a biological father (or mother), your life creates a path for others to follow.
- God gives us a way out. All the kings of Israel knew about King David. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly, and God blessed his reign. The kings who chose evil had no excuse. In the same way, we look to our King Jesus. He not only came as an example, but He rose from the dead and sent back His Holy Spirit to live inside us! Through Him, we have the power to say NO to sin and YES to Him.
As I ponder the sad parade of ungodly kings, I keep asking myself, “What were they thinking?” However, I only have to look as far as my own fleshly nature to see how easy it is to self-destruct. May we take warnings from the kings and receive God’s grace to direct our hearts to the Lord and His ways.
Pastor Mark Boucher