By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 1 Kings…We saw the end of King David’s reign and the tumultuous grab for power. Adonijah attempts to seize the kingdom, but Nathan and Bathsheba secure that title for Solomon. After David’s death, Solomon assumes the position of anointed King over all Israel, and He serves the Lord with his whole heart. However, we see glimpses of his folly as he attempts to unite kingdoms with the pagan Egyptians by marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter. For his faithfulness the Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom that rivaled any other person on earth, and Solomon, in his wisdom, constructs the first permanent temple for the Lord. Finally, the ark is moved to its home. Unfortunately, we see Solomon turn away from the Lord because of the many wives and concubines that he took for himself, and because of his unfaithfulness 10 of the 12 tribes are stripped from the h0use of David and given to Jeroboam. Because of David’s faithfulness, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was able to rule over Judah. Both Rehoboam (Judah) and Jeroboam (Israel) did evil in the sight of the Lord, and Jeroboam is eventually cursed and dies with the promise that his lineage would not rule over Israel forever.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 1 Kings 15 – 18.
1 KINGS – At the beginning of this book, we see an old King David in the final days of his life. As David’s time as King comes to an end, there is immediately turmoil in the kingdom as Adonijah, David’s son with Haggish, attempts to seize the throne. However, Bathsheba gains the blessing of David to make Solomon King. Solomon goes on to be blessed by the Lord with unmatched wisdom. He serves the Lord in many ways, in particular he establishes the first permanent temple of the Lord. Unfortunately, Solomon turns from the Lord and is swayed by the gods of his many wives. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel is stripped from the house of David, but for the sake of the faithful David, the Lord allows the lineage of David to rule over Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat is appointed the new ruler of Israel, and we see a division of the rulers of the 10 tribes of Israel and those of Judah that is plagued with much unfaithfulness, selfishness, division, idolatry, and many evil things. Eventually Elijah and Elisha, the prophets, are brought into the equation as advocates for the Lord, but we continue to see many rulers turn from the Lord. Most notable of them all was Ahab and his wife Jezebel who incited him to do evil in the site of the Lord. Ahab did eventually repent, but the Lord punished his successor nonetheless. Every king of the 10 tribes of Israel through Jeroboam did evil before the Lord, but the kings of Judah wavered serving the Lord whole heartedly at times.
- 1 Kings 15 | After Rehoboam’s death, Abijam and Asa reign over Judah – After Jeroboam’s death, Nadab, his son, reigns over Israel – Baasha strikes down the entire house of Jeroboam as prophesied and takes the mantle of King: After Rehoboam’s death, in the 18th year of Jeroboam’s reign, Abijam, Rehoboam’s son, began to reign over Judah. Abijam was an evil king just as his father was, and he only reigned for 3 years before he died. After his death, his son, Asa began to reign over Judah while Jeroboam still reigned over Israel. Asa did much to rid the evil from the people, but he did not completely remove all of it. However, he is still lauded for staying “wholly true to the Lord”! During his mighty rule Nadab, Jeroboam’s son, reigned after his father’s death. Shortly after he began his reign, Nadab was struck down by Baasha, the son of Ahijah – the prophet who revealed Jeroboam’s fate. Bash reigned in Nadab’s place, and he went on to utterly destroy the entire house of Jeroboam as was foretold. Unfortunately, he too continued to do evil and lead Israel to do evil before the Lord. He warred with Asa constantly during their reign over Israel and Judah.
- 1 Kings 16 | Baasha suffers the same fate as Jeroboam’s house – Elah, his son, reigns until his servant, Zimri, utterly destroys the house of Baasha – Israel is further divided into those under Omri and those under Tibni, after Zimri’s suicide – Finally, Ahab, the son of Omri assumes rule over Israel: Chapter 16 essentially outlines the whirlwind of the kingdom of Israel that took place within Asa’s 41 year rule over Judah. Baasha suffered the same fate as Jeroboam because of his evil before the Lord, and the Lord, through Jehu the prophet, promises to “utterly sweep away Baasha and his house”. We see that come to fruition when Elah, Baasha’s son, begins to rule after Baasha’s death. Zimri, one of his commanders, conspired and killed Elah, and he immediately struck down Baasha’s house as he assumed rule over Israel. However Zimri only reigned 7 days before the people appointed Omri, the commander of the army, as ruler over Israel. As Omri marched against Zimri who was in Tirza, Zimri burned the king’s house down on top of himself. After that, the people were divided between a man named Tibni and Omri, and Omri assumed full control after Tibni died. However…
Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him. | 1 Kings 16:8
And not surprisingly, after his death, his son Ahab began to rule over Israel…
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshipped him. | 1 Kings 16:30-31
He literally married the daughter of a guy who’s name has “baal” in it, which clearly caused him and Israel to turn towards the false god. And during his reign a man named Hiel of Bethel built Jericho again at the cost of his firstborn and youngest son as promised in Joshua 6:26. Ahab began his crazy reign in the 38th year of Asa, king of Judah.
- 1 Kings 17 | Elijah the Tishbite curses Ahab for the glory of God – As Ahab and Israel suffer from a drought, Elijah follows the leading of the Lord: Elijah was a fantastic prophet and man of God sent to challenge Ahab, Jezebel, the prophets of Baal, and all of Israel and to prove to them that there is only one true King. In Chapter 17, Elijah comes right out and warns of a drought that will remain until Elijah again comes with the word of the Lord. As the chapter continues, we see Elijah hear the word of the Lord, go immediately where the Lord leads, depend completely on the Lord, influence others to seek the Lord and plead to the Lord in powerful prayer. Elijah is asked by the Lord to go to the brook Cherish and depend on water from the brook and food from ravens. When the brook dried up because there was no rain, the Lord told him to visit a widow who would feed him. The widow is literally preparing to die because she now longer had food, and Elijah asks her to bring water and food to him. He promises that her supply would not extinguish until the rains came again. She faithfully did as Elijah said, and her provisions did not end. Then, when the widow’s son fell sick almost to the point of death, Elijah prayed powerfully to the Lord, and the boy is restored! Because of these great miracles she responds with confidence in who Elijah is, a man of God with the word of the Lord in his mouth.
- 1 Kings 18 | Elijah proves that the Lord is King – the rain comes again: Again we see the Lord clearly telling Elijah the gameplan, and Elijah is ready to just go! The Lord tells him to confront Ahab, and that He would send rain once again. In slight contrast, we come across Obadiah who “runs” into Elijah along the road. Obadiah was a man who feared the Lord, and in fact, he hid 100 prophets of the Lord when Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, sought to kill them all! However, when Elijah asks Obadiah to tell Ahab of his return, Obadiah hesitates with great fear of death by the hands of Ahab. It is interesting to see such a contrast between this man who just goes where the Lord clearly tells him to go, and a man who still feared the world…sometimes over the Lord! Eventually Elijah ensures him of safety and Obadiah goes to tell Ahab. Ahab calls him “troubler of Israel”, but Elijah stays focused on the task at hand. He requests all the prophets of Baal and the prophets of Asherah “who eat at Jezebel’s table” to meet him at Mount Carmel along with all the people of Israel. Once at the mount Elijah says something that we all should ask ourselves today:
And Elijah came near to all the people and said “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. | 1 Kings 18:21
How long are we going to go limping with one step in this world and one step in the kingdom of God? Maybe it’s time to make a decision! If God is really God, it’s time to follow Him! So Elijah went on to prove that God is really God, as He has been proved to us time and time again. Elijah challenges all of the prophets of Baal to set up an altar with a sacrifice, and to pray to their god to bring down fire. The hundreds of prophets accept and cry out to Baal in vain. They cry out for hours and even cut themselves so that blood gushed out, but there was no god to hear them. “There was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention”. Then Elijah stepped forward and repaired the altar of the Lord on the mount that had previously bene torn down. He made a trench around the altar, and had the people pour four jars of water over it all not once…not twice…but three times until the entire altar was soaked and the trench was filled. Elijah then said a TWO SENTENCE prayer, and…
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God” | 1 Kings 18:38-39
Elijah and the people then seized the prophets of Baal and they were all slaughtered. He went up to the top of the Mount, prayed to the Lord, and the rain finally returned to Israel!