We are seeking to sweep through the Bible – to have an overview of what is covered in our Bible – and we are now in week four. In our general Bible reading, we see that others swept through the Scriptures at times – when on trial for their faith – Stephen in Acts Chapter 7 – Paul when preaching in Acts Chapter 13 – and also when on trial for his faith in Jesus Christ.
We have covered 2,000 years – 500 years – and 200 years – in the first three articles.
Now we are at 1,000 BC, and David is King in Israel.
This is the account of God’s people told from God’s point of view. These Chapters are not merely historical, intellectual or academic – they are relevant for each of us – for all mankind.
These kings had absolute power – unlike the monarch in our land. They made the laws and commanded the armies – no parliament – no voting – no opposition, politically speaking – although there was opposition – and sometimes from men of God, when the king was bad.
God tells us whether the king was a good king or a bad king – depending upon his spiritual qualities. Did he worship the God of Israel, or did he bow down to idols and do evil in the sight of the Lord?
Was he for morality, justice, integrity – or were these qualities lacking in his life?
We read of what God regards as important. God is primarily interested in the leaders’ beliefs and behaviour.
Under David and Solomon, Israel owned and occupied most of the land promised to Abraham – from Egypt to the Euphrates.
Solomon asked God for wisdom – and God was pleased to give him that. I am sure that is true of anyone who asks God for wisdom. God also gave Solomon wealth, riches, fame and power – people travelled to meet this man of God. The Queen of Sheba was so impressed by the splendour she witnessed in Jerusalem.
He built the Temple – and we have recorded his prayer at the dedication. II Chronicles Chapters 6 and 7. I Kings Chapter 8.
To build the Temple involved forced labour and heavy taxation – and the people in the north did not appreciate all this money being used in the south – strangely familiar and modern. It was a colossal task – planning – skill – over a period of time – faith – with everything in its place – and we have our place in the Body of Christ.
Worship was now centralized in Jerusalem. But the day came when buildings were over, and God was going to dwell in people – and that happened after Jesus Christ lived and died and rose and ascended and poured out the Holy Spirit.
These were the days of the Psalms and Proverbs – Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes – literary riches – which become the Word of God.
But then there was civil war – and the people of God divided – and there were ten tribes in the north and two in the south.
Eventually – they were taken off into captivity – around the year 586 BC.
But during these years, God raised up prophets. God put His words into men’s mouths.
Isaiah prophesied following the reign of Uzziah – and during the reign of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was a good king to begin with – and then not so good – II Kings Chapter 18 and Chapter 20.
Jeremiah is a prominent prophet at this time – giving us a vivid picture of the condition of the nation – and spelling out what was about to happen.
Manasseh succeeded Hezekiah – II Kings Chapter 21 – and he was bad – very bad – worshipping Molech – and sacrificing children in the valley to the south of Jerusalem.
Why do people want to do this when they have a Temple for pure holy God inspired worship? Ezekiel is writing and speaking out too.
Josiah – II Kings Chapter 22 – he was a good king – 23 verses 25 and 26.
When the Babylonians came, they killed Zedekiah the king – Chapter 25 verse 7 – having tied him up in chains – made him watch his sons being killed – and then gouging out his eyes.
The people rejected the Word of God – the Covenant which God made with this chosen people – and the men God raised up to speak forth His Word.
Although it is mentioned what will happen – off into exile – taken away as prisoners to a foreign land – there is always the promise that God would bring them back.
Isaiah 11 verse 11. Jeremiah Chapters 31and 33. Ezekiel Chapter 36: 16f.
The punishment of Exile in Babylon is only for a limited period – although 70 years is a long time.
We set the spiritual example – the tone of a meeting – where we go – can be influenced greatly by our very presence. If we have a leadership role that will be even more marked – as those around us will look for an example.
We see too the dangers of having liaisons with people who serve foreign ‘gods’.
Elijah asked the people – I Kings 18 verse 21 – how long will you waver between two opinions? And also we learn that we may not be all that popular with certain people.
In verse 17 – Ahab the king asks Elijah – “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
Josiah reminds us that we must be regular readers of the Bible. If we neglect its truth, we may face similar consequences as these people did.
But one thing becomes clear – and that is – the sovereignty of God.
God is in control. God is blessing what can be blessed – and dealing with situations which need His Sovereign Hand.
Solomon was great but Jesus Christ is greater. Matthew Chapter 12 verse 42
Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish – so Jesus would be raised after three days and nights in the grave – verse 40.
Jesus met and talked with Elijah and Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration – Luke Chapter 9 verse 28 – we see how much the Old and New Testaments are woven together and linked. We need all the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Even as we sweep through the Bible – see the Hand of God in your own life – taking time to worship Him and give thanks.
“Almighty God we see again Your Sovereign Hand – a God who blesses and a God who judges. Open us to the truth of Your Holy Word. Guard our lives in these days when many would wander from the authority of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. So help us, risen and living Jesus. Amen.”