Bible Readings for October 12th
The two new kings whom we meet in 1 Kings 15 represent, respectively, the two main kinds of kings we will read about during the age of Judah’s kings. On the one hand, we have the wicked Abijam, who “walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father” (1 Kgs. 15:3). Then, on the other hand, we have Asa, who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done.…the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days” (1 Kgs. 15:11, 14). These stories are not merely historical trivia—the biblical narrator has much deeper theological principles to teach us.
In Abijam, we read a description of what will become a pattern for Judah’s wicked kings. Abijam walks in the sins of his father, Rehoboam, rather than obeying Yahweh with a whole heart as David had done (1 Kgs. 15:3). Just as Israel’s kings all drag the northern ten tribes down toward their eventual exile at the hands of the Assyrians, so kings like Rehoboam and Abijam pave the way for Judah’s exile into Babylon.
In Asa, however, we find hope that Yahweh can raise up another king after his own heart. It is important to understand, however, that Yahweh provides godly kings to his people not out of obligation but out of grace. The critical line for understanding the theology of the books of Kings comes in 1 Kings 15:4–5: “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” Justice would have required Yahweh to wipe out Judah at the first sign of kings like Rehoboam and Abijam, but Yahweh nevertheless remembers the covenant he had promised David, and so he remains faithful to his people for the sake of David, his servant.
Ultimately, this covenant logic takes on more importance as we see Yahweh continue to be faithful to his people, even now. It is not because we deserve God’s kindness that we continue to receive the gracious provision of a godly ruler. Instead, it is that God treats us kindly for the sake of the Son of David, Jesus Christ. No matter what sins we have committed or what idols we surround ourselves with, Jesus Christ stands ready through sheer grace to save his people and to preserve them for the day when he will return to establish his kingdom on this earth.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.