Welcome back, sojourners! This week we’re learning of Israel’s birth via God’s covenant given through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yesterday we studied brief details about two of Jacob’s sons, Judah and Joseph. Bible students will recall that Joseph was sold into slavery to Egypt in order to rescue his people from the Egyptians! Later, Moses led the 12 tribes of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, and his successor, Joshua, led them into the land.
Oddly, despite God’s presence with the wandering Israelites and His promise to be their king, they wanted an earthly king like everyone else. Thus, God gave them their wish and Saul became the first king of Israel. King David followed, and then his son, Solomon. It didn’t take long, though, for those 12 tribes to forget all the Lord had done to bring them out of Egypt and plant them in the Promised Land.
Following Solomon’s death, his son was heir apparent to the throne. However, disagreements abounded regarding the way Israel was being ruled and soon the kingdom split. Today, we’ll glean from Pastor Mark Martin’s Teaching in 1 Kings 12 to understand what happened to the land of Israel after Solomon’s death. We’ll see that these events led up to the period of Jewish captivity during which God revealed end time events to the prophets, Daniel and Ezekiel. We’ll use the diagram below as our visual. The Southern Kingdom, called Judah, had a total of 19 kings, only 8 of whom were good, righteous kings. The northern kingdom, called Israel, was ruled by a secession of 16 evil kings. Not a good king to be found!
As mentioned, Solomon’s son was heir apparent to the throne, so he became ruler of one of the two kingdoms. According to 1 Kings 12:1-6, and the diagram above, who first ruled the Southern Kingdom? The Northern Kingdom?
Now read Deuteronomy 17:18-20, what were kings commanded to do? Ultimately, both Rehoboam and Jeroboam failed to do as Deuteronomy 17:18-20 commanded. Why do you believe that is significant?
Indeed, Rehoboam did not follow sound advice. Thus, the people revolted and the kingdom split. Rehoboam turned the people against the reign and dynasty of David, whom God had chosen. As a result, Israel has been in rebellion toward the house of David to this day. That includes the most important descendent of David…Jesus Himself.
This is an extremely critical point in the history of Israel, as the people were turned away from the reign and dynasty of David, whom God had chosen; and the kingdom was split. Neither Rehoboam nor Jeroboam took heed to God’s promise in 1 Kings 11:38. Thus, both kingdoms were severely weakened, there was no unity, and both were vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Soon they were led into captivity.
Take a look at the chart, “Kings and Prophets” above and find the blue boxes that reference the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. Which two prophets were active during that time?
These two prophets revealed amazing details of end times. We have already been introduced to Daniel and his prophecy concerning 70 weeks of years, and we are about to become very familiar with Ezekiel as well. Isn’t it helpful to understand what was going on in the history of Israel when God spoke these prophecies to these faithful men?
Israel was birthed through God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel’s captivity resulted because of the Israelites’ falling away from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and turning to worldly kings and even idol worship. Assyria and Babylon eventually came calling and took the Northern and Southern Kingdoms captive.
Tomorrow we will be introduced to Ezekiel, one of those “captivity” prophets to whom God revealed a vision of Israel’s re-birth. There are huge nuggets of gold in tomorrow’s study, so you don’t want to miss it. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem then come back again tomorrow! See you then!