Chapter 27: His Servants the Prophets … Speak to Us!Today the tiny nation of Israel is really primarily the tribe of Judah, and most people have no idea where the “lost” tribes of Israel vanished to. Remember how Jacob, renamed Israel, put his name on Ephraim and Manassah (Gen. 48:16)!
Most Israelites are not Jews. The first time “Jew” appears in the Bible in 2 Kings 16:6 (King James Version), the Jews are at war with Israel!
For how this all started, we go back to when Saul, David and Solomon ruled a united kingdom of all 12 tribes (David over only Judah for the first seven years of his 40 years). There was always a distinction between Judah and the other tribes of Israel, such as when David numbered the people (2 Sam. 24:9).
When Solomon sinned, God told him that because of His unconditional promise to David, He would “not tear away the whole kingdom” from his son Rehoboam but leave him one tribe—Judah, the scepter from which Jesus would come (1 Kings 11:13). Judah and Israel would separate into
Two sticks that would not be united until the return of Jesus Christ (Ezek. 37:15-34), when David would be resurrected to king over them
A tax cut was the sticking point back then also, with Rehoboam’s sheer folly of letting the advice of his “young men” trump that of “the elders.” “So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord” (1 Kings 12:15).
Jeroboam became Israel’s worst king. He set up two calves of gold (“your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!”) He made priests out of non-Levites, including himself (13:33). And he ordained a feast like God’s Feast of Tabernacles in the eighth month instead of the seventh (12:32). Perhaps he did the same with changing the Sabbath.
“Judah’s nineteen kings were all descendants of David and reigned 345 years. Israel had nineteen kings of nine dynasties, reigning 210 years, eight of whom were either slain or committed suicide” (The Scofield Study Bible III, p. 463).
Fourteen of Israel’s kings were compared to Jeroboam as not reaching his level of evil. Even Judah’s righteous kings such as eight-year-old Josiah, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did not measure up to David. The primary difference between the two standards—David and Jeroboam: David repented and never did the sin again; Jeroboam “did not turn from his evil way” (13:33). He didn’t care.
Scofield says 1 & 2 Chronicles covers many of the same events as 1 & 2 Kings, written for the most part from the priestly point of view. “1 Chronicles begins with the most extensive collection of genealogical records in the Bible, the purpose of which is to draw all lines of redemptive history to their focal point in David” (p. 553). That will naturally then point to Christ to come.
It’s instructive that Josiah, an inspirational model for how youth can follow God, and Hezekiah led Judah to return to God in revival by restoring worship of His Holy Days (2 Chron. 30, 34). The second main way to “return” is to stop robbing God in tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:7-8). Our heart follows our treasure! (Matt. 6:21).
When You Just Don’t Know What to Do
When Jehoshaphat was invaded and the whole nation was a-jumpin’, this righteous king appealed to God: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do” (2 Chron. 20:12). Actually, he did know what to do when we just don’t know what to do! “Our eyes are upon You.”
The battle was “not yours, but God’s … You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (v. 17). On our knees is the best position! Till we rise early and heed God to move forward, with the choir in front of the army!
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper”—spiritual 20:20 vision!
In one of the most dramatic healings in the Bible, God was pleased enough with Hezekiah’s heartfelt repentance to give him 15 more years to live and make the sundial go backwards 10 degrees! (2 Kings 20:1-10).
For an example of God unleashing amazing mercy: After God’s prophet Elijah told Ahab that dogs would lick his blood, the wicked king humbled himself with fasting. God postponed calamity to the days of his son (1 Kings 21:27-29, 22:38).
God sent prophets