Obedience: God’s Love Language (1 Kings 15:25-16:7)
Obedience: God’s Love Language
1 Kings 15:25-16:7
Tony Bennett said that if he ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring. If I ruled the world, I would not have fingernails grow and I would make sugar necessary for the body…
We don’t like being compelled to behave certain ways by outside forces. We like the idea of being our own boss, retiring one day so that we don’t have to answer to anyone.
As Americans, we in particular like to go on about our “rights,” as if we can live any way we want and not suffer any consequences for our choices. But really, we want everyone else’s liberty limited, just not our own.
But, a study of the kings of Israel and Judah remind us that God is still in control. He is still sovereign, and everyone - even kings - are accountable to Him.
King David was a good man, a godly man, even if he was not a perfect man. His son, King Solomon, followed in his father’s footsteps for a while, but then he married strange women and they led his heart away from God.
To punish King Solomon, God divided his nation in two. The northern tribes were largely led by the tribe of Ephraim and their capital became Samaria. The southern tribes were led by the tribe of Judah, from which the name “Jew” comes. Their capital was at Jerusalem.
The first king of the southern tribes of Judah was Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who increased taxes which led to the rebellion and the splitting of the nation. The first king of the northern tribes of Israel was Solomon’s secretary of labor, Jeroboam, about whom we’ll say more in just a moment…
NADAB, THE SON OF JEROBOAM - 15:25-27:
Verse 25 - Nadab is the son of Jeroboam; this would be Jeroboam I. There is a “Jeroboam II” who ruled when Jonah was a prophet of God (2 Kings 14:25; dated at 793-753 BC).
There are three men named “Nadab” in the OT; we are most familiar with the son of Aaron with his brother Abihu (Lev. 10).
Jeroboam I, from the tribe of Ephraim (11:26), reigned from 931-910 BC, twenty-two years. We’ll talk about his reign in just a moment. Nadab reigned during the simultaneous reign of Asa of Judah, who was a good king and followed mostly in the footsteps of King David. The good of his reign is detailed in 1 Kings 15:8-15. Asa reigned for four decades! (41 years; 911-870 BC)
Verse 26 - Nadab, however, did “evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made Israel sin.”
Jeroboam, son of Nebat, became as infamous in OT history as Benedict Arnold is in our own history. Except Jeroboam is infamous for his idolatry and disrespectful for the truth from God. “Walking in the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat” became almost a proverb in Israel as the “standard” for ungodliness; the phrase is used in 16:26, 31; 21:22; 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 23:15. That’s fourteen times Jeroboam is used a the “standard” for evil, which is remarkable in a text that also includes King Ahab!
The sin of King Jeroboam is detailed back in 1 Kings 12:25-33:
1) Jeroboam’s spiritual standard was not the truth of God but “his heart” (see also verse 33).
2) He consulted two golden calves,
3) Which he had made in the north and south of Israel: Dan and Bethel,
4) He made priests from tribes besides the tribe of Levi,
5) He changed the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles from the 7th to the 8th month.
Therefore, God is not going to allow his dynasty to continue… Verse 27 - Ba’asha was from the tribe of Issachar and he conspired against Nadab and assassinated him at Gibbethon in the territory of the Philistines which was an act of treachery because Nadab was, in fact, in an act of taking the village of Gibbethon away from the enemies of Israel, the Philistines. Gibbethon lay between Israel, Judah, and Philistia. Nadab likely wanted to take the village to drive a wedge between Judah and Philistia. Nadab will be the first of 6 kings of Israel who will be assassinated.
Christian application: We are heavily influenced by our parents and if we do not make a concerted effort to be different or to live differently from them if they live contrary to the teachings of the Gospel, then we will have no excuse in receiving the wrath of God.
King Herod was also a wicked man, a wicked king, but Manaen grew up in the same household as Herod but he chose differently. He chose to become a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:1).
We need to be very thoughtful about how our example will impact our children!
BA’ASHA IMPLEMENTS GOD’S WRATH AGAINST JEROBOAM’S HOUSE - 15:28-34:
Verse 28 - It was early in the reign of King Asa of Judah (3rd year) that Ba’asha killed him.
Verse 29 - As soon as he became king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He killed all of them, in fulfillment of the word of the Lord which Jehovah God spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite. This prophecy is found in 1 Kings 14:9-16, especially verse 14.
“According to the word of the Lord” is found 29 times through the OT history. It denotes: 1) God’s people following God’s commandments; 2) God’s word being fulfilled as prophecy.
Verse 30 - Here is the justification for Ba’asha killing Jeroboam: “because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger.”
“Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like it when I’m angry.”
Verse 31 - The “Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel” is not referring to the book of “Chronicles” which we have in our Bibles. This book was the annals of Israelite kings which were kept as a record of the reigns. It might have been that the author of our books used those writings as they wrote these books, but they are different books.
Verse 32 - This verse notes the war that happened between Israel and Judah, which the author has actually told us about in verses 16-22 when he was telling us about King Asa. First, Ba’asha strengthened Ramah to regulate who could enter Judah. This motivated King Asa to empty his treasury and sign a treaty with Aram to get that king, Ben-hadad to break his own treaty with Ba’asha. It worked.
This caused Ben-hadad and Aram to fight against Israel and take a number of cities: Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, Chinneroth, which would be on the Sea of Galilee since it was called the “Sea of Chinneroth” in the OT, as well as all the land of Naphtali.
Ba’asha backed off his fortification of Ramah and set up his residence in Tirzah. So Asa took his people and dismantled the village of Ramah and created or strengthened two other villages: Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.
Verse 33 - Ba’asha lost ground in all this foolishness. He started waging war with Asa in Asa’s third year and fought with Asa for the next twenty-four years. And he kept losing…
Verse 34 - Ba’asha did not learn anything; he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel sin. So, while Ba’asha killed Jeroboam’s son, Ba’asha turned around and lived the exact same way Jeroboam had lived! A life of idolatry and debauchery.
GOD PUNISHES BA’ASHA FOR HIS OWN UNGODLINESS - 1 Kings 16:1-7:
Verse 1 - “Jehu, the son of Hanani” is mentioned four times in the OT. He should not be confused with the King Jehu, son of Nimshi, of Israel who reigned from 841 to 814 BC. This Jehu was a prophet. He also preached to King Jehoshaphat of Judah and wrote a history of King Jehoshaphat’s reign…
The phrase “the word of the Lord came” is found 102 times in the OT, showing that God was in communication with mankind and He was guiding events for His holy purposes.
Verse 2 - God spoke to Jehu, the prophet, and told him to tell Ba’asha:
1) I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel.
2) You have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins.
Verse 3 - 3) Behold, I will consume Ba’asha and his house and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Verse 4 - 4) Anyone from Ba’asha’s family who dies in the city, the dogs will eat; whoever from his family will die in the field, the birds will eat. This would be a dishonorable way to die!
Verse 5 - The historian sums up the rest of Ba’asha’s life and says that the history is written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
Verses 6-7 Elah, son of Ba'asha, will become king after his dad (ver. 8), but then he will be assassinated after two years, just like his dad assassinated the son of Jeroboam. What goes around comes around. Zimri, one of Ba’asha’s military commanders, assassinated him and 16:11-12 says that Zimri destroyed all of Ba’asha’s family. Zimri only reigned on the throne for a week before he, too, was assassinated by Omri, another military commander. He did not leave a single male child alive of Ba’asha.
Christian application: When blesses, He expects: 1) Thanksgiving; 2) Obedience; 3) Worship. That’s how we “repay” God for His graciousness to us. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Rom. 12:1-2).
God often uses our own wickedness as a means of punishing us: Matthew 26:52; Galatians 6:8.
We also see prophecy fulfilled, both in the life of Nadab, son of Jeroboam, and in the life of Ba’asha’s family. When God speaks, His words have power and we cannot overtake, avoid, or overpower His word.
Take home message: We can overcome the bad influences in our lives, if we respond to God as He tells us: thanksgiving for His blessings, obedience to His commands, and worship of His glory.