by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta
The Old Testament provides us with multitudes of examples of
Israel’s failures to obey God. Despite warnings from prophets, the people
refused to turn away from false gods. When the leaders fell into sin, most of
the population followed.
Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Israel’s kings. If we
will read their history with open eyes we can learn from their examples and
avoid the same mistakes they made.
1. Disobedience Has a Price.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and
they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come
(1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV)
Saul took it upon himself to offer a sacrifice that only the
priests were allowed to do. He decided what to do rather than listening to the
Lord. Because of this disobedience the kingdom was torn away from his family
and given to another.
David’s sin with Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Samuel chapter
11. He repented and God forgave him, but he paid a heavy price. The child Bathsheba
bore died, the sword never left David’s house, and his children lived in
turmoil. One of his sons raped a daughter of David and his son Absalom
attempted a coup against his father’s kingdom. But because of David’s repentant
heart, God made a promise that David’s descendant would always be on the
Solomon started out right. He was the wisest man who ever
lived. He penned hundreds of proverbs and songs and his wisdom was known
throughout the world. Yet because of his marriage to multiple women from
heathen countries, his heart was turned away from God and toward the idols of
his wives (which God forbade His people to do for this reason). God preserved
one tribe because of his promise to David but the remaining tribes were torn
from Solomon’s line and after his death given to his servant Jeroboam.
And the most famous evil king of Israel was Ahab. He brought
the worship of Baal to Israel after he married Jezebel. He wouldn’t listen to the
prophet Elijah’s warnings. He died in battle and the dogs licked his blood from
the chariot where he fell.
2. Advice From Ungodly People Can Draw Us Away From God.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Solomon’s son Rehoboam reigned in Judah after his father’s
death. He rejected the counsel of the elders who had advised Solomon and
instead he listened to his friends. He fell to peer pressure.
Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord but later
relied on the king of Syria instead of the Lord. He was diseased in his feet
the rest of his life.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, walked in the ways of David but he
did not take away the high places of false worship. He later allied himself
with the evil king of Israel, Ahaziah, to make ships to go to Tarshish. Because of this the ships they made were
When Joash became king of Judah he did what was right in the
eyes of the Lord. Yet when Jehoiada the priest died, Joash listened to the
leaders of Judah and they bowed down to worship wooden idols. After years of
the kindness of Jehoiada into Joash’s life, Joash still killed that prophet’s
son. Because of this act, judgment was executed against Joash and his own
servants conspired against him and killed him.
3. A Divided Heart Will Make Us Unstable.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and
cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Ephesians 4:14-15
In 2 Kings 10 Jehu destroyed the worshippers of Baal yet in
verse 31 it says, But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God
of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam,
who had made Israel sin.
Jehu destroyed the elements of Baal but did not totally
dedicate himself to the Lord. He had a divided heart and a divided heart will
make us unstable in all our ways (James 1:8).
We live under a new covenant and we are not judged for sin
the way these Old Testament kings were. But there is still a consequence to sin
and the lessons the lives of these kings left behind can show us what happens
when we abandon God and go our own way.
We can be thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness, but we
can spare ourselves so much pain and heartache if we will follow His ways to
What have you observed about the lives of these kings?
Share your thoughts.