In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 we are given a long list of blessings that will follow faith and obedience, as well as a long list of curses that will follow disobedience. Both 1 and 2 Kings is a historical record of exactly how that unfolded for Israel. The good kings led the people in faithful living and benefited from the blessings of God, and the evil kings led the people into faithlessness and received the promised curses, culminating in the conquest and exile of first Israel, and then Judah, as we read in today's final passage in 2 Kings. God always keep His Word, and He will remain true to the promises in His covenant - both in the OT and the gospel message of the NT.
There is also a huge reminder in Kings that often the greatest danger to the church is the culture in which we live, and the temptation to conform to what is generally acceptable in our culture. We should not act exactly the same as everyone around us. We should be different. And if we are not different, we need to take a good, long, hard look at our hearts and lives.
It's not mentioned much in this passage, but from others in the OT we know, that there is always a remnant of the faithful. The faithful will never be wiped out entirely - God always has a remnant.
But the hope of Kings is the promise of the Perfect King, who came in the flesh at the incarnation, who already reigns, but who will reign perfectly and eternally at the Second Coming, and who will finally put things right for His people and the world.
Rayburn sums it up....
Kings is a summons to faithfulness, largely to be sure in the negative. It warns us what happens to the unfaithful in the church. It is also a summons to count on and look for and await the coming of the King, the King of Kings. How fortunate we are to live when we do. The King has already come; how much easier for us to look for his coming again.
In out Matthew passage we see the incredible account of the transfiguration - when the glory of Jesus as God is revealed over the humbleness of Jesus as man. What was the disciples reaction to this short glimpse of the glory of God? Terror. Absolute terror.
Our sinfulness cowers in terror at the holiness of God.
How amazing that One so Holy would have love and compassion on us so sinful. That He would sacrifice His only Son in order to have relationship with us. Amazing grace!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Hosea 1-4; Matthew 18:1-20