Have you ever felt like God was “done” with you? Perhaps you messed up really bad and you think, “This is it. I am toast. I’m too far gone. God’s done with me now.”
We have spent the last two and a half months studying the books of First and Second Kings. Originally one book, this work provided a chronological record of the succession of Israel’s monarchs. The story has lots of twists and turns but it ends at a low point in Israel’s history. Babylon has conquered Jerusalem. Their city walls are burned. The people of God have lots of questions. How did we get from the height of prosperity to the depths of conquest? Has God forsaken us? Dillard and Longman capture their situation well:
“The author of Kings lived during the Exile or very early in the postexilic period. His readers had in recent times experienced the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Davidic succession. For them the burning theological issues that had to be addressed if faith was to survive were “Has God failed?” “How could this have happened to us?” And “Is Marduk of Babylon really more powerful than Yahweh?” 
Kings is a book of history, but it is not a dry history. No, the writer provides for us theological commentary and explanations sprinkled throughout his work, allowing us to see the divine perspective of these earthly events as well. This aspect of the book offers its readers lessons both for back then and for today. What lessons can we learn from this ancient book of history? While there are many, here are three:
- Lesson # 1: Confront your Idolatry. There is only one living God and He deserves proper allegiance and worship. Kings teaches us that Yahweh is the Sovereign Lord (1 Kings 18:15; 2 Kings 5:15) and He demands exclusive allegiance from His people (1 Kings 8:41–43, 60; 2 Kings 5:15–18). He also demands to be worshipped properly. (1 Kings 11:1–40; 12:25–13:34; 14:22–24; 16:29–33). There are also consequences of false worship. (2 Kings 16:1–4) Idolatry is a major theme in Kings and in the whole Bible. This is because people struggle with it in every generation. Our hearts as John Calvin said are “idol factories.” We love to place our trust anywhere but in God, especially in things which we can see and offer us security, comfort and pleasure. The problem with idolatry is they fail us. Only God can handle the weight of that central place in our hearts. Only He can hold your whole world together. If not, your world will fall apart – just like theirs. Confront your Idolatry.
- Lesson # 2: Choose to Obey. Obedience leads to Blessing and Disobedience leads to Discipline. The causes and effects in Israelite history are directly tied to the blessings and curses found in Deuteronomy 27-28. Furthermore, Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is the basis for which a king is evaluated. From this perspective Kings teaches us that God has not failed His people by allowing the exile. Rather, God has fulfilled His word and His warnings by bringing upon them the consequences for disobedience. The Babylonian exile does not call into question the power of God, rather, it solidifies it. Like a good father, God is disciplining His people for their good. Is there anywhere in your life where God is disciplining you? How can you respond to Him with repentance and obedience today? The book of Kings teaches us that God is gracious and ready to forgive whenever His people truly turn to Him, regardless of how far you have fallen. Return to God. Come home. He is always waiting for you.
- Lesson # 3: Trust the Lord as a promise-giver and promise-keeper. The promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and the covenant given to King David, that he should have an eternal dynasty (2 Sam 7) always give the people of God great hope. William Dumbrell captures this idea well:
“While the issue dealt with in Kings is clear, there has been a division of opinion as to whether the books offer any message of hope for the future to the exiles. Has the history of Israel come to an end with exile, now that all the externals (temple, cult, priesthood, kingship, even land) have gone? Some have seen in the message of Jehoiachin’s elevation from prison in Babylon a note of hope being offered to Israel as the period closes (2 Kings 25:27-30)… Two questions therefore emerge as a result of the events of 587/586 BC and the destruction of Jerusalem, which the Books of Kings report as they close. Would Israel ever learn that God-given institutions must be protected from corruption? And more important, would Yahweh be prepared to begin again? Perhaps those who see in the release of Jehoiachin a slim note of hope have a point here. Perhaps this indirect reference to the promises given to the Davidic line (2 Sam 7) is just a glimmer that in the midst of despair and uncertainty, Yahweh would still remain faithful to his promises.”
God always keeps His promises. Though He may chasten His people, His covenant remains unchanging. That is good news. That hope is what we celebrate as we begin this season of Advent. Is God done with you? Not a chance. Put Him at the center. Choose to obey. Trust the Lord and His promises to you as yes and amen.
To learn more about the books of 1 and 2 Kings, you can visit our series page here.
 Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994) 173.
 William J. Dumbrell. The Faith of Israel: Its Expression in the Books of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1988) 92.