1 & 2 Kings Part One Dive
ARE WE EMBARRASSED ABOUT THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?
What impacts me the most as I read the Old Testament, and especially Kings, is how long-suffering our God is. This is years and years of documented focused history. As we learnt in the Snapshot video this week, over 500 years of history. The author has written these accounts for anyone living after these times, wanting them to know that our God is long-suffering and patient in His covenant agreement. This book is meant to be used as a warning and encouragement to all who read it. The author has not given us a full historical account of the time but a focused historical account, meaning he has highlighted specific people and situations in that 500 year period that show us what to do and what not to do. So write in your margins when you see both of these and take note!
Now, in this particular book, I want you to highlight every time you see the word 'LORD'. It is going to be a lot. 'LORD' is a reference to Yahweh, Father God and it is written throughout the Old Testament as L O R D all in capitals. Here is a quick article that explains why it is done this way.
LORD (all caps or small caps) reflects the original term yhwh (found 6,823 times), while Lord (standard capitalization) is the English rendition of the Hebrew adonai (used some 300 times).
As suggested above, one of the names for God, as conveyed in Hebrew, was yhwh (four consonants). Because the Jews considered this title to be very sacred, they did not pronounce it.
Eventually, the scribes borrowed vowels from the name adonai based upon a point system, which reflected the way the language was spoken. Vowels were thus inserted into the sacred four-letter name (called the tetragrammaton—“four letters”). This eventually evolved into the hybrid word “Jehovah” around the beginning of the twelfth century A.D.
The Hebrew term yhwh is believed to derive from the root hwy, meaning “to be.” The name suggests that God simply is, i.e., he possesses an underived existence; he is the eternal “I AM” (cf. Exodus 3:14—especially see the footnote in the ASV; cf. also John 8:58).
Also, this name became a special designation which emphasized God’s relationship to the nation of Israel.
“Jehovah” or yhwh dramatically depicts one of the prime attributes of the Creator—his eternal existence. In addition, it stresses his enduring presence with Israel in their redemptive history.*
The name 'LORD' is used over five hundred times in this text, with accompanying descriptions. What He does, what He is like, His actions and nature are seen throughout the text. At times, we can forget that the same Father God that gave His son in the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament, who is strong in battle, strong in justice and strong in redemption. Throughout the books, you see Father God fulfilling His promises to those who are faithful and calling for repentance from their ways for those who do evil, for them to change their actions and turn back to God.
O.T. GOD VS N.T. GOD?
The one thing I worry about in our post-New-Testament churches is that we are passionately trying to distance ourselves from the Old Testament God because He doesn't seem to fit the grace gospel that we proclaim. We are happy to preach Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, but when it comes to the nature of Father God as revealed in the Old Testament, we quickly turn over to the New so as to not cause anyone to be offended.
But be offended! The God I serve is the God of the Old Testament and New. I am comfortable in my God as the strong, distinctive, just, upright God of the Old Testament who sent His Son in His fullness to be His image in the New Testament. I am a whole Bible Christian. I study the Old Testament to know the God that I serve and as a warning and encouragement to my behaviour. And I love studying the New Testament to see His redemptive plan to save the whole world.
As Christians, especially as Pentecostals, we tend to think that the Law and the Old Testament are abolished. I have heard Christians say 'I don’t read it because I am a Spirit-filled New Testament Christian'. That is so biblically incorrect! We are called to know our history, to know the God of the Old Testament and how He is revealed in the New. We don’t serve a schizophrenic God that completely changed His nature between Testaments, causing us to be ashamed of His ‘past behaviour’ in the Old testament, and just skip over it. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
So love your Old Testament God! Engage with Him, find out about Him. I love the final paragraph in Jackson's article excerpt, 'the term 'LORD' dramatically depicts one of the prime attributes of the Creator – stressing his enduring presence with Israel in their redemptive history'. That is what we want you to get out of the Dive this week and as you focus in on the word 'LORD' in the book of Kings. God is long-suffering, and He journeys with His people through these books.
Notice how He speaks through His prophets to try and correct and guide His people, but they don’t listen. It's really important that you notice God, His nature, the rejection He suffers and the bad behaviour of His people as you read 1 & 2 Kings, because this is going to set you up for reading the Prophetic Books of the Bible.
Sometimes we read the Prophets in the Bible and because we don’t know our Old Testament history. We don’t understand why God is so angry, and we get confused at why God comes out looking so severe. We incorrectly judge God from the Prophetic Books as harsh and judgmental because we haven’t seen the situation that the prophet is speaking into. We don’t hear the heart of God in 1 & 2 Kings, the frustration, the need for reformation, the corruption in His people, the social injustice, His long-suffering passion for the covenant and redemptive plan of Christ. These people are supposed to be the light to other nations, the door that would bring all nations, including the Gentiles, to salvation, but they are rebellious, corrupt and full of hatred, yet God uses them to usher in His Son and save the world.
As you read 1 & 2 Kings, get to know the fullness of your God. He will offend your grace gospel, He will transform your thinking of justice, He will become Sovereign Lord and King, He will become bigger in your life. This will change the way you see Him. He will no longer fit into your perspective but let Him show you His!
He is strong, decisive, He has boundaries on our behaviour for our own good, and we serve Him not only because He first gave, but because He is God He is our King, our Creator and deserves to be praised. Let me show you some key verses:
1 Kings 1:29 – He rescues us from trouble.
1 Kings 1:48 – reveals His nature.
1 Kings 2:3 – reminds us that as we walk in His ways, keep His commands that we may prosper in all you do.
1 Kings 2:26 – notice the words that describe Him, ‘sovereign’; what does that mean?
1 Kings 2:32 – the LORD repays for wrongs – how do we reconcile that?
So go on a Bible adventure getting to know the God of the Old Testament as 'LORD'. We are whole Bible Christians, we serve the God of the Old and New Testaments. They are not separate, with one old-fashioned, judgmental and horrible God, and one new, cool, loving and grace-filled God. No, we serve one God, so get to know Him as you read 1 and 2 Kings this week.
Happy adventuring guys!
*Jackson, Wayne. "LORD and Lord: What's the Difference?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 18, 2018. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/305-lord-and-lord-whats-the-difference