Yesterday, we met Asa, the first good king who ruled over Judah for 41 years. Today, we meet the 7 kings who ruled the northern kingdom of Israel during that time. SEVEN bad kings, who took Jeroboam’s worship of a couple of golden calves to the next level. Asa sat in the stable kingdom of Judah in Jerusalem and watched the royal turnover in Israel.
You see, when you give Satan just a tiny foothold, that’s all he needs to completely ruin everything. All this actually stems way back to David and his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. David lost 4 sons because of that. Solomon was his son with Bathsheba, who then became king. First, Solomon married a Egyptian princess, and eventually ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines — all from foreign lands. These women brought their pagan worship, their idolatry into Israel. One sin led to another, bigger sin, which leads to a worse sin until… well, let’s dig in….
1 Kings 16
This message from the Lord was delivered to King Baasha by the prophet Jehu son of Hanani: 2 “I lifted you out of the dust to make you ruler of my people Israel, but you have followed the evil example of Jeroboam. You have provoked my anger by causing my people Israel to sin. 3 So now I will destroy you and your family, just as I destroyed the descendants of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4 The members of Baasha’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.”
5 The rest of the events in Baasha’s reign and the extent of his power are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 6 When Baasha died, he was buried in Tirzah. Then his son Elah became the next king.
7 The message from the Lord against Baasha and his family came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani. It was delivered because Baasha had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight (just as the family of Jeroboam had done), and also because Baasha had destroyed the family of Jeroboam. The Lord’s anger was provoked by Baasha’s sins.
Elah Rules in Israel
8 Elah son of Baasha began to rule over Israel in the twenty-sixth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in the city of Tirzah for two years.
9 Then Zimri, who commanded half of the royal chariots, made plans to kill him. One day in Tirzah, Elah was getting drunk at the home of Arza, the supervisor of the palace. 10 Zimri walked in and struck him down and killed him. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Then Zimri became the next king.
11 Zimri immediately killed the entire royal family of Baasha, leaving him not even a single male child. He even destroyed distant relatives and friends. 12 So Zimri destroyed the dynasty of Baasha as the Lord had promised through the prophet Jehu. 13 This happened because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed, and because of the sins they led Israel to commit. They provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, with their worthless idols.
14 The rest of the events in Elah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.
Zimri Rules in Israel
15 Zimri began to rule over Israel in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah, but his reign in Tirzah lasted only seven days. The army of Israel was then attacking the Philistine town of Gibbethon. 16 When they heard that Zimri had committed treason and had assassinated the king, that very day they chose Omri, commander of the army, as the new king of Israel. 17 So Omri led the entire army of Israel up from Gibbethon to attack Tirzah, Israel’s capital. 18 When Zimri saw that the city had been taken, he went into the citadel of the palace and burned it down over himself and died in the flames. 19 For he, too, had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit.
20 The rest of the events in Zimri’s reign and his conspiracy are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.
Omri Rules in Israel
21 But now the people of Israel were split into two factions. Half the people tried to make Tibni son of Ginath their king, while the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s supporters defeated the supporters of Tibni. So Tibni was killed, and Omri became the next king.
23 Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-first year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned twelve years in all, six of them in Tirzah. 24 Then Omri bought the hill now known as Samaria from its owner, Shemer, for 150 pounds of silver. He built a city on it and called the city Samaria in honor of Shemer.
25 But Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 26 He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. The people provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, with their worthless idols.
27 The rest of the events in Omri’s reign, the extent of his power, and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 28 When Omri died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Ahab became the next king.
Ahab Rules in Israel
29 Ahab son of Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 31 And as though it were not enough to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. 32 First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. 33 Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.
34 It was during his reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub. This all happened according to the message from the Lord concerning Jericho spoken by Joshua son of Nun.1 Kings 16 NLT
What Makes Idolatry So Evil in God’s Sight?
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.Exodus 20:3-7 NLT
Could He have been any clearer?
You might wonder, why was this so important? Remember, way back in the beginning of Exodus when God was talking to Moses via the burning bush, He told him….
17 I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’Exodus 3:17 NLT
Giving Moses further instructions, God said…
20 “See, I am sending an angel [this is a pre-incarnate Jesus] before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21 Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. 22 But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. 23 For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely. 24 You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars.Exodus 23:20-24 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Again, could God be any clearer?
When the Bible talks about idolatry and pagan worship, it always uses the words, detestable, worthless, disgusting. It doesn’t matter what the idol is made of — gold, stone, wood or other materials — it’s still an idol.
We saw in the Book of Judges, the Israelites were in a vicious cycle which began a downward spiral. Finally, they repented, then told Samuel, God’s prophet, that they wanted a king. He warned them what having a king would be like.
So, these kings, one after another, kept pushing God’s buttons and made him angrier and angrier. Eventually, God wipes out the whole land. That’s still a ways away.
What was the curse of Jericho?
That goes back to the Book of Joshua…
26 At that time Joshua invoked this curse:
“May the curse of the Lord fall on anyoneJoshua 6:26 NLT
who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho.
At the cost of his firstborn son,
he will lay its foundation.
At the cost of his youngest son,
he will set up its gates.”
The Demonic Duo
As evil as Omri was, he was an saint compared to his son, Ahab. He is the worst of them all! He married Jezebel from Sidon. What’s worse, she brought with her the worship of Baal. We will go deeper into their story in the next chapters and meet some new heroes, Elijah and Elisha.
What are YOUR Idols?
If you come from a Catholic background like I did, you may think that’s it’s OK to pray to and worship Mary, Jesus’ mom. It’s not. She was human. Yes, she was blessed, and chosen, but never a goddess. Never higher than Jesus and certainly not a mediator to God.
The church and religious rituals are a form of pagan worship. It all started when Constantine brought Roman pagan rituals into the church so that Romans would feel comfortable. That was the tiny foothold Satan needed. Like a cancer, the devil infiltrated the church with greed, pride, lust, vanity and horrendous sins that Roman Catholic Church leadership still tries to hide today. I did a deep dive into the history of the church to uncover where they went wrong. Check out the series here.
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU!
It’s time to get right with God before it’s too late! What are you waiting for?
You are God Alone
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)