Thursday, Aug 17th

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1 Kings 16

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People never seem to learn! The kings of Israel and Judah saw what God did to previous kings, punishing them for their wickedness... yet they continue to do evil in God’s sight! Money and power appear to warp the minds and hearts of men, including ordinary men of today, and they think their money or power are forever. But, they are not. It is God Who gives both to a man, and it is God Who can easily take them away again. We see it in this chapter, too. The history is not alone – it carries forward to today, into our own lives. NEVER think that what you have is by your own efforts, or that it belongs to you, or that it will remain. God decides who He gives to and who He takes away from. This applies to Christians as well as to evil rulers. God gives and He takes away. Do not become comfortable!

Verses 1-6

  1. Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,

  2. Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;

  3. Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

  4. Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

  5. Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

  6. So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead.

  King Baasha obtained his throne by assassination. Now God had a message for him, through the prophet Jehu. God told Baasha that He made him king, causing him to rise from nothing, to rule over “his” people Israel. Everything belongs to God, so none can lay claim to anything on this earth. Israel belongs to God, but the king led the people into sin. For this, God was angry.

God said He would remove what He had given to Baasha, including his family (“house”), just as He had done with Jeroboam. Baasha’s family would be obliterated and treated like rubbish eaten by dogs and crows. The rest of Baasha’s story is in Chronicles. It seems from the structure of the text that Baasha died/was killed by God very soon afterwards and was buried in Tirzah (not the chosen city of God, Jerusalem). Then, Ela his son took over the throne. He only lasted two years.

Verses 7-10

  1. And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him.

  2. In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.

  3. And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.

  4. And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

And so Baasha, the king-killer, himself died by the hand of God, for the wickedness of his life and ways. In typical Hebrew fashion Baasha is held responsible for killing ‘Jeroboam’, when, in fact, he had killed his ancestor. This is normal Hebraic form.

Baasha died when Asa was in his 26th year as king of Judah. As often happens, violence and intrigue breeds violent intrigue... one of Elah’s high-ranking captains of chariots, Zimri, decided to murder the king. While Elah was drunk in his steward’s house, Zimri got in and killed him, in Asa’s 27th year. So yet another assassin took the throne of Israel. Wickedness leads to more wickedness. Grace and holiness lead to God and to a life of peace. Israel and Judah suffered at the hands of their wicked kings. Just as today, the people are willing to put up with evil leaders, even though the result is woeful, disastrous and always godless. As the saying goes, we get the leaders we deserve!

Verses 11-14

  1. And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

  2. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,

  3. For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

  4. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Another round of assassinations began immediately Zimri took the throne. He ordered the deaths of all Baasha’s family, thus bringing about God’s prophecy. He killed not just the family, but all male friends and clans. The prophecies through prophets were well known, as were the results, yet kings continued to rule godlessly.

We can read the account in Chronicles. God was angry and so kings died, especially for causing God’s people to sin.

Verses 15-20

  1. In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.

  2. And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.

  3. And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.

  4. And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,

  5. For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.

  6. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

I must say that I wished our modern day ‘leaders’ only lasted seven days before leaving or expiring! I mean that. Thus, Zimri ruled, and Israel, who again besieged the Philistine fortified town of Gibbethon, came to hear of the assassination. The army revolted against Zimri by electing Omri, a general, to be king. Immediately, the army left off attacking Gibbethon, and instead surrounded Tirzah. Zimri knew the city was lost and hid in the palace, where he set fire to the building and died by suicide. He lasted just seven days on the throne of Israel. Modern pastors who teach error consistently should take these texts to heart, for God will not tolerate a self-appointed pastor or Bible teacher to teach against His word.

Verses 21&22

  1. Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.

  2. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.

The problems did not go away! Zimri killed himself, but the Israelites quickly divided into two main camps – those who supported Omri and those who supported Tibni. A life without God always brings undesired effects. Both fought each other for the throne, but Tibni finally lost. We see this kind of power struggle throughout so-called ‘Christendom’. It occurs because people who claim to love God actually love their own thoughts and wishes. They set up divisions (political, social and religious) easily, and refuse to examine God’s word for answers.

For ourselves, we tolerated many false leaders until it became too much. We then left and a new local church was born – and has lasted thus far for thirty years. But, we did not set out to divide. Rather, we simply left what was sinful and intolerable, a false system of churches whose mindset was godless. I am always surprised by the number of errors a local church will tolerate, when God Himself tolerates no sinful alliances, not even to keep a local church open. It is better to lose a local church than to maintain a false and unbiblical congregation or pastor.

Most churches I have come across are very unhealthy spiritually, but they remain as a diseased and failing entity, a superficial copy of what is true. They do so because God is not central and faith is manufactured. Spiritual liars will continue to take charge of lazy congregations until God closes them down, or allows them to finish at the end of time, then to judge them publicly.

Verses 23-28

  1. In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.

  2. And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.

  3. But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.

  4. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

  5. Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

  6. So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.

So, four years later Asa saw another deceiver take the Israelite throne! Omri reigned in the capital of Israel, Tirzah, for six years. Then he purchased a hill named Samaria in the area of Shemer, just thirty miles north of Jerusalem and not far from Shechem, and built his palace there.

Like those before him, Omri did evil in God’s eyes, and so the people of God were once again misled. And his wickedness was even worse than those who ruled prior to his arrival, including Jeroboam. Omri lasted a short while before dying ignominiously, being known as a king who ignored the Lord, making the people to sin grossly. (See Chronicles). Then, his son, the infamous Ahab/Achab, ruled over Israel.

Living as they did, the Israelites did not experience peace nor equity. Rather, they led lives made tarnished and foul by the kings. In every age Christians can get rid of false prophets and leaders, but they refuse to do so, leaving discipline to academic discussion. And so modern believers live far short of what God requires, failing thereby to experience the benefits of being holy and pure.

Verses 29-34

  1. And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.

  2. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.

  3. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.

  4. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.

  5. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

  6. In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.

Ahab began to rule when Asa was in his 38th year over Judah. For reasons unknown, Ahab was allowed to reign for 22 years in Samaria. (Perhaps as a punishment on the Israelites, and a sign of His wrath?).

Every Israelite king after Jeroboam seems to have increased their sins and the sins of the people. Each increased evil exponentially, doing whatever they wished. In many ways, then, they conformed to the wickedness of Sodom, heaping coals of guilt upon their own heads, just as men do today. Ahab, however, was the worst thus far, and he thought nothing of sinning before Almighty God – to him it was a “light thing”. This sinful attitude led him to marry Jezebel, whose father was king Ethbaal of the Zidonians. His very name is a warning, for it means ‘with Baal’, the false god. He ruled Sidon in the north.

With such an evil family connection, Ahab began to worship Baal, building an altar to him in Samaria. Ba’al was the chief false god of the Canaanites and Phoenicians, and is mentioned many times in scripture. Ahab built a grove for the false god, and lived a life that was more sinful than any other king before him, inviting God’s wrath.

We are then told that Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho during Ahab’s reign. He fulfilled a curse uttered by Joshua, and dedicated the rebuilt city and gates to his sons. He did not ask Ahab’s permission but the king himself was wicked, so everyone did what was right in their own eyes. All Israel knew that 500 years before, Joshua cursed any man who tried to bring Jericho back to life. He probably thought it was now just a myth. Even so he began the work exactly as Joshua prophesied (Joshua 6:26). We are told in verse 27 of that chapter that God was with Joshua. By obvious association, then, God was NOT with Hiel! He began rebuilding even though his youngest son died as a result of his disobedience, and his other son, too, such is the end of those who do not listen to God’s judgments.

How modern Christians think lightly of sin! They even think a secret sin will be known only to themselves! God knows every sin we commit, and every sin we WILL commit in the future. We sin at our peril, and do so continually, because we think more of this world and its glories and rewards than we do of God’s commands. We live to eat and build our personal ‘cities’, and think this is our earthly lot. What an error! Our lot is to do God’s bidding, not to build our lives for our own ends!

God does not care if we gather much into our barns, or have money enough to live very comfortably, or friends amongst unbelievers, whose lives will part from them on judgment day. It is all as withered grass, to be blown away! What God wants is for us to live for Him, in obedience to His desires, not our own. Sadly, most Christians build lives on their own ambitions and desires... and so lose out mightily from knowing God’s grace and mercy.

The history of the kings of Israel and Judah are not dry dust: they show us plainly what happens to men and women who leave God out of their lives, or who spend little time on what He wants of them. They do it because though they have initial salvation and faith, they are afraid to commit their whole lives to God, knowing that what He will want of them could be something very different to what they aspire to!

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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