Title of the book: The Divided Kingdom
If we were to give a title to the book of first Kings, it would be the dividing of two kingdoms. As we explore the book further, we discover the division between the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel, but the true division takes place when the people of God forsook the kingdom of heaven and chose to be subject to the kingdom of man.
This was a prophecy fulfilled through Samuel when he told the people the consequences that would follow if they chose to have an earthly king and rejected the kingdom of God. First Kings is a record of that prophecy being fulfilled.
The book starts out with the death of David and the inheritance given to Solomon to be king in his stead. At first, Solomon was right in seeking God for wisdom and the desire to properly lead God's people and that request was granted by God. But as time progressed, and Solomon became increased with much power and riches, Solomon eventually went back on his promise to God and sought to conduct his reign by means of his self- indulgence. That sin caused him to forsake his promise to God and embrace the gods of the multitude of wives that he possessed.
The fall of his kingdom was inevitable but just prior to his fall, God introduces us to another person whose name is Jeroboam. Solomon's kingdom became a form of dictatorship and was passed on to his son Rehoboam who threatened to make his reign even greater than his father's. People knew they had no longer any inheritance in David and embraced Jeroboam as their new leader because he promised them deliverance from this dictatorship of Solomon and his son.
Although Jeroboam was chosen by God to lead the nation of Israel, he decided that he had a better way than God to conduct his kingship. Now he became the politician and took advantage of the people's desire for ease and comfort. He set up golden images and hired corrupt priests as a substitute for the true worship that would take place in Jerusalem. Through this deception, he led many unsuspecting Israelites to become his followers.
Now the rest of the book of First Kings focuses on the growth and development of the Northern kingdom and those who rose after Jeroboam, continuing his wicked forms of worship continuing to get worse after the succeeding ones until the reign of Ahab. He was worse than all before him and adding to his wickedness, He introduced Baal worship through his marriage to Jezebel. Now idolatry is added to the sins of Israel.
When Israel was at its worst point in history, God raised up Elijah the prophet, a servant of the Most-High God and a representative of his kingdom. And from the time of Elijah we see the conflict clearly set forth between the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God. Constantly, Elijah warned them of their apostasy and challenge them to turn back to God. The ministry of Elijah was a dramatic demonstration of the power of God at work among his people, despite their engagement in the worship of Baal. Three important events took place during the ministry of Elijah. First, Elijah at God's command anointed Jehu to be king over Israel and Hazael to be king over Syria. and he went and sought out Elisha to be his replacement.
Ahab died in battle, Elisha was anointed to take Elijah's place, and finally Elijah was taken by God through great godly demonstration of power (without having faced death) and Elisha now was anointed to take his place. That sums up the teachings of First Kings. The emphasis on this book is centered on the events that took place in the Northern Kingdom consisting of all the tribes beside those of Benjamin and Judah who were in JUDAH AND Jerusalem.
1.As we approach this book, consider what God had promised David as to who his successor should be in II Samuel 7: 12-17, What disqualified Adonijah from succeeding David?
2. When Adonijah began to take control. Of what promise was David reminded in verse 13?
3. in verses 11-17, What was David's response in verse 29,30.
4.In Chapter 3:1,2, How did Solomon make a foolish choice at the outset of his reign? What evil thing occurred? Notice the excuse made for this compromise.
5, Read 3: 3-14 and consider the covenant God made with Solomon.
6. From Chapter 3-11 the wealth and wisdom of Solomon is illustrated, but Solomon began to show signs ingratitude. Hiram, after spending much time and energy to Give Solomon his desires was rewarded with a gift that was unworthy of Hiram's sacrifices. Signs of compromise began and when we come to chapter 11, we find that Solomon was unfaithful to the covenant with God. We are reminded that God does not go back on His promises. In Chapter 11: 1- 12 the covenant is broken and the division begins. What did God say in verse 11,12 concerning his servant whom we discover later to be Jeroboam (see verse 29)
7. In 12:2, what happened to Jeroboam while Solomon was still alive? In verse 15, what change took place and why? In verse 20, 21 describe what happened and the fulfillment of God's promise to Solomon in 11: 11,12
8. In chapters 13 -17 we find further deterioration of the kingdoms. There were some good kings that followed Jeroboam, but in the northern kingdom things became worse.
9.. Read the following verses that prepare for the arrival of the prophet Elijah, 14:33,34; 15:9; 15:26; 15:30,31; 15:33,36: 16:19 ;16: 25,26;16; :28-34. These events take us to the ministry of Elijah.