1 Kings

1 Kings

1 Kings gives an account of Israel’s odyssey with God and His faithfulness to His people despite their unfaithfulness. It is a story of good kings and bad kings, true prophets and false prophets, of disobedience and loyalty to God.

Some TIPS on How to Read

Do you remember those days in secondary school where you studied the history of our country or the history that took place in the other parts of the world?

I remember feeling fascinated and intrigued by what I read in the history books of some of the things that people did and the decision made which had huge consequences to the rest of the world.

The book of 1 Kings is such a book – a book which records for us the events that took place during a particular period in the history of God’s people, the period of the kings; a book which records for us the choices that the leaders of God’s people made, which impacted the nation. 1 Kings continues the story of God’s people from 1 and 2 Samuel, beginning with how Solomon replaced David as king over the people. It then tells the story of the decline in Solomon’s reign and then his son, Rehoboam’s reign, and how all this resulted in the division of Israel into two kingdoms – one in the North (known as ‘Israel’) and one in the south (known as ‘Judah’).

The book has 22 chapters altogether. You can easily read a chapter or two a day. Since the book is written in a story form, you will find that it is definitely possible to read more than a chapter a day and hence read the book twice in the month. Reading it more than once will likely hel you to pick up certain details in the narrative that you may missed out in the first round of reading.

The 22 chapters of the book can be divided into two parts:

  1. Chapter 1 -11: The account of Solomon’s reign

As you read these chapters, take note of how Solomon came to the throne and what he did that contributed to the division of the kingdom. Note down the characteristics of this man of wisdom that is worth emulating and also those that we ought to watch out for.

  1. Chapter 12-22: The division of the kingdom

In these chapters, we see the division of Israel into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah, each with its own kings that ruled over it. Notice how the write follows a particular pattern as he gives an account of the different kings:

  • Introduction of the king
  • Specific details of his reign – try to pick up the basis which each king was judged
  • Story of his death and of who succeeded him

Besides the kings, another major group of players in this story is the prophets (Elijah and Elisha), people through whom God demonstrated that He was the true God and King over His people.

As you read how the drama unfolds in 1 Kings, observe the way God intervenes in the lives of His people, despite their rebellion and their failure to stay loyal to their covenant with Him.

Happy reading!

Reflections

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

1 Kings 18:21

The story in the book begins with the monarchy in Israel at its high point as Solomon succeeded David as ruler over God’s people. And Solomon… what a great man he was! He began his rule with much greatness – he reigned in peace, built a magnificent temple for his God and acted wisely in his rule.

Yet, despite all of his greatness and wisdom, despite the fact that God appeared to him twice, and despite warning after warning not to serve other gods, Solomon allowed his foreign wives to turn his heart away from the one true God.

Perhaps this is also a warning that we need to take heed of today: is there something that is seeking to turn our hearts away from God?

Is it a particular relationship? A habitual sin? Our secret quest for success, riches, power? Our busyness? Our pursuit of security in something else apart from Him?

Solomon’s unfaithfulness laid the groundwork for the eventual division of the kingdom into two (one in the north known as ‘Israel’, and one in the south known as ‘Judah’), and the rest of the book shows how (almost without exception) the kings of both kingdoms were hopelessly flawed. Again and again we see how they failed to lead their people in the ways of King David who, for all his personal failures, was regarded as an example of faithfulness to God. And it was not only the kings, but the people as a whole showed that they possessed what someone aptly calls ‘a chronic tendency to sin’.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. We see hints of God’s grace and faithfulness to His people despite their unfaithfulness, as He sent prophets to warn them and call them back to Himself. And perhaps He is doing the same to some of us today, through the words of the prophet Elijah,

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

He is a God who demands nothing less that our total love and devotion. And that is because He rightly deserved our full devotion – He is our Creator, and He first loved us and demonstrated it in this: while we were still sinners, He gave us His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.

May we respond to this great love by loving Him in return with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength.