Today, I finally finished the book of 2 Kings. Both 1 Kings and 2 Kings were difficult books to keep up with during the description of every king of Judah and king of Israel. After David’s reign, the kings after him who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord was very few resulting in a lot of destruction of the people of Israel. But there was a trend: God blessed the kings that did right in His eyes and brought turmoil and judgment on the kings that did not.
From all the examples of kings I read in 1 and 2 Kings, it is obvious that the people follow what the king does. If the king does evil in the eyes of the Lord, so will the people. If the king does right in the eyes of God, so will the people. And in every king’s description, it says how they did in the eyes of the Lord. The influence is that influential. All the evidence shows clearly what God will do when we do what is right or evil.
One example of a king who did right in the eyes of the Lord was Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:5-7 says, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all he kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook” (NIV). King Hezekiah accomplished a lot during his reign, taking down idols and defeating his enemies. And even when he was ill and about die, he pleaded with the Lord. And guess what? Because of Hezekiah’s faithfulness, the Lord allowed him to live longer and the people were taken care of (2 Kings 20).
Sadly, there are more example of unfaithful kings. Surprisingly though, some kings who did evil in the eyes of the Lord were assassinated as occurred in the case if King Amon (2 Kings 21). Yet another example is King Jehoiachin who was taken captive by the King of Babylon and replaced by his uncle (2 Kings 24). They were idol worshippers, murderers, and unfaithful leaders. And no wonder, as a result from their evil reign and influence, the land fell with them.
What shocked me the most is not that this is a great example of the leaders in the world, but a sad example of our human nature. When it comes down to it, the Lord is good to those who do right in His eyes and judges those who do evil. And yet, we have the audacity to play with fire: doing evil in the eyes of the Lord is something—for some of us—we do everyday. It is not that the Lord will take tally marks of every sin that we commit but rather it is whether our heart is for Him or not. Am I willing to be an example to the people around me? Or will I follow the evil influences around me?