“Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:11–12)
Recently, while reading through the Bible in a year, my plan covered the time of the kings of Judah and Israel. After the first three kings of Israel, the kingdom divided in 931 B.C. Two of those three Kings did not end well including Solomon! And there are some good lessons to be learned therein. But I was thinking of the kings of Judah.
I remembered that in the ten northern tribes of Israel there were no good kings. There were nineteen kings and all were evil! They with their tribes were judged by the LORD and carried away into captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C.
In Judah (the name given the southern kingdom, the tribes Judah and Benjamin), there were twenty kings and eight did “what is right before God.” I remembered that, and a lot about their lives. But what I didn’t remember was that they didn’t finish well!
What a shame! To have lived your life mostly right before God, experiencing his protection and provision, and yet in your later years finish poorly, away from God and His purposes.
Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t let it happen to me! Let’s purpose together not to let it happen to each other, to the best of our ability. I propose we look at these kings of Judah and learn from their mistakes. We can look at their successes too! That’s really what gives light to their mistakes. Their lives are given to us for an example as the above Scripture tells us. Their lives are an open book. And so are ours, before God. Let’s consider their ways, and ours.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:7)
Names like Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah? Are you as shocked as I was? Look them up. Read and learn, asking the Spirit to be your guide to insight, wisdom, and obedience. You’ll be blessed by wisdom from the LORD. Wisdom to help you in your journey, and to finish well.
I’ll give you a little insight into Asa’s history here, but the rest are just as fascinating and instructive.
“He [Asa] gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resided with them, for many defected to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” (2 Chronicles 15:9) “And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.” (2 Chronicles 15:19)
“At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. Now, the acts of Asa from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa slept with his fathers, having died in the forty-first year of his reign.” (2 Chronicles 16:7–13)
A forty-one year reign! Mostly good! But it ended like this. Don’t let this happen to you.
The second king of Israel, David, did finish well! Even though he wasn’t perfect and went through a lot of trials; mostly self inflicted or sin inflicted. The Scripture eventually says of him that he accomplished the purposes of God in his generation. May we give ear to the Scriptures, and our hearts to God, so this may be said about us.
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, …” (Acts 13:36)
Godspeed on your journey! May the King of Heaven grace you to serve Him all your days. [a prayer]