The purpose of the Books of Kings
Their main purpose is not to merely to give historical facts but to show how the stories of the Hebrews reveal God’s purposes to His people and the world (Psalm 78:3-4). Thus, the aim was not so much to write a comprehensive record of facts of history as to share lessons in history for the benefit of all that are eager to succeed (Deuteronomy 4:9; Job 8:8-10). The children of Israel were God’s chosen people, and it was their calling to fulfill God’s plan and illustrate in their lives the morals of the heavenly kingdom and the blessings that are the result of upholding these morals. “for we are made a spectacle unto the world” (1 Corinthians 4:9).
Godliness Prospers Nations
Godliness was to be the basis for Israel’s national success. Sin led to destruction. If faithful to its Godly calling, the nation would flourish in power and advance (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). But if kings failed to live up to the divine purpose, the people would perish (Deut. 28:15,25). No nation could exist without godliness (Psalm 33:12).
Even when the Israelites had backslid as a nation and were confronted with complete and irreversible destruction, the author of the books of Kings saw in the dark history of Israel’s failure something of worth to write for the education of the coming generations. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4)
The record of Kings started with the splendid rule of Solomon, the building of the Temple and showed the nation as rich and strong. And it ended with the rule of a weak king, the Temple destroyed, and the land laid in ruin. Yet, this lesson of devastation was to revive a new spirit of hope for a better future with Israel ruled by its eternal King. “Lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it” (Jeremiah 30:3).
Lessons Even in Failure
It is interesting to note that secular history of the heathen nations revealed the kings’ greatness while hiding their follies. Whereas, Hebrew history revealed both the greatness and the folly of the kings for the purpose of teaching and edification.
The lessons of Israel’s defeat offer hope not just to Israel but to all the nations of the world. Even though kings may be defeated, their kingdoms can still be revived. If they follow God’s ways, their ruined lands can be restored to greatness. “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
In His service,
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