I finished 1 & 2 Kings not too long ago and now I’m making my way through the prophets. I thought I’d share briefly the blessings I am gleaning from these books and was going to write about the kings and prophets in this post, but it looks like I’ll only have room for the first for now. I’ll post reflections on the prophetic books and what I’m learning in future posts!
It has always been difficult for me to read through the historical books in the Bible because I have had an aversion to history in general. When I read anything, I skim over dates and names of people and places. I can read a whole book or watch a movie and not know the name of the main character! This makes it really really hard to study history, which to me, has always felt like an endless list of names, dates and places. It’s also hard because as much as I know it’s important to know history for the present, it often times seems really irrelevant to me. I’ve read through these books of the Bible before, but since each kingship seems so repetitive, it’s really hard to make it through since I don’t even remember their names! Besides gleaning a few principles here and there about how to live (or not to live) the history of Israel and Judah’s Kings never really caught my heart in a deep way until this time around.
This has been my first time making it through these books since studying at WTS and sitting under Jeff’s preaching in Staten Island, and it was so different for me reading this time. First of all, when I expressed my frustration when I started reading about the kings again and feeling like, “I don’t get why I need to know this!” Jeff pointed out to me that sometimes it’s hard for us to relate to the history of Israel because we don’t know what it’s like to live in war or under kings. With that in mind I tried to get myself more in the shoes of the original reader. I also repented of my prideful frustration and kept on thinking about 1 Timothy 3:16, reading in faith that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable. Secondly, I read it all in light of Jesus and the Gospel.
As I read through the accounts of the Kings, I found myself longing with the Israelites for the King. I remember I used to read through the rules of the kings, wishing there was someone in there that wouldn’t mess up. (Semi-embarrassing confession: Even before I was married, I kind of was looking for a good boy’s name in the Bible among the kings and so I was looking for a king that started and ended well…for possible yet-to-be children..) As I read a few months ago, I began to see more of the consequences of each king’s life on the people, and how having a good king and reign meant safety and prosperity for the people spiritually and physically. Their lives were tied into the rule of their king- his righteousness, his judgments, his fear (or lack of fear) of God. I started to understand how much of the people’s lives were shaped by who their king was and the consequences of his sins were often devastating. Yet each king disappointed and even the righteous ones could not usher in complete safety, peace, restoration, and prosperity. I felt in my own heart the longing for the King who would be like David- but even better. In my daughter’s children’s Bible, they call him “God’s Forever King”- the Messiah who would be revealed in the fullness of time to be Jesus Christ.
Through it all, I grew in my love for and hope in King Jesus who has, is, and will be ushering in the Kingdom of God. He is the God-man who descended to the lower regions of the earth (Eph. 4:9), died, rose again, and was lifted up to the highest place above all rule, authority, power and dominion (Eph.1:21). He is the risen, reigning King and will come again to establish the new heavens and new earth. He is the only king who commands and deserves my complete trust and only under his reign do I find rest on every side. In his Kingdom there is justice, restoration, and everlasting peace. His rule is the one we long for and eagerly await. His reign in the lives of his church and children means true peace, prosperity, and restoration even in the midst of the suffering and brokenness we live in until he comes again. Daily I am and for the rest of my life I will be plumbing the depths of the joy it is to be a daughter and servant in his Kingdom.