Let’s recall some Hebrew history. The first king of Israel was Saul, “an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else” (1 Samuel 9:2). His reign lasted forty years, until, because of his self-centeredness, the Lord “rejected him as king over Israel” (1 Samuel 16:1).
The next king was David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Following David’s faithful forty-year reign, God promised David, your “house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). The Davidic Covenant was ultimately fulfilled, as Jesus, David’s direct descendent, took His rightful and eternal place as King of kings.
David’s son, Solomon was crowned king next and served another forty years. When Solomon prayed for “wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10), God granted Solomon’s request. But “King Solomon loved many foreign women ... He had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred who were concubines, and they turned his heart away... to follow other gods” (1 Kings 11:1–4). If you look up the word “dumb” in certain dictionaries, you might find Solomon’s picture...
Rehoboam, Solomon’s son became king in his father’s place. At his inauguration, representatives of the nation pleaded with the new king to reduce the tax burden that Solomon had heaped upon them. When he refused, Jeroboam led a revolt that resulted in the kingdom being divided (1 Kings 12:1-19). The northern ten tribes followed Jeroboam while the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam and David’s throne.
About two-hundred years later, the northern kingdom was utterly destroyed by the Assyrians. In their short history, they were never led by a God-fearing king. There were at least twenty kings of the northern tribes, all wicked.
The southern kingdom, often referred to as Judah, was led by Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. They also “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They provoked him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed. They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were even male cult prostitutes in the land. They imitated all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites” (1 Kings 14:22–24).
Just as the Davidic Covenant had promised, Judah was continually led by a descendant of David. From Solomon to Jesus, most of Judah’s kings were wicked. A handful of those kings repented, turned back to the God of David, and sought Divine direction and favor.
This week, let’s continue to review Hebrew history, looking at the great revivals under Judah’s good kings, men like Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, and Hezekiah.
During Solomon’s reign, God promised that “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV). Let’s examine the historical evidence that proves that God’s promise is true and let’s prayerfully contemplate how America in the twenty-first century is in need of another Great Awakening.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.