When I started this series about the Cycle, I wondered what would happen when we came to the four books of Kings and Chronicles – how to present the chaos presented there? How can tedious failure be interesting?
For weeks and months we have classified each verse of the Old Testament according the Cycle: unity with God, commandments, temptation, disobedience, disunity, warning, judgment, never-ending love of God, repentance, and restoration leading back to unity with God. But Kings and Chronicles are more about how disunity itself is defined more broadly by God, and I find that each verse can be classified by the other nine elements of the Cycle.
So Kings and Chronicles define disunity in depth! This is fascinating because I now realize how few verses from Genesis up to this point really do address disunity.
Behold what emerges just from Chapters 15 and 16! Please read these chapters right now and then consider this list of things leading to disunity:
- Rehoboam’s son Abijam becomes king of Judah, does all the sins of his father, and “…his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord…like the heart of his father David” (15:3b).
- David is referred to as wholly devoted to God and never turning away from God’s commandment, except for Bathsheba, a notoriously horrid failure intrigue and murder.
- Asa becomes king of Judah for 41 years, does right in the sight of God, and is wholly devoted to the Lord all the days of his life, although he fails to remove the high places detestable to God.
- Meanwhile, Baasha becomes king of Israel, does evil in the sight of the Lord, and causes all Israel to sin before the Lord, provoking God to anger.
- Zimri, an evil man, is used by God to fulfill prophecy by God’s prophets to completely annihilate the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha, because they “…provoked God to anger with their idols” (16:13) and caused Israel to sin.
- Omri becomes king of Israel, does more evil than any king before him, causes Israel to sin, and provokes the Lord to anger (16:25-26).
- Ahab becomes king of Israel, marries Jezebel, worships Baal, and does more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings before him (16:33), a progressive free-fall down the slippery slope of temptation and disobedience.
- Hiel, whose background is obscure, begins to rebuild Jericho, in express violation of the commandment of God to Joshua.
Successive kings outdo each other is straying from the rule of law; succumbing to the temptation and disobedience of worshiping foreign gods; each king worse than the one before; causing their entire nation to sin before God; denouncing their faith; and completely eliminating the word of God from their memory.
We see this same pattern more clearly every day here in America, even this morning, in school toilets and locker rooms, as decreed by our king!
But by contrast, God defines perfect unity in these same chapters (15:5, 11-15).
David and Asa, both having sinned; but always wholly devoted to the Lord; never turning aside from any commandment; doing right in the sight of the Lord God; never perfect, but always repenting; restored by the never-ending love of God.
This means you and I could change our nation like David or Asa, if chosen by God. We are not disqualified by our sins; we are only disqualified if we are not wholly dedicated to Jesus or turn away from or disavow any of his commandments. Instead, we must continuously repent.
Restoration to perfect unity with God flows from David and Asa to Jesus, and through you and me.