We Three Kings of Judah
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:7
Reading about the kings who descended from David, we might shake our heads and say, “Surely the Forever King will not come from this bunch!” Few of Israel’s kings were exemplary; most weren’t people we’d want to claim as relatives, much less our rulers. Some, like Solomon, began well but finished far from God (1 Kings 11:3).
Solomon’s corrupt lifestyle probably had a negative influence on his son Rehoboam. When he became king, Rehoboam chose to listen to his peers, not his people. “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier,” he told them. “My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”
As a result, most of the tribes of Israel rebelled and crowned their own king, Jeroboam, who was not of David’s line. Only Judah and part of Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam. Under his rule the people indulged in wickedness: “By the sins they committed they stirred up [God’s] jealous anger more than their fathers had done (1 Kings 14:22).
Rehoboam’s son, Abijah, only reigned three years. He committed all the sins of his father. In contrast, Abijah’s son Asa reigned forty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD as David had done and his heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life (1Kings 15:10-11,14). He even deposed his grandmother, the queen mother, because she made a pole for Asherah.*
God preserved the line of David in spite of their idolatry and disobedience: “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave [Abijah and the other kings] a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up [sons to succeed them] and by making Jerusalem strong (1Kings 15:4-5).
God not only makes promises, He zealously accomplishes them. Hundreds of years after God’s promise to David (1 Chronicles 17:11-14), Joseph went to Bethlehem because he belonged to the line of David (Luke 2:4).
Aren’t you glad that God keeps His promises—in spite of the sins of His people?
In Judges we repeatedly read the refrain, “everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes.” We read a similar rebellious refrain in the biographies of the kings. What were the things David did that other leaders should follow? See 1 Kings 14:7-8, 21-23; 15:9-14.
Compare David’s heart as expressed in Psalm 69 and the heart of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be zealous for God’s “house”? (Hint: not a literal building). Are you zealous for God’s “house”?
God is sovereign over history. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but God had told the prophets that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. How did God arrange the place of Jesus’ birth? How did God arrange two other prophecies related to Jesus’ childhood as recorded in Matthew 2:1-23? Can you see signs of God’s sovereignty over your own history?
To read about other kings in the genealogy of Jesus, see Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat under Dig into People of the Bible.
Nancy J. Baker
*Note: Babylonian-Canaanite goddess of fortune and happiness, the supposed consort of Baal from Dictionary and Word Search for ‘asherah (Strong’s 842)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 22 Dec 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H842&t=NASB >