THE WAY OF THE KINGS

Today's devotion from 2 Kings 15-16.

Everyone talks about how difficult Leviticus is to read, but, to be honest, Kings can feel a bit daunting as well. Chapter 15 is just a list of kings. That's really it. There's no real action. No real suspense. It just reads like a catalog of this man reigned this long and was replaced by this man. What makes it worse is that we jump back and forth from Judah to Israel with mentions of Samaria thrown in for good measure.

However, if we stop and notice what we are reading, these chapters should cause deep reverence and worship. Think about it. How many kings have we read about? How many years did those respective kings reign? They led the two kingdoms, for better or worse, generation after generation. Some were long reigns, some were short. Some were semi-peaceful, some were bloody from the outset. Some were good, some were bad. Some did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, some did what was evil in His sight. Yet, each of them, in spite of all the power, prestige, and responsibility, failed to turn the people back to God.

Think about that.

Even the "good" kings couldn't rid the people of their bent toward paganism and idolatry. Even those that walked doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord stopped short of going to the high places and tearing down those false gods. Yet, you have read how year after year, king after king, the people continued in their unfaithfulness, but God remained steadfast in His mercy and grace.

However, a time is coming when the most merciful thing God can do is to turn the people over to their sins so that they might turn their hearts toward Him. Ahaz's budding relationship with Tiglath-pileser marks the beginning of that transition. This arrangement does not go well as we will see in 2 Chronicles 28.

Considering all of this, I would recommend a change in perspective. As we meditate on these two chapters, let's quit reading about Israel and Judah's flaws, and start seeing the relentless mercy of God. Then, let us consider that this same God is relentlessly merciful to us. When you make a misstep, and you will, know that the God who would not stop pursuing Israel from generation to generation of idolatrous worship will not stop pursuing you.