The book of the Kings continues the story from the books of Samuel and is intended to be read as a continuous story. In the Hebrew Bible, the book of kings is a single book with a great message. Within its pages, we read about the death of King David, the reign and death of Solomon, the building of the Temple, and the eventual division of the kingdom.
It is important for us to realize that while the books detail many historical facts about Israel and her kings; it is not primarily a history book. First and Second Kings, like every other book of the Bible, strives to teach us something about our God. It wants to help us see His great love, mercy, and grace; to see his purpose and goals for our life (Rom. 15:4). That is why the books do more than detail the kings with their successes and failures. The books strive to teach us spiritual lessons through the lives, good and bad, of the people.
If you had to summarize the book into a single lesson, a single thought, with the goal of helping us see the bigger points it would be: Faithfulness to God and his words will always result in our success, while unfaithfulness will always result in overwhelming failures. This simple lesson is reinforced repeatedly throughout the books.
Under the faithful leadership of David, Israel has conquered the entire Promised Land and finally enjoys some rest from her enemies. After his death, Solomon ascends to the throne of Israel and enjoys great success. Like most people, he does well at first but eventually succumbs to complacency and sin. He is blessed by God with great wisdom and wealth but allows his desires for many women and political power to erode his faithfulness to God. Eventually, he builds idol altars for his wives and even worships with them (1 Kings 11:1-8).
This unfaithfulness propels him down a path of sin that eventually results in the loss of everything but especially the kingdom of Israel. Upon his death, the kingdom is ripped from the grasp of his son (his ignorance and refusal to listen didn’t help) and given to a rival named Jeroboam by God himself.
The repeated failures of Solomon became the catalyst that propels the entire nation toward idolatry and unfaithfulness to God. As a result, Elijah has a showdown with the prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19, 22) on Mount Carmel.
These are just a few of the stories that illustrate the principle of faithfulness to God that results in success or failure. Let’s make sure we read the book and seek to remain faithful to our God. If for no other reason than it will be good for us. God is good and being his children is challenging but its always worth it.