Israel Judah war. King Asa had ruled the Kingdom of Judah for 35 years. In the 15th year of his reign the vast Cushite army had attacked Judah but Asa had trusted God for victory. The nation had promised to obey God with all their hearts and had enjoyed 20 years of peace.

Day 160 (June 9): God messages Jeroboam, Rehoboam’s reign, Egypt invades Judah, Israel v. Judah, Asa loyal to God, throne drama

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Kings 13-14:24
2 Chronicles 12:13-14
2 Chronicles 11:18-12:12
1 Kings 14:25-28
2 Chronicles 12:15-16
1 Kings 14:29-15:5
2 Chronicles 13
1 Kings 15:6-8
2 Chronicles 14:1-8
1 Kings 15:9-15
1 Kings 14:19-20
1 Kings 15:25-34
2 Chronicles 14:9-15:19
(931-895 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 13:18-19): Why would one prophet deceive another?

A. We don’t know exactly what prompted this deceit.  It is possible that the old prophet was maliciously trying to get the young prophet in trouble, or that he simply wanted to spend time with this man, so he lied to bring it about.  Either way, the deception did not excuse the man of God’s explicit order to not take food or drink, and he paid dearly for his poor decision.

Q. (13:22): Is not being buried with your ancestors an insult?

A. Yes.  It meant that you were not buried at home or not buried by your loved ones.

Q. (13:27-28): What is the significance of the lion and the donkey?

A. The lion and the donkey were a confirmation of the truth of God’s prophecies: the first about the royal family being killed off (fulfilled in 15:29), but also a confirmation that He had spoken judgment through the old prophet to the younger man of God.  The idea is that such a miracle should have convinced Jeroboam that he needed to repent and beg for God’s mercy, but he did not.

Q. (14:22-23): Here it says that there was wickedness under Rehoboam, but priests left Jeroboam so they could worship God.

A. That movement does not preclude wickedness in Judah.  What Jeroboam was doing was going a step further, and preventing the Levites and priests from doing their job intentionally.  Even with the priesthood working, the people were capable of wickedness.  Think of the Israelites in the wilderness during Exodus: They also had priests, but were still plenty sinful.

Q. (14:24): Was their adoption of the pagan nations’ practices because all of the nations were not destroyed when Joshua went to war to take over Canaan?

A. That’s one explanation.  The other is that there were still various Canaanite tribes living in the surrounding areas, and the king may have invited them to come and practice their form of pagan worship in Israel and Judah.

Q. (2 Chronicles 11:22): Just reading this automatically made me think of what kind of environment is stirred up when a king is on his way out and whom to groom to be king has to be decided.  The fact that one son is picked to be king among a lot of brothers fosters jealousy, discord and battles.  I remember way back when the Israelites wanted an earthly king because all of the other nations had one.  They didn’t need a king.  They already had a leader — God.  So, could sibling rivalry for the throne be one reason God warned against having a king?

A. There were lots of reasons, but surely that is one of them.  Sibling rivalry has basically haunted each generation from David’s — and Isaac’s — family on down.

Q. (12:2): So, how does the Israelites’ unfaithfulness to God cause King Shishak of Egypt to attack Israel?

A. One of the things that God chooses to do to get Israel or Judah to repent is to raise up a foreign power that is mightier then His people.  Cornered, and without another way out, the people, including the king, are forced to see that they have sinned and repent.  We see this in Asa’s story as well (or rather, the opposite): For those who are faithful to the Lord, they are often given times of peace and prosperity, as David and Solomon both enjoyed at times in their lives.  Bottom line: an invading army is used by God to get the people to, once again, see their need for Him.

Q. (1 Kings 15:3-5): God’s love of David has pardoned a lot of his ancestors.

A. It surely did.

Q. (2 Chronicles 13:10-12): 1 Kings says Abijah committed the same sins as Rehoboam.  Now he says his people serve God.  Is he delusional?

A. I would say no.  This is a turning point for Abijah, who though having failed to this point, leads his people by example in turning to God, and reminding the lapsed people of Israel what it is they are doing by giving up God.  He is greatly rewarded for his turning.

Q. (2 Chronicles 14:1-8): I wonder after a line of ancestors who didn’t follow God how Asa came to follow Him?

A. It’s a good question, and I don’t have a great answer.  One of the most awesome things about God is that through His grace, our past does not have to be our future.  We are not bound to the same mistakes that our family members have made.  We can keep our marriage together even if previous generations have divorced.  We can stop the cycle of abuse from being passed down.  We can raise ourselves up to new heights via God’s might and mercy.

Though several generations of Asa’s ancestors had failed miserably, Asa kept his focus on pleasing God, and was rewarded for his faithfulness … at least for the moment.  Keep reading for a bit more on Asa.

Q. (1 Kings 15:25-26): Israel has been split for a while.  Are both sides still considered God’s chosen people?

A. Israel is pretty much a lost cause, as we will see.  The people are all still God’s, but the people of Israel are digging themselves a deep hole they won’t be able to get out of.

For further study: Sibling rivalry in the Bible, 

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Kings 15:16-22
— 2 Chronicles 16:1-10
— 1 Kings 16:1-7
— 1 Kings 15:23-24/870 B.C.
— 2 Chronicles 16:11-14
— 2 Chronicles 17:1-19
— 1 Kings 17:1-7