My Bible study partner and I began the study of 1st and 2nd Kings just about a year ago on September 12, 2019. I started my blogs (on my Blogspot site which can be found by clicking on the menu item labeled “Old Blogspot Blog” in the left column) on the history books of Kings on that day. Not every article since then has been on Kings but most have.
Based on a commentator’s suggestion, one of the key things we looked at was,
“Where is God dismantling Israel’s confidence and showing His omnipotent mercy and patience?”
During the last year, we have seen many situations where Israel (and later, Judah) tried to manage conflicts with their neighboring countries (and even among themselves) based on their own strength and/or wisdom. From my memory, I’d say every time they relied on themselves they failed, and in some situations ended up far worse off than they were to begin with. Even King David, often touted as a man after God’s own heart, failed to take things to God before acting, and the result was trouble for himself and for the following generations. Need an example? How about his misconduct with Bathsheba? Or his favoritism with his sons that led to interfamily rivalries and civil war, and the return of a divided kingdom? Some of the failings of the kings of Israel actually play a role today in the strife and chaos of the Middle East today!
Each time Israel’s kings or the people of Israel failed to plead to God or follow His Word, some kind of disaster happened. However, each time God, out of His omnipotent mercy and patience, protected Israel in some seemingly impossible way. God caused mighty foreign armies to flee before a few hundred Israeli soldiers (I hesitate to call these bands of men soldiers since most were mere farmers with farming implements to defend themselves). Other times in spite of evil Israelite or Judean kings, God provided necessary provisions to restore peace among His people.
God kept warning the people through multiple prophets (from Nathan during David’s era to Isaiah and Amos under the later kings) what disaster was awaiting them if they failed to return to obeying God and His Word. Time and time again, they failed to obey, yet God held off the disasters because of His mercy. Although God knew they would follow evil, He gave them chance after chance to repent (the same chances He gives us today).
As I looked back on these books (really starting with 1st and 2nd Samuel), I am challenged to look for God’s omnipotent mercy and patience in my own life. God has dismantled my confidence, especially when I try to solve life’s problems based on my own intelligence or strengths. Yet He also draws me to return to Him through the prodding of the Holy Spirit, and when I do His mercy and patience lead the way and restores me to right relationship with Him. This often leads to restoration in my life’s balance with the return of peace and hope.
Where is He dismantling your life so He can restore you with His omnipotent mercy and patience to a hopeful reality with Him as the focus?