Free Kings 1 & 2 Essay Sample
The books of 1 and 2 kings talks of how God rescued and delivered the Israelites by revealing his power. Compared to other books of the bible where such power is revealed through a group, the book of kings concentrates on individual persons. The people may be considered ordinary in the eyes of the reader, since most of their names are not mentioned. The first parts of the book are filled with chapters that reveal the transition of kingship from David to Solomon, who became the second king of Israel. The minor characters of the books reveal God’s power through the unexpected people in the society, and the fact that God is in the business of delivering the lowly in spirit and fight for the course of the weak (Seow, 1999). God was communicating to the people that he is able to reach out to them, irrespective of their status or position in the society. Some of the minor characters we encounter in the book of 1 and 2 kings include the Shunammite woman, the two prostitutes, lepers at the city gate, Naboth, Naaman and the widow. The above characters were used to reveal the supernatural power of God to reveal his intervention to the people that trust and obey leadership.
The Shunammite woman
The shunammaite woman has been used in the book to convey the message of hope to those who honor God’s servants. God reveals how he is able to use his servants to show how much people are willing to obey and honor Him by offering services to those that he sends. In a dramatic experience, God sends Elijah to a poor shunammite woman, who barely had food to take care of her and her son. By accepting to prepare the little that she had for a servant of God, much was able to be restored to her (Gray, 1963). As if that was not enough, her kindness went to a great length of saving her son from death through Elijah. The message of restoration through obedience to God has been conveyed through her story as we learn that, it is never too little to give to God. As an individual recognizes the sovereignty of God, who is able to multiply the little she or he has, she able to get much more, not just what she gave but even be completely restored and transformed.
The shunammite woman teaches on the unfailing love of God and how an act of kindness can go a long way in sustains a person in need. There is the aspect of the shunammite woman, which opened great doors of blessings upon his life. She had not met Elijah before, but recognized and believed that he was a man sent by God. The very reason he extended such kindness to a stranger is because of the great respect that she had for him. He honored the servant of God above her needs, which opened a door for unending blessings for her. She connected with the anointing, which enabled prophet Elijah to cry out to God on her behalf, for the restoration of her son.
The two prostitutes
The two prostitutes were used to confirm the gift of wisdom that God had bestowed upon Solomon. Solomon was one of the greatest kings of Israel and the wisest that has ever been recorded on earth. The gift was given to him after he asked of it from God (McKenzie, 1991). God was impressed by the attitude that was shown by Solomon and promised not only to bless him with wisdom but with riches and even fame. The story of the two prostitutes and the dead child were the first show of God’s manifest wisdom upon Solomon. It was a case that was referred to him after vain intervention (Vanhoozer & Longman III, 2009). The message in the story is of how important our attitude is towards God whenever we pray. God will be drawn to manifest his power through us, when we show an attitude of humility and helplessness before him. It was through the manifestation of such wisdom that Solomon’s fame grew.
The story of the two prostitutes also reveals to us the nature of God. Jesus, in his ministry was condemned for associating with the sinners. In his answer, Jesus replied that he cam for the sinners and not the righteous. In the passage, we see God using known sinners to reveal his power and sovereignty. This hence implies that God is not limited on whom he can use t reveal his majesty. It was one of the strategies that God used to win people to himself. The act of justice as revealed in the nature of God has also been revealed. Through the wisdom that was displayed by king Solomon, there was no doubt that God was concerned about the welfare of his people by ensuring they obtain just ruling through his servants.
Lepers at the city gate
Lepers at the city gate are another manifestation of God’s unconditional love towards his people. The bible does not mention the names of who the lepers were nor their gender because of the insignificance in the society (Cogan, 2001). Lepers were discriminated and even excommunicated from the society due to their condition that was communicable. However, in their insignificance and helplessness, God used them to bring deliverance to the people of Samaria and causing an unexpected abundance. Even though the lepers recognized their weakness, they obeyed the inner conviction to go to the Assyrian camp to get food for themselves (Nelson, 1987). Their desperate nature made it easy for God to use them to bring salvation and deliverance to the Israelites. He used their willingness to go and even caused terror among their enemies, who fled their camps. More so, God was revealing to the Israelites his unlimited power to save, by using the very people they did not want to associate with. God is hence looking for those who are willing and obedient to His voice, that he may manifest his power.
Lepers at the city gate reveal the ability of God to sue the weak in the society to shame the powers of the strong. It also means that God does not at people the same that man looks at them. for instance, no man would have imagined that God would use those who have been rejected by society t deliver the Israelites from captivity. The only ingredient that God looks at when he wants to sue a person is not their physical or intellectual capability, but rather their willingness and attitude of heart. Just before the siege was lifted, the people of Samaria were going through a famine and it was difficult for a certain rule to believe that God was able to change their situation within twenty four hours. The lepers were therefore used to reveal the nature of God to change a situation within the shortest time possible.
Naboth was a lowly man who was used to reveal the shrewd nature of some of the kings of Israel. He was a man of noble character, yet his status in the society made him to be taken advantage of by the king. He became a victim of a jealousy king, who used his power to obtain what he wanted (Cohn, 1982). The story also shows the impact of influence especially when the king’s ego has been injured. Naboth is a representative of many citizens, who are held in between dying for integrity or sundering it for the sake of their lives (McConville, 2006). Naboth lived under the reign of King Ahab who killed him, just to obtain the vineyard he had admired. Despite succeeding in his missions, God poured his wrath upon him and his family. God was hence able to fight for the helpless and punish greedy leaders who misuse their powers.
Naboth was used to reveal God’s punishment and judgment upon greedy leaders. The eyes of the lord always look upon the weak with a lot of compassion and anybody who plots evil against such people receives harsh judgment from God. We are told later in the story that it was not just Ahab who was destroyed and killed nut his entire family. This hence implies that the moment Ahab set his eyes on a property that he had illegally acquired; it became a curse to his family. It was believed that sin was not just an individual thing but flowed in the family. The only way that such for of action could be eradicated was through the destruction of the family of Ahab. This was also to serve as a lesson to other leaders who think they can get over with the injustices they commit against the people that God has charged them with.
Compared to most of the characters in the book of kings that were used to manifest God’s power, Namaan was an influence leader in Aram, yet he had a condition that required divine intervention. Naaman was at a point in life when nothing worked for him and had to seek the intervention of God for his condition. However, his miracle would only come, if he was willing to humble himself and obey the commands given to God’s servant. We observe a resistance in the heart of Naaman who was not willing to obey, simply because of his position and rank in the society. However his desperation prompted him to obey the prophet which opened doors for an instant miracle. Through the story, God reveals his ability to manifest his power to the humble in spirit and those who obey his commands (Bartholomew & Treier, 2008). The story also reveals how power and status hinders many from receiving their miracles.
The story of Naaman also proves the fact that God wil not always use the necessary and the obvious. God works in ways we cannot understand, and nobody can detect the specific way in which he chooses to reveal or manifest his power. In the passage of scripture, God used a rather complex and procedural tactic to bring healing to Naaman. He would have just chosen to grant him instant haling without making him go deep himself in the river Jordan. He wanted t test the obedience of Naaman through his servant, which was an important ingredient in receiving anything from God. God is not interested in the position that a person holds in the society, but rather the attitude they display and their willingness to obey and submit to His commands.
The widow has been used in the book of kings to reveal the manifest power of God to the hurting and weak in the society. The passage reveals that it is never too late for God to save. All that is required is for people to fix their hearts and attention on him. The widow was at a desperate point in his life where she needed a quick miracle to pay a debt and redeem his land (Nelson, 2012). Her desperate nature and cry for help moved the heart of the God and hence causing abundance, in her desperate situation. The story shows the compassionate nature of God and a confirmation of the ministry of Jesus on earth as revealed in the book of Isaiah 61. He healed the hearts of the broken and proclaimed freedom to the captives.
In the bible, God charged His disciples to show compassion to the widows and orphans. The ministry of God is a ministry of compassion and love. It is for this reason that Jesus was more drawn to those who were suffering. Despite the harsh reaction that he received from his followers, Jesus knew that the kind of people that touch the heart of God are those that who were suffering. They were at a point where they were ready and willing to be helped and assisted.
Bartholomew, C., & Treier, D. 2008. Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: a Book-by-Book Survey.
Cogan, M. (Ed.). 2001. 1 Kings: a new translation with introduction and commentary (Vol. 10). Anchor Bible.
Cohn, R. L. 1982. The literary logic of 1 Kings 17-19. Journal of Biblical Literature, 333-350.
Gray, J. 1963. I & II Kings: a commentary. Westminster Press.
Longman III, T. 2009. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Zondervan.
McConville, J. G. 2006. God and Earthly Power: An Old Testament Political Theology, Genesis-Kings (Vol. 454). A&C Black.
McKenzie, S. L. 1991. The Trouble with Kings: The Composition of the Book of Kings in the Deuteronomistic History (Vol. 42). Brill Academic Pub.
Nelson, R. 1987. First and Second Kings: Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox.
Nelson, R. D. 2012. First and second Kings. Westminster John Knox Press.
Seow, C. L. 1999. The First and Second Books of Kings. The new interpreter’s Bible, 3, 1-295.
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