“Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
(1 Kings 16:33)
I am a terribly slow reader.
I think because I have contemplative mind, while reading I’ll get stuck on a phrase or sentence and my mind will wander off into other things. I’ll think about that sentence too much, and it slows me down if I’m trying to read large chunks of material.
For example, I’m trying to read through the entire Bible this year. I have never been able to make it all the way through all the way in one-year’s time. I’ll typically start falling behind in my reading plan in mid-January, and by the first part of February I’ll resort back to just reading a chapter or two per day.
Yet this year I have made it almost all of the way through. I still lack Ezekiel, 1&2 Chronicles, 2 Kings & the minor prophets. The only way I have been able to stay on task is to use an online reading program that reads the chapters for me as I follow along with the text. It keeps me focused and moving along. I miss a lot of detail, but I’m trying to get more of the broad-sweep of the Bible than just the minutia.
That’s a good thing because had I done it the old fashioned way, I would have gotten slogged down in Leviticus, Numbers, and 1 & 2 Kings which is a laundry list of all the kings from David up until the time of the Babylonian captivity in 605 B.C.
Reading though 1 & 2 Kings can get kind of depressing. Solomon started out great, asking God for wisdom, but later on he started worshiping the pagan gods of his wives. Then the kingdom was divided into the Northern kingdom & Judah. Then there comes the roll-call of one king after another who “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” Ahab was one of the worst, but king after king played the profligate until Israel & Judah both wound being taken captive in foreign lands.
Depressing stuff, huh? It can be enough to discourage you to stop reading altogether, especially when you look at your own life & behold all of your inconsistencies toward the Lord and your recurring sins that you never seem to finally put to death or gain mastery over.
Ever wonder why God would give us a detailed account of the sins of all of his leaders? I’m sure that part of the reason is to serve as a warning to us, but I also believe there is a far greater reason.
I think the primary reason God allowed this depressing history book to be written is to reveal to us the longsuffering patience that God has with his people. We are faithless; He remains faithful. We turn to other gods seeking to satisfy the longing of our hearts. He is often patient to wait us out or to sometimes give us exactly what we think we want and then give it to us in excess so that we will see that God’s gifts were never meant to ultimately satisfy us. GOD HIMSELF IS MEANT TO ULTIMATELY SATISFY.
He will often allow us to glut ourselves on our desires, leading us into captivity, until we cry out for deliverance.
Read in their broad-sweep, Books like 1 & 2 Kings are meant to be instructive to the people of God that the God of Heaven is a God who is radically committed to His people.
Therefore, next to your broken marriage where you think your spouse will never change, hold up the story of the sinful kings and the God who continued (continues) to pursue & change His rebellious people. Next to your stubborn will, hold up the story of the sinful kings and the God who continued (continues) to pursue & change His rebellious people. Next to your unreconciled relationships, hold up the story of the sinful kings and the God who continued (continues) to pursue & change His rebellious people. Next to that sin that you flaunt in public but you know is killing you in private, hold up the story of the sinful kings and the God who continued (continues) to pursue & change His rebellious people.
…And believe that today IS NOT the broad-sweep of your life. Today is just today. This hard season is just a season. If this holy, omniscient, sovereign God can work through all of human history to bring about good out of bad things, He can continue to work in your life, weak and failing though you may be.
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)
Will you trust Him with the broad-sweep of your life?