1, 2 Kings Bible Study
“I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to do it!” the boy yells at his mother as he storms out of the house. This is a familiar scene in our society. The words change, but the essential message is the same: A person is not open to advice because his or her mind is closed. Some advice may be sought, but it is heeded only if it reinforces the decision already made or is an easier path to take. It is human nature to reject help and to do things our way.
A much wiser approach is to seek, hear, and heed the advice of good counselors. Solomon, the world’s wisest man, urges this in Proverbs (see 11:14; 15:22; 24:6). How ironic that his son and successor, Rehoboam, listened instead to foolish advice, with devastating results. At Rehoboam’s inauguration, he was petitioned by the people to be a kind and generous ruler. The older men counseled him to “be a servant … and give them a favorable answer” (12:7). But Rehoboam agreed to the cruel advice of his peers who urged him to be harsh. As a result, Rehoboam split the kingdom. Learn from Rehoboam’s mistake. Commit yourself to seeking and following wise counsel.
The main events of 1 Kings are David’s death, Solomon’s reign, the division of the kingdom, and Elijah’s ministry. As Solomon ascended the throne, David charged him to obey God’s laws and to “follow all his ways” (2:3). This Solomon did; and when given the choice of gifts from God, he humbly asked for wisdom (3:9). As a result, Solomon’s reign began with great success, including the construction of the Temple—his greatest achievement. Unfortunately, Solomon took many pagan wives and concubines who eventually turned his heart away from the Lord to their false gods (11:1–4).
Rehoboam succeeded Solomon and had the opportunity to be a wise, compassionate, and just king. Instead, he accepted the poor advice of his young friends and attempted to rule with an iron hand. But the people rebelled, and the kingdom split with 10 tribes in the north (Israel) ruled by Jeroboam, and only Judah and Benjamin remaining with Rehoboam. Both kingdoms wove a path through the reigns of corrupt and idolatrous kings with only the clear voice of the prophets continuing to warn and call the nation back to God.
Elijah is surely one of the greatest prophets, and chapters 17 through 22 feature his conflict with wicked Ahab and Jezebel in Israel. In one of the most dramatic confrontations in history, Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. In spite of incredible opposition, Elijah stood for God and proved that one plus God is a majority. If God is on our side, no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31).
Life Application Bible Notes. 2007. Tyndale.