Study Notes

1Kings 15:1-34


True to its name, the book of Kings is about kings: the kings of Israel and Judah. As we've noted in earlier studies, there are times where the overlap can mix you up. Even more so than normal, the two chapters we'll be covering tonight and next week are easy to be confused by. They cover the reigns of two kings of Judah and seven kings of Israel. After these chapters, we will have somewhat of a reprieve, as the six chapters following focus on the reign of King Ahab, and his interaction with the prophet Elijah.

So for these two chapters, stay focused and sharp, and we'll do our best to make this history digestible, understandable, and applicable to our lives.

15:1-8 Abijam, A Chip Off The Old Block

While Jeroboam (the son of Neb-AWT) was king over Israel, Rehoboam's son Ab-ee-YAWM became king over Judah. He was Solomon's grandson on his father's side, and Ab-shaw-LOME's grandson on his mother's Mah-ak-AW's side. If I had to guess at his birth as to his life, I would have suggested that he would grow up to be handsome, but rebellious; wise, but an idolater; a good warrior, but a contentious spirit. A man who spoke of not forsaking the Lord, but would rather pursue many women instead of the Lord.

As it says, there was war between Ab-ee-YAWM and Jeroboam. In fact, even though Jeroboam's army outnumbered Ab-ee-YAWM's two to one (2Chron. 13:3), they did cry out to the Lord and trusted in the Lord, and because of this, were delivered (2Chron. 13:14-18).

However, all in all, he was a terrible king. He was involved in the same sins as his father had been. And he reigned for only three years.

15:9-15 Asa, Destroying Idols

When Asa, one of the sons of Ab-ee-YAWM, he was a breath of fresh air for righteousness. He had a heart like David's - not perfect, but a desire to please the Lord. He cleansed the land from much of the religious corruption that had been introduced by the kings before him. The male cult prostitutes were driven our, the idols destroyed.

The word used for idols here is interesting, and hasn't been used much in the Old Testament (although Ezekiel used it a lot). The word is Ghil-LOOL, and seems to be a deliberate sound-alike to the word "gaw-LAWL," which means "dung."

This is very much like where one of the names for the devil originated from. The idolaters of the day worshiped Baal. They would call him "BA-al Ze-BOOL," which means "Lord of the house." But the Israelites called him BA-al Zeb-OB," which means "Lord of the flies." The Jews made it even more derogatory in the Greek language, calling him "Beelzebul," which means "Lord of the dung."

Now, there is some question about Asa's mother. She was probably his grandmother, for the Hebrew makes no distinction. Regardless, King Asa removed her from the throne as queen, because she was steeped in idolatry as well. He cut down her Asherah pole and burned it in the brook Kid-RONE.

As king, he was the authority - even over his grandmother. Although she desired to continue to worship her idol, Asa would not allow it.

As parents, we are the authority over our children - even when they get into their teenage years. Many parents have succumbed to the pressure of their children. In areas regarding dating and relationships, music and movies, friends and hobbies. But listen, parent: you are the authority. If there is an Asherah pole in your child's life, it is your God-given duty to cut it down and destroy it. It doesn't matter if it makes you unpopular - I'm sure Asa's grandma wasn't too happy with him, either. But it was right in the eyes of the Lord.

The proverb says,

Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

In other words, if you are letting your children decide what is right and wrong for their lives, they're going to make foolish decisions. You're not called to be your kid's best friend, you're called to disciple them, to instill in them a knowledge of right and wrong in God's eyes. To lay a foundation of holiness and righteousness.

The High Places

Interestingly, the Scripture tells us that the high places were not taken away, nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord.

Remember that we learned in chapter three that the high places were hilltop places of worship. Most commonly they were constructed for worship of false gods.

Why, if Asa's heart was wholly devoted to the Lord, were the high places not taken away? Actually, many of them were - just not all of them. You see, according to 2Chronicles 14,

2Chr. 14:2-5 ...Asa did good and right in the sight of the LORD his God, for he removed the foreign altars and high places, tore down the {sacred} pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment. He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah.

Asa really did his best to cleanse the land of its idolatry. But people steeped in sin will not lie down so easily. They will hide their high places, and rebuild the ones that are torn down.

I could spend the rest of my life fighting the sale of alcohol in America. Between the people it ruins, the families it destroys, the deaths it causes, and the health risks, we would certainly be justified in declaring it an illegal substance and removing it from the shelves of liquor stores across the country. But would I be totally successful? Unfortunately, no.

You see, people have already attempted this. Georgia tried it in the 1700's. In the 1850's, 15 or 20 states adopted prohibition laws, and in 1920, it became a nationwide law. However, the result was not complete abstinence from alcohol. Although national consumption declined, it did not stop the flow of liquor in our cities. Speakeasies and stills insured that those who wanted alcohol could get it.

The same was true in the days of Asa. Although he attempted to eliminate the high places, they continued to flourish. While we must continue to attempt to make the laws of our land moral to a Christian degree, we must not expect that sinful, unregenerate human beings will abide by those laws.

15:16-19 Asa and Baasha At War

Bah-SHAW had become king of Israel during Asa's third year as king of Judah. As the war between the two kingdoms continued, Bah-SHAW got the idea of fortifying Raw-MAW. Remember that Raw-MAW was the city in which the prophet Samuel had lived, during the days of Saul and David. It was a city just five miles north of Jerusalem. This enabled Bah-SHAW to virtually block any entrance into Jerusalem from the north.

As a response, King Asa send money to Ben-had-AD (the son of Tab-rim-MONE, who was the son of Khez-YONE), the king of Syria. Initially, Ben-had-AD had a treaty with King Bah-SHAW of Israel, but money spoke louder than loyalty.

15:20-21 Ben-hadad Attacks Israel

Ben-had-AD moved his troops into the northern territory of Israel, attacking Ee-YONE, Dan, Aw-BALE Bayth Ma-a-KAW, all Kin-ner-OTH, and the land of Naphtali, while King Bah-SHAW was busy fortifying Raw-MAW in the south. When Bah-SHAW heard of this, he bailed out on his Raw-MAW project and returned to his capital city of Teer-TSAW.

15:22 Building With Others' Materials

Since Bah-SHAW had abandoned his building project, King Asa commanded his people to carry away all the materials from Raw-MAW. They used these to build up the cities of GHEH-bah and Mits-PAW.

I love it when something meant for unrighteousness is used for a righteous cause. In Oregon, one of the churches we attended was in a building that had formerly been a brothel!

The Lord does this spiritually, as well as materially. God is an expert at taking the terrible things that happen in our lives and making them wonderful.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.

As Joseph told his brothers,

Gen. 50:20 " meant evil against me, {but} God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result...

Even the most terrible things can and will be used for the glory of God in your own life.

15:23-24 Diseased In His Feet

In Asa's old age, he was diseased in his feet. Now, as many of you may know, I am completely grossed out by feet. I find them repulsive. And so to read in the Scriptures about diseased feet just turns my stomach. But I'm sure that there is something for us to see here. 2Chronicles gives us an additional comment regarding this time in Asa's life:

2Chr. 16:12-13 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. So Asa slept with his fathers, having died in the forty-first year of his reign.

The Scripture seems to imply that if Asa had sought the Lord in his disease instead of the physicians, he would have lived. Now, I'm sure the Lord is not telling us that physicians are bad. After all, the gospel writer Luke was a physician. Jesus called Himself a physician in healing those sick with sin (Luke 5:31).

No, I believe the message here is a reminder to seek the Lord for healing. To make request of God for deliverance. James said,

James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Of course, there is another way to see this disease as well. Typologically, the feet speak of our walk with God. How is your walk? Is it happening? Are you walking well, or are you diseased in your feet. The answer is not to turn to counselors and psychologists, books and seminars. You have to seek the Lord.

15:25-34 Nadab Becomes King

Now we're backtracking a little bit, to before Bah-SHAW became king.

Jeroboam's son Naw-DAWB was king after the death of his father - but for only two short years. Remember that there had been a prophecy spoken against the house of Jeroboam of a violent end. The prophet Akh-ee-YAW had spoken the word of the Lord, saying,

1Kgs. 14:10-11 "therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken {it.}"

The instrument of God's judgment was Bah-SHAW. Through a conspiracy, he struck down King Naw-DAWB while they were busy attacking the Philistine city of Ghib-beth-ONE. He then proceeded to attack the rest of Jeroboam's household, destroying them, and fulfilling the prophecy of the Lord.

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