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A Historical Perspective

October 12, 2010

 

                A significant time in the history of divided Israel occurs during the reign of Ahab over Israel and the reign of Jehoshaphat over Judah.  They were contemporaries as were their sons who succeeded them.  It can also be a confusing portion of scripture to read in that they had sons with the same names.  Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram even married Ahab’s daughter.  Much of I and II Kings and II Chronicles is devoted to this time in history.  It is a turning point.  Israel remained idolatrous and Judah reformed and began to worship God once again, falling away later in their history.  Consider the following chart.

Kings of Israel

God’s Prophets

Kings of Judah

      Ahab     874-853 BC

    Ahaziah     853-852 BC

    Jehoram     852-841BC

     Elijah     875-845BC

    Elisha     845-800 BC

     Jehoshaphat      873-849 BC

    Jehoram     849-842 BC

    Ahaziah     841BC

 

                It is also the time of Elijah and Elisha, prophets of the Lord God to Israel.  Their ministry was purposed to show idolatrous Israel who the true Lord God is.  God’s later prophets seem to portray a general progression from showing who God is to announcing who is God and condemning both Israel and Judah for their sin.  Later on, God’s prophets focused on Israel’s and Judah’s punishment for sin and even later God’s grace and restoration of a united Israel to be the people He originally intended.  See my commentary on The Prophets.

                God seemed to give up on Israel ever returning to Him during the reign of Ahab and began to plan their destruction at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 BC.  God continued to be patient with Judah until the reign of Manasseh and then began to plan their exile to Babylon in 605-587BC.

                 God is patient with us too, extending His mercy to us because He loves us.  But God is also just and punishes sin.  We are created to return His love.  Failure to do so leads to eternal death.  Follow the Lord instead of idols.

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