Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. (1 Kings 16:33 NIV)
In the southern kingdom of Judah, King Asa ruled for 41 years. In the time of his rule he saw Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri and Ahab take the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel. That’s not just seven kings, that’s four ‘dynasties’.
Baasha sacked Jeroboam’s lineage by plotting and killing his son Nadab and wiping out the family line, only for his own dynasty to be nipped in the bud by an uprising from Zimri that killed Baasha’s son and successor Elah. Zimri also wiped out any vestiges if the Baasha household. Not that Zimri spent much time on the throne as after a week his rule was challenged by the army commander Omri. Facing the army siege of his palace, the already beleaguered Zimri took his life by setting the place on fire!
On taking over, Omri had to battle potential threat to the throne before establishing his rule and setting up a new capital for Israel in the new town of Samaria. He managed to stay on the throne a little longer than his predecessors and even managed to hand his throne onto his son without revolt which was rare.
The instability of the northern kingdom, however, did not stop the leaders deepening ever further in idolatry and rebellion against God. Such disobedience has lead to the downfall of the kings and yet failing to learn from history, they chose not to repent. Indeed Omri’s son seems to take it as a pursuit to set a new standard for flagrant ignorance of the one true God, choosing to follow other gods including that of his wife, Jezebel.
This is not a godless chapter for Israel, though. Even in their idolatry, God remains concerned about the affairs of His people.
Even as the situation appears to be getting worse, it is not for us to think God is not concerned. More than ever before God is looking for faith among the faithless, for the fate of the wicked will be judged by Him.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden