Bible Readings for October 13th
In 1 Kings 16, the northern nation of Israel descends quickly into chaos because of the sin of their many kings. Where Asa, the godly king of Judah, reigns for a total of forty-one years (1 Kgs. 15:10), the northern nation of Israel goes through a series of kings in rapid succession. Israel will eventually experience the reign of longer-term kings, but, as we will see tomorrow, a long tenure is not always a good thing either.
To begin, remember that Yahweh had promised to cut off the house of Jeroboam for the sins into which he had led the ten tribes of Israel (1 Kgs. 14:10). Only two years into the reign of Jeroboam’s son Nadab, Yahweh fulfills that promise by sending Baasha to murder Nadab and to kill all the members of the house of Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 15:27–30). Baasha also, however, leads the nation of Israel into sin and idolatry, walking in virtually the same ways that Jeroboam had walked (1 Kgs. 15:34). For this reason, Yahweh promises to cut off Baasha’s house entirely, just as Baasha himself had cut off the house of Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 16:1–4). Therefore, only two years into the reign of Baasha’s son Elah, Zimri, the commander of half of Elah’s chariots, kills Elah when he is drunk (1 Kgs. 16:10). Soon thereafter, Zimri strikes down all the rest of the house of Baasha, leaving not a single male among either Baasha’s relatives or his friends (1 Kgs. 16:11). But even Zimri doesn’t last long. Only seven days into Zimri’s reign, the rest of Israel decides to crown Omri king instead (1 Kgs. 16:15), so Zimri commits suicide by burning down the king’s house over him (1 Kgs. 16:18).
We will look more at the reigns of Omri and Ahab tomorrow, but for now, consider the fact that all these kings of Israel reigned during the tenure of Asa alone. Sin often seems more exciting and life-giving than obedience, but again and again, we see that the exact opposite is true. As Paul writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The natural result of sin is death—not only for us, but also for those around us whom we drag down with us.
The gospel, though, is that God, through Jesus, has provided us an alternative to receiving death as our compensation for sin. Jesus’ life was cut short so that we could live eternally with him in glory through the power of his resurrection. Put away your idols and the sin that so easily entangles you and embrace the life that God offers you in Christ by walking in obedience to him.
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.