Futility. When I think of 1 Kings that is what I think and feel. Futility. To the point I’m kind of dreading the study of 2 Kings because I know it is, “Second verse, same as the first.”
It feels like futility because one king after the other did evil in the eyes of the LORD. Occasionally one would do good but he wouldn’t ever fully remove the pagan idolatry. Then just as things were looking up, another king would rise up and do evil again.
The two things that would trip them up? Always the Baals and Asherahs. Why? Because these were the gods who encouraged them into sexual immorality.
If there are two things that I have discovered that God hates, and I mean really hates, it is that of sexual immorality and harm to children and babies. As one friend of mine pointed out, they kind of go together. Sexual immorality produces babies and leads to parents disposing of their would-be children.
Also these two things are the most sacred to who we are as people. Our sexuality is core to our being. And there is such a sacredness of life that is indisposable.
It makes me think, how are we doing nation? How is our nation and church doing in the realm of sexual purity? Do we wait until we get married to live together and be involved sexually as man and wife? How are we doing nation and church with the issue of caring for life?
This theme is woven deep into the words of the Scripture and deep into the heart of God. But for sure there is more to glean from these Scriptures in 1 Kings.
1) Everybody can start well and sporadically live well but how do you end? Do you stay the course in the entirety of your life? Solomon did not (1 Kings 11). We know him as wise and wonderful but he rebelled in his heart because of his lust for lust. Because of this a nation was torn apart. Will we stay the course?
2) Do we want the truth or do we want to hear what we want to hear? Each person thinks they have the truth by the news channel they watch, but is truth really desired? Is there time devoted to more than one message in the discovery of the actual truth, not just what our favorite news station says? This was often the problem we read about in 1 Kings. They didn’t want the truth.
Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders for the truth and rather listened to his friends. What they said fit his agenda better (1 Kings 12). Ahab listened to the advice of his wife and listened to the words of his own prophets because it better suit his agenda (1 Kings 22). Both of these led to disastrous consequences.
Do we really want truth or do we want to hear what affirms our own agenda? If we do it takes time and intentionality to listen to the other side and to seek out the truth.
In Jeremiah’s time people wanted their own ideas affirmed above the truth. It is why he said, “truth has perished” (Jer 7:28). When people go here disaster is sure to follow.
Unfortunately the internet has made this become common place within every nation. We have news stations that will support an agenda and not the truth, and so we believe them. We have YouTube and Facebook and Google that works on algorithms that feed us what we want to hear. Therefore we think everyone around us thinks the same way and we can’t believe some of our friends actually think different. These social media platforms create herd mentality when every recommendation further affirms our agenda and not necessarily the truth.
3) Do we have the courage to stand up to walk in righteousness even if our family does not? It takes courage to chart a different path than family. But being born into a difficult family is no excuse for unrighteousness. Will we walk a different way like Asa and others (1 Kings 15)?
4) Will we fully obey the gospel or just mostly? Do we have the courage to remove all that is evil in our lives or just mostly? As leader of a nation that was in covenant with God, Asa removed his evil grandmother and removed the temple prostitutes and removed a lot, but “the high places were not taken away” (1 Kings 15:14). Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of his father Asa but he too did not remoeve the high places that were such a stumbling block to Israel (1 Kings 22:43). Will we purge our lives completely of the things that are idolatrous?
5) Will we lead a life in a way that the generations after us will be inspired to live for the LORD? It’s much easier for the children to know what righteousness looks like when it is lived out by those who have gone before us.