This week we finish up the book of II Kings and begin our journey through I Chronicles.
After Elijah goes to be with God, the story continues through his successor Elisha as he ministers to the northern kingdom of Israel. Chapter 5 includes the fascinating story of Naaman's healing. In II Kings chapters 11-12, the focus shifts to a young boy king in Judah named Joash who spends much time trying to restore the temple. Elisha dies in chapter 13 and here you also have a rather interesting account of what happens when someone is thrown into his grave months after his death. Talk about the power of the Lord! The downward spiral continues though in the kingdom of Israel as king after king fails to follow the Lord and by chapter 17 we see that the northern kingdom of Israel has fallen to the Assyrians, with many of the people being carried away into exile. We finish up with the narrative of the lives of the kings from Judah. A few more wicked kings are described before we get to the interesting story of the boy king Josiah and all of his reforms (chapters 22-23). But even he isn't enough to turn the tide of sin and false idol worship. After him, three more evil kings follow before Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians (chapters 24-25).
Then our attention turns to another of the history books, I Chronicles, and we will make our way through 6 of its 29 chapters this week. In many ways it should sound familiar because it is largely a retelling of the material found in I and II Samuel as well as I and II Kings. The book of I Chronicles really falls into two broad segments. The first, in chapters 1-10, contains mostly genealogical lists, concluding with the house of Saul and Saul's rejection by God. This sets the stage for the rise of David. The second segment then contains a history of the reign of King David.
Why are there so many books telling the same stories? Well in the Jewish canon of Scripture, Chronicles appears last making it then a summary of everything that has gone before and most likely the reason why the genealogy goes all the way back to Adam. But one of the calls of the Old Testament is to remember. God asks the people to remember constantly in their rituals, offerings, and festivals the great work that he has done on their behalf. Certainly we can see what happens in the books of history when Israel (and Judah) do not keep this knowledge of God close at hand and forget! As they stray away from God, they wander into dangerous ground spiritually, as individuals as well as a nation. We would do well to remind ourselves continuously - to remember what God has done and what happens when we try to do things in our lives on our own without Him!
Here is the schedule:
25, Sunday: II Kings 4-7
26, Monday: II Kings 8-11
27, Tuesday: II Kings 12-15
28, Wednesday: II KIngs 16-19
29, Thursday: II Kings 20-23
30, Friday: II Kings 24 - I Chronicles 2
31, Saturday: I Chronicles 3-6
May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.