The truth is that God’s desire is always to bless us. His commands and instruction are given so that you might flourish (see Deuteronomy 6:1–3).
We see this in the fortunes of the different kings of Israel and Judah. The writer of 1 and 2 Kings gives us a thumbnail assessment of whether each king did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Every one of the kings of Israel is described as doing ‘evil in the eyes of the Lord’ (2 Kings 17:2), and it leads to the early destruction of the kingdom (v.8).
In contrast, around half of the kings of Judah are described in broadly positive terms, and around half in broadly negative terms. Under the ‘good’ kings Judah flourished, and its history is much longer and more positive than Israel’s. The reigns of the ‘good’ kings were generally longer than those of the ‘evil’ kings. The twelve evil kings reigned for a combined total of 130 years, whereas the ten good kings reigned for a total of 343 years. The ‘good’ kings still faced all kinds of difficulties and challenges, and following God is no guarantee of an easy life. Yet their example is a powerful reminder of the blessings and wisdom of listening to and following God.
And that’s the memo.
By Nicky Gumbel