God sent prophet after prophet to Israel to warn them to turn back to Him and to leave the idolatrous worship they had chosen over Him. While the Bible shows brief periods of turning back to Him while there was a king ruling that followed after God, most of the kings chose to forsake God. Throughout the books of 1st and 2nd Kings, we see king after king and it can almost become monotonous reading through these books. However, there are some important lessons we can learn.
The first lesson is that a nation’s leader sets the spiritual atmosphere of the entire nation. If the person in charge of Israel followed after God, the nation followed after God and they saw blessings from God. However, even the good kings that followed God did not completely wipe out idolatry from the nation which always left a door open for the nation to revert back to idol worship. We also see that whenever the king chose to forsake God, the nation experienced attacks, famine, and other calamities. Unfortunately for the Children of Israel, they had more kings following idolatry than they did kings that followed God.
The second lesson we learn is that a nation’s leader sets the moral compass of the entire nation. Whenever we see an evil king that forsakes God, we find the people following the king in the same behaviors and practices. If the king practice idolatry, so did the people. If the king sacrificed his own child to a false god, so did the people. They practiced witchcraft, soothsaying and “sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger” (2 Kings 17: 17). And in 2 Kings 17:13-14, we find that they did not follow God’s commandments and statutes. If the king’s heart was bent towards sin and evil, so was the people’s. Today, we can learn from what the Bible tells us about Israel’s kings and understand just how important the right to vote is. As a democracy, we the people choose who will be the leader of our nation and as Christians, we have the responsibility to learn all we can about the candidates running for any political office. We also have a responsibility to pray for them once in office – even if it’s not the person we voted for.
The third lesson we can learn is that turning away from God always has consequences. It wasn’t like God didn’t warn the nation. He did – time and time again through prophet after prophet. Yet they chose not hear God’s warnings. They stubbornly chose to live like the rest of the world around them. Finally, God had enough and the Assyrians conquer them and carry them away as captives. The Israelites lost the Promised Land.
These lessons can be applied to nations or to individuals. Because God is merciful, He does offer us the chance to change. The Israelites had prophets sent by God to bring conviction. Today, God works through the Holy Spirit that dwells within Christians to bring conviction. He can also send people into our lives to convict us when we are living outside of His will. It might be through the words of a friend, a sermon from the pastor, a devotional on a website, or a song on the radio. The Israelites had the opportunity to turn back to God, and when we are living in sin, we also have the choice of repenting and turning back to God or we can be like Israel and stiffen our necks and stubbornly continue in the sin. But if we continue sinning God will eventually say, “Enough!” and He will step in with consequences.
What sin are you stubbornly hanging on to? Will you be a stiff-necked person with an unrepentant heart? Or will you listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and turn back to God?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.