During Israel’s early days of living in the promised land she was governed and led by judges. There was no king over all the people of Israel but God. Then they cried out for an earthly king and God gave them Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. You may remember that Saul was not a good king. He disobeyed the Lord in many ways and the Lord raised up David from the tribe of Judah to be king over Israel in his place.
David was God’s chosen king, the one whose descendant would be the Messiah (1 Samuel 7:12-14). Eventually David’s son, Solomon, became king and he oversaw a time of relative peace, expansion, and prosperity for the nation of Israel; but he was not the Messiah. Solomon chased after other gods and God promised judgment for Solomon’s disobedience. That judgment came almost immediately after Solomon’s death and Rehoboam’s (his son) rise to the throne, in the form of a rebellion led by Jeroboam. Soon all of Israel, save the tribe of Judah, called Jeroboam, not Rehoboam, king. So, the nation lay divided as the kingdoms of Judah in the south and Israel in the north, torn in two by the trickle down sinfulness of her king (1 Kings 11:9-13) and the sovereign will of God (1 Kings 11:29-37).
It is in the context of this divided kingdom that the prophet Elijah became a key player. He entered the scene during the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, who “did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all [the kings] who were before him,” (1 Kings 16:30). As a prophet, Elijah (and after him, Elisha) was the bearer of the word of God. His job was to deliver that word to the people of Israel; more specifically to the king! During his reign over the united kingdom, David had a close relationship with Nathan the prophet whereby he accepted the guidance and accountability the Lord gave to him by His word through Nathan. In the northern kingdom, the relationship between kings and prophets would not be so amiable. Instead it would take on an adversarial nature. Most of the passages in this section of 1-2 Kings focus on the adversarial relationship between these two prophets of God and Ahab (or his sons).
When we go through a book like 1-2 Kings some of you may be bored by all of the “history” – names and places from long ago are not your thing. Others of you will crave more historical detail. You will want to know what was happening on the broader stage of the world in the days of Elijah and Elisha. Some of you will be put off by the earthiness of these narratives. There are portrayals of violence and references to sexuality throughout many of these passages. My two boys, among others, will love it all the more for this.
In all these things, let me remind you that what we are reading is a theological narrative of the events. We are reading a true story about an apostate kingdom being called to repentance by God through His faithful prophets. In these narratives we see our sovereign God acting at times righteously in mercy and at other times righteously in judgment. It is crucial that we remind ourselves that we are not reading, in 1-2 Kings, about a different God from the One we serve today. Israel’s God is our God and so there is much for us to learn from these texts. We will learn about His patience, grace, mercy, and love for His people (both within and outside of Israel’s boundaries!). We will learn about His power, glory, and fury as well. We will also learn about the wisdom of those who fear Him and the folly of those who fear Him not. In all of this I pray that the Lord gives us eyes to see and ears to hear His Word, to accept it by faith, and to live by grace all the more.
- Revival, Not Resurrection November 25, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 13:14-25.
- A Limited Embrace of God’s Grace November 17, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 13:14-25.
- No Falling Words November 10, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 9:14-26.
- The Anointed Assassin November 3, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 9:1-13.
- The Weeping Prophet October 27, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 8:7-15.
- God’s Faithfulness to the Sojourner October 20, 2013 This sermon was delivered by Rev. Chad Reynolds at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales on October 20, 2013 and is based on 2 Kings 8:1-6.
- A Promise Fulfilled October 13, 2013 This sermon was delivered by Rev. Chad Reynolds at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales on October 13, 2013 and is based on 2 Kings 6:24 – 7:20.
- The Power and the Glory October 6, 2013 This sermon was delivered by Rev. Chad Reynolds at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales on October 6, 2013 and is based on 2 Kings 6:8-23.
- No Matter Too Small September 29, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 6:1-7.
- The Corrupting Power of Worldliness September 22, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 5:15-27.
- The Power of Grace for a Man of the World September 15, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 5:1-14.
- God’s Power in the Man of God September 8, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 4:38-44.
- All is Well September 1, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 4: 8-37.
- Elisha’s Religion: Pure and Undefiled August 25, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 4:1-7.
- Grace and Mercy Flow from God: 2 Kings 3 August 18, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 3.
- The Spirit of The Lord Remains: 2 Kings 2:1-25 August 11, 2013 This sermon is based on 2 Kings 2:1-25.
- Passing the Mantle: Full Version August 4, 2013 In 2 Kings 2:1-15, Elijah is taken to heaven and Elisha becomes his successor.
- Like Father, Like Son: 2 Kings 1 July 28, 2013 In 2 Kings 1, Ahaziah, the king of Israel fell sick and sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron whether he will live or die. “Is there not a God in Israel?”, Elijah asks. He also tells Ahaziah that he will die because of his lack of faith in God.
- Ahab’s Itching Ears July 21, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 22: 1-9, 13-28, and 37-38.
- Against God and Him Only Do We Sin: 1 Kings 21 July 14, 2013 Verse 25 of 1 Kings 21 pretty well sums up what is going on with Ahab: There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord ...
- Condemnation for a Job Half Done: 1 Kings 20:26-43 July 7, 2013 In 1 Kings 20:26-43, Ahab and the tiny Israelite army defeats Ben-hadad and the Syrians again. And although he was only successful with the power of God behind him, Ahab chose not to follow God’s command to finish off Ben-hadad and allowed him to live.
- Considering Well What We Have to Do: 1 Kings 20:1-25 June 30, 2013 In 1 Kings 20:1-25, Ahab and the completely outnumbered Israelite army defeats the Syrian army under Ben-Hadad. The Syrians blamed the crushing defeat on the fact that the Israelite gods were “gods of the hills” where they were fighting (the home-court advantage). If only they could fight the Israelite army on the plains where the Syrian ...
- The Passing of the Mantle: The Preview June 23, 2013 This sermon is based on I Kings 19:9-21.
- Judgment Against Israel’s Hardheartedness: 1 Kings 19:1-18 June 16, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 19:1-18.
- The Prophet of Prayer: 1 Kings 18:36-46 June 10, 2013 In 1 Kings 18:36-46, Elijah, the Prophet of Prayer, continued to pray to God until the rains returned.
- My God can beat up your god: 1 Kings 18:30-40 June 2, 2013 In 1 Kings 18:30-40 Elijah shows the people of Israel that “the Lord, he is God.”
- The Sovereign Lord and the Subversive Servant: 1 Kings 18:1-19 May 26, 2013 In 1 Kings 18:1-19, Elijah confronts Ahab. When Ahab asks…”Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” Elijah answers, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the ...
- Catching Breath May 19, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 17:17-24.
- The Lord Taketh Away and He Giveth May 12, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 17:1-16.
- A Reign of Darkness May 5, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 16:29 – 17:1.
- The Slippery Slope of “Bootleg” Religion April 28, 2013 This sermon is based on 1 Kings 12:25-33.