A friend of mine recently asked about the sins of the Kings of Israel and Judah:
- why did they sin?
- why did God seem to overlook some sins, but not others?
- where did they go wrong?
- what can we learn from them?
These are great questions. Here was my answer…
The Lord is gracious and does not treat us as our sins deserve. As a result, sometimes he treats us more or less severely, but it’s always less than we truly deserve.
The Kings of Israel did not get it for a variety of reasons:
- They were humans and imperfect men–demonstrating the need for the true King of Israel, Jesus.
- They were trying to solve their problems with human solutions, which often meant turning to human strategies instead of the Lord. Like when you have a foreign threat, do you bolster armies and make alliances with foreign nations, or do you pray and seek the Lord’s face?
- They were swayed by their evil wives. For example, Ahab and Jezebel (she was so treacherous!)
- They didn’t obey primary commands—the king was supposed to copy the Torah by hand, but few did. When you don’t know the law, you cannot obey it.
- The kings of the Northern 10 tribes (following the kingdom split immediately after Solomon) sinned greatly by trying to create a competing religion with the Temple to make the people follow them in a religious nations (theocratic). The north went into exile in 722 BC.
- The kings of the South (Israel and Judah) sinned by thinking that their fidelity to the Temple would save them. That is, “God will never destroy us because he will make the Temple continue.” Wrong answer. God did not spare them or the Temple. He fulfilled his words in Deuteronomy 27-28. Isaiah claims that when they raised their hands to worship, they were stained with blood because of their corruption. The south went into exile in 586 BC.
Deuteronomy 28:63-64 Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. 64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods– gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.