Good Kings, Bad Kings

The prophets who recorded the chronology of Israel’s and Judah’s kings assessed their time in office in no uncertain terms. For example, from II Kings 12:2-3 we learn that Jehoash “did right in the sight of the LORD,” and in II Kings 15:18 we read that Menahem “did evil in the sight of the LORD.” No gray area for most of them.

Not only that, but we get a glimpse of how God took care of the people who suffered under the bad kings. II Kings 13:23 says, “But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence.”

By the time Jesus came, Israel was ruled by Rome, which also oppressed the people in various ways, such as assessing heavy taxes. In Luke 5:27-28, Jesus noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow Me.” And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. Levi, also known as Matthew, did what was right.

How can sinful people like us be counted as “right in the sight of the LORD”? Paul points the way in Philippians 3:8-9: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

From June readings for Days 18, 19, and 20
II Kings 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15
Psalms 119:137-144, 119:145-152, and 119:153-160
Luke 5:27-32, 5:33-39, and 6:1-16
Philippians 2:12-18, 2:19-30, and 3:1-9

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