The first thing that struck me about our OT passage is God's sovereignty and how He is able to use sin and sinful men, sinlessly. The rise and fall or each king was no accident. God's hand is firmly in control. Time after time we read about something coming to pass just as God said it would - including entire families being destroyed.
Another thing is that each king, and the nation under him, was judged according to his heart and deeds. It never says that the king followed God faithfully and that God wiped out his family line. We are all personally responsible to God for our actions.
Another thing is God's timing. God is oftentimes very patient in dealing out justice, but what He says will happen will happen, in His time. It doesn't matter how much time has passed, the promise still stands. God had decreed, through Joshua, hundreds of years earlier, that whomever rebuilt Jericho would do it at the cost of his firstborn and lastborn. The people may have thought it was irrelevant by now, after all, so much time had passed. But God's promises are timeless, and Heil lost his firstborn and lastborn son when he rebuilt Jericho, exactly as God had promised.
Sin and its consequences always seem to multiply over time. Each king in Israel got progressively worse and worse.
Rayburn points out that even though our nation is certainly not Israel, and we are not under covenant with God as a nation, the same principles still hold true from all countries today.
- History is a divine plot and God is in absolute control;
- The prospects of a people are directly related to their moral condition;
- Each nation as each man is directly responsible to God and accountable for its behavior;
- And God’s time is not ours; we cannot measure his approval or disapproval in the moment, but only when he finally acts to exercise his judgment in the world according to his Word.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 19-20; Matthew 10:21-42