1 – 2 Kings 18:4 (ESV) 4 He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).
RAF: Even symbols of God’s goodness to us can become idols. In this case it was the bronze serpent that was raised up on a pole to stop the plague among the Israelites in Numbers 21. The transferrance is from God Himself, to a “thing.” Loving or focusing upon the gift above the Giver. Heavenly Father, this is so easy for us to do. Please keep us from it. Please keep our eyes on you.
2 – 2 Kings 19:14-19 (ESV) 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”
RAF: Hezekiah’s prayer is a wonderful model.
a. He went God with the letter, and “spread it before Him.” In other words, he spilled everything. H edidn’t leave out the details. He placed the ENTIRE matter before his God.
b. He acknowledged that God is the one who is “enthroned above the cherubim.” He does not ask for help based upon his own goodness, but based upon God being a God of mercy. “Above the cherubim is a reference to the mercy seat – the cover of the Ark of the covenant. He knows WHO it is he is appealing to.
c. He reminds himself that this merciful God is alone over “all the kingdoms of the earth.” Nothing is outside of His realm. He is Lord of all, so He is Lord over these things and these people too.
d. He asks God to take notice of the spiritual dimension of what is happening here. The words of Assyrians bring God’s honor into question – and God’s glory is why we are here. To promote it, protect it, and as made in His image – to partake of it.
e. Note then how his own language begins an upswing as he prays. Putting all these things back in perspective before God’s throne – he recognizes that his enemies gods are not really gods at all. They’ve lost their formidible threat in the process of prayer.
f. Then he makes his request. Simple. Straightforward. Save us. And do so, for your own name’s sake.
God hears such prayers.
3 – 2 Kings 22:8 (ESV) 8 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
Note where the book was all the time – In the house of the Lord. But it had fallen into disuse. It was ignored. Would to God there would be such a re-discovery in our own day. When men suddenly realize, this Bible is God’s Word – this is Him speaking. It is called “His Law” not because it is made up of commands and laws – those ARE there – but because it is Him speaking. And what that God has said can not be considered to be the way it is? It is as much law as the law of gravity is, as it is the command and tenets to be obeyed. Cherish God’s Word. When we love others, we listen to them. It can be no less true with our God.
4 – 2 Kings 22:13 (ESV) 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
RAF: It is incumbent upon each generation to find out what God’s Word says – and then to be about it. We may have had those who went before us who were disobedient or who had neglected the things “concerning us.” And we are to take it and improve upon what we’ve been left, by searching it out more diligently. We do not inherit the Church to leave it as it is, but to be a part of Christ’s work in it now.
5 – 2 Kings 24:3-4 (ESV) 3 Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the Lord, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, 4 and also for the innocent blood that he had shed. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord would not pardon.
Oh how grateful we ought to be that we live this side of Calvary. To know that the Cross is God’s declaration that He is willing to forgive. All who come to Him, He will in no wise cast out. This is the day of grace. Reader – do not squander it. Do not let it pass you by. It could end at any moment.
6 – The one-word theme of 1 Samuel is TRANSITIONS. It records Israel’s transitioning from a people whose God is King, and being led by prophets and Judges, to one with a human king – beginning with Saul.
The one-word theme of 2 Samuel is DAVID. It is primarily interested in his ascension to the throne and his rulership.
The one-word theme of 1 Kings is SOLOMON. It is focused upon his accession to David’s throne and his kingdom – and especially the erection of the Temple.
The one-word theme of 2 Kings is DIVISION. After Solomon’s death, civil war occurs and the nation is never whole again. From here on out references to Israel are generally (not exclusively) regarding the northern kingdom comprised mostly of 10 of the tribes. Israel’s first capital was Shechem, followed by Tirza. Then the permanent capital (until Israel’s demise by the Assyrians) was Samaria. References to Judah are those speaking of the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem still as its capital.
We now begin to look at 1 Chronicles, which could well bear the one-word theme of TRANS/DAVID as it recaps 1st & 2nd Samuel – with additional spotlights on certain events and people.