D.A. Carson Posts – The Gospel Coalition https://www.thegospelcoalition.org The Gospel Coalition Mon, 20 Nov 2023 01:00:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1 Chronicles 13–14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-13-14-james-1-amos-8-luke-3/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-13-14-james-1-amos-8-luke-3/#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-13-14-james-1-amos-8-luke-3/ 1 Chronicles 11–12; Hebrews 13; Amos 7; Luke 2 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-11-12-hebrews-13-amos-7-luke-2/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-11-12-hebrews-13-amos-7-luke-2/#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-11-12-hebrews-13-amos-7-luke-2/ 1 Chronicles 9–10; Hebrews 12; Amos 6; Luke 1:39–80 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-9-10-hebrews-12-amos-6-luke-139-80/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-9-10-hebrews-12-amos-6-luke-139-80/#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-9-10-hebrews-12-amos-6-luke-139-80/ 1 Chronicles 7–8; Hebrews 11; Amos 5; Luke 1:1–38 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-7-8-hebrews-11-amos-5-luke-11-38/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-7-8-hebrews-11-amos-5-luke-11-38/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-7-8-hebrews-11-amos-5-luke-11-38/ 1 Chronicles 5–6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalms 148–150 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-5-6-hebrews-10-amos-4-psalms-148-150/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-5-6-hebrews-10-amos-4-psalms-148-150/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-5-6-hebrews-10-amos-4-psalms-148-150/ 1 Chronicles 3–4; Hebrews 9; Amos 3; Psalms 146–147 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-3-4-hebrews-9-amos-3-psalms-146-147/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-3-4-hebrews-9-amos-3-psalms-146-147/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2023 06:45:09 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-3-4-hebrews-9-amos-3-psalms-146-147/ 1 Chronicles 1–2; Hebrews 8; Amos 2; Psalm 145 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-1-2-hebrews-8-amos-2-psalm-145/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-chronicles-1-2-hebrews-8-amos-2-psalm-145/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-chronicles-1-2-hebrews-8-amos-2-psalm-145/ There is a thematic link between today’s two primary readings.

First Chronicles 1–2 begins long chapters of annotated genealogical information. This is not the sort of material to which we are instantly drawn. Yet biblical genealogies accomplish many things besides the obvious one of recording genealogical descent. If one were reading the Bible through, at this point the lists of names would serve, in part, as a review: the beginnings up to David, with 1 and 2 Chronicles taking the reader to the end of the active Davidic dynasty. The genealogy also sets out in brief compass some of the branches that can easily be lost to view in the tangle of reading the narratives themselves. How are Abraham’s descendants tied to Noah? Abraham himself had children by three women: Hagar, Keturah, and Sarah. Where did they end up?

Of course, the genealogy does not aim to be comprehensive. It is heading toward Judah, toward the Davidic dynasty. And this is the point: There is movement and change, there are developments and fresh covenants, but from the beginning the Bible’s storyline has been a unified account heading toward the Davidic line, and ultimately toward “great David’s greater Son” (see the meditations for May 17 and September 10).

In genre and emphasis, Hebrews 8 is very different from the genealogies of the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles. Yet part of the argument in this chapter overlaps with lessons from 1 Chronicles. At this point in Hebrews, the author is arguing that the tabernacle (and, in principle, the temple) established by the covenant at Sinai must not be taken as the final expression of God’s will for the worship of his people. That is to misunderstand its purpose in the sweep of redemptive history. The author has already argued at length for the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 5–7)—indeed, that this superior priesthood was announced by the Old Testament Scriptures themselves. Now he draws attention to the fact that the “sanctuary” constructed in the desert followed exactly the “pattern” shown Moses on the mountain (Heb. 8:5). The reason for this, the author argues, is that it was only a shadow of the reality. To make it the ultimate reality is to misconstrue it. Moreover, readers of the Hebrew canon should know this. That tabernacle was tied to the Mosaic Covenant. But centuries later, at the time of Jeremiah, God promised the coming of a new covenant (Heb. 8:7–12). “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Heb. 8:13). The dawning of the new covenant not only relegates the old covenant’s tabernacle to the past, but displays the unity of the Bible’s storyline, however diverse the streams—for the varied streams converge in Jesus.

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2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Amos 1; Psalm 144 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-25-hebrews-7-amos-1-psalm-144/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-25-hebrews-7-amos-1-psalm-144/#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-25-hebrews-7-amos-1-psalm-144/ In this last chapter of 2 Kings (2 Kings 25), Jerusalem slouches off into shame and defeat. But there is a twist in the tale.

The narrative itself is grubby. Zedekiah, the caretaker king, was weak and corrupt. Jeremiah was preaching submission: God had decreed that Judah be punished in this way, and therefore the nation must not rebel against Babylon. Seven hundred miles away, Ezekiel was preaching much the same thing to the exiles: Judah and Jerusalem, he insisted, were much worse than most people thought, and God had decreed judgment upon her. Several years before the final destruction, he predicted that the glory of God would abandon Jerusalem, and the city would be destroyed (Ezek. 8–11)—a devastating message to the exiles, for to them it meant there would be no home to which to return, and an abandonment by God so total they scarcely had categories to comprehend it.

But Zedekiah rebelled anyway. Babylonian retaliation was as brutal as it was inevitable. By 588 B.C., the mighty Babylonian army was back at Jerusalem’s gates. The city was taken in 587 B.C. Zedekiah tried to escape, but was captured near Jericho and taken to Nebuchadnezzar’s headquarters at Riblah. There his sons were killed before his eyes—and then his eyes were gouged out. Most of the city was burned, and the walls were taken down stone by stone. Anyone of any substance was transported to Babylon. Over the poor who remained in the land to tend the vines, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah as governor, who set up his administrative center at Mizpah, since Jerusalem was so thoroughly destroyed. A mere seven months later, Gedaliah was assassinated by stupid toughs of royal blood: apparently they were affronted that a governor had been appointed from outside the Davidic line. Realization of what they had done finally dawned. Fearing retaliation from the Babylonians, the remaining people fled to Egypt.

If that is the way 2 Kings ended, the themes of justice and judgment would be served, but the reader would be left wondering if there was any hope for the Davidic line and the sweeping messianic promises bound up with it. But in fact, the book ends with a twist in the tale. The last few verses (2 Kings 25:27–30) quietly report that in the thirty-seventh year of his exile, King Jehoiachin was released from his imprisonment. For the rest of his life, he was supported by the Babylonian state: He “put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table,” receiving “a regular allowance as long as he lived.” The story of redemption is not yet done, the Davidic line not yet extinct. In the midst of crushing sin and slashing judgment, hope still beckons.

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2 Kings 24; Hebrew 6; Joel 3; Psalm 143 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-24-hebrew-6-joel-3-psalm-143/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-24-hebrew-6-joel-3-psalm-143/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-24-hebrew-6-joel-3-psalm-143/ The final unraveling of the Davidic dynasty was not pretty. The last reforming king, Josiah, made a major mistake when he unnecessarily confronted Pharaoh Neco of Egypt. In 609 B.C., Josiah not only lost, but lost his life (2 Kings 23:29) while still a relatively young man. His son Jehoahaz became king at the age of twenty-three, but his reign lasted a mere three months, until Pharaoh Neco arrested him and ultimately transported him to Egypt, where he died. Pharaoh Neco installed another son of Josiah on the throne, viz. Jehoiakim. He lasted eleven years. Second Kings 24 picks up the account from there.

Jehoiakim’s Judah was squeezed between Egypt in the south and west, and Babylon in the north and east. The latter got the upper hand. Jehoiakim himself was corrupt, religiously perverse, and had grandiose visions of himself. He reintroduced pagan cults; violence abounded. In the fourth year of his reign, in 605 B.C., Pharaoh Neco of Egypt was crushed by the Babylonians at the battle of Carchemish on the northern Syrian border; Egyptian power did not manage to reassert itself for almost three hundred years. Jehoiakim and the tiny country of Judah became a vassal tributary of the Babylonian empire.

But in 601 B.C., Jehoiakim rebelled. Nebuchadnezzar sent contingents of his armed forces to harry Judah. Then in December 598 B.C., he moved his powerful army to besiege Jerusalem. Jehoiakim died. His eighteen-year-old son Jehoiachin reigned for three months. Faced with an impossibly difficult decision, on March 16, 597 B.C., he abandoned resistance and surrendered. King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the palace retinue, the nobility, the men of valor, the leading craftsmen, and the priestly aristocracy (including Ezekiel) were transported seven hundred miles away to Babylon—at a time when seven hundred miles was a long, long way. Jehoiachin remained in prison and house arrest for thirty-seven years before he was released; but even then he never returned home, never saw Jerusalem again. The Babylonians still regarded him as the rightful king (as did the exiles), but meanwhile they installed a caretaker king back in Judah—his uncle Zedekiah, still only twenty-one years of age (2 Kings 24:18). His end belongs to the next chapter.

“Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.… It was because of the LORD’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence” (2 Kings 24:3–4, 20).

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2 Kings 23; Hebrews 5; Joel 2; Psalm 142 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-23-hebrews-5-joel-2-psalm-142/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-23-hebrews-5-joel-2-psalm-142/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-23-hebrews-5-joel-2-psalm-142/ 2 Kings 22; Hebrews 4; Joel 1; Psalms 140–141 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-22-hebrews-4-joel-1-psalms-140-141/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-22-hebrews-4-joel-1-psalms-140-141/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-22-hebrews-4-joel-1-psalms-140-141/ The last serious attempt at moral and theological reformation in the kingdom of Judah is reported in 2 Kings 22. After that, there is only the final slide into exile.

King Hezekiah, the effect of whose reign was so largely good, was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He reigned a long time, fifty-five years, but his reign was notorious for its “evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites” (2 Kings 21:2). There was no form of current idolatry he did not adopt. According to 2 Chronicles 33, Manasseh repented toward the end of his life, but the religious and institutional damage could not easily be undone. He was succeeded by his wicked son Amon, who lasted only two years before he was assassinated (2 Kings 21:19–26).

Then came Josiah, a boy of eight when he came to the throne (2 Kings 22:1). He reigned thirty-one years—which means, of course, he died a premature death at the age of thirty-nine. Initially he would have been under the guidance and control of others. But in the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah, then in his mid-twenties, initiated temple cleanup and repair—and the “Book of the Law” was rediscovered. Probably this refers to the book of Deuteronomy. (Nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars of skeptical bent contend that this was in fact when Deuteronomy and other parts of the Pentateuch were actually written, so that this story of “rediscovering” the law was made up to justify these new developments. This theory is increasingly being dismissed; its foundation is little more than raw speculation.)

The reforms instituted by Josiah were sweeping. On every front, wherever he could effect change, Josiah brought the nation into line with the Law of God. He fully recognized the terrible threat of wrath that hung over the covenant people, and he resolved to do what was right, leaving the outcome with God. If the day of reckoning could not finally be removed, at least it could be delayed.

Of the important lessons to be learned here, I shall focus on one. Some people find it difficult to believe that the nation could descend into complete biblical ignorance so quickly. After all, Hezekiah was Josiah’s great-grandfather: the reformation he led was not that long ago. True—but long enough. The intervening three-quarters of a century had begun with the long and wicked reign of Manasseh. The history of the twentieth century testifies to how quickly a people can become ignorant of Scripture—and we live this side of the printing press, not to mention the Internet. The church is never more than a generation or two from apostasy and oblivion. Only grace is a sufficient hedge.

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2 Kings 21; Hebrews 3; Hosea 14; Psalm 139 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-21-hebrews-3-hosea-14-psalm-139/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-21-hebrews-3-hosea-14-psalm-139/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-21-hebrews-3-hosea-14-psalm-139/ 2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalms 137–138 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-20-hebrews-2-hosea-13-psalms-137-138/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-20-hebrews-2-hosea-13-psalms-137-138/#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2023 06:45:04 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-20-hebrews-2-hosea-13-psalms-137-138/ 2 Kings 20 is one of the sadder chapters of Scripture. It pictures a man who has been faithful in the past, now withering away in the complacency of selfishness.

King Hezekiah ruled over Judah, the southern kingdom, in the waning days of the northern kingdom of Israel. Once the Assyrians had defeated Israel and transported its leading citizens, leaving behind only a shattered wreck of a nation, there was plenty of reason for discouragement in the south. But in truly heroic fashion, Hezekiah, guided in part by the prophet Isaiah, withstands the withering siege of King Sennacherib of Assyria, simply relying on the mercy of the Lord God. Sent by God himself, plague sweeps through the Assyrian camp, killing almost two hundred thousand people. Jerusalem and Judah are spared (2 Kings 18–19; Isa. 36–37). Moreover, Hezekiah’s commitment to God in the early years of his reign was not characterized by the typical compromise, which maintained some sort of allegiance to Yahweh while not touching the high places and other sites of pagan worship. Far from it: he cleaned things up, earning the judgment, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done” (2 Kings 18:3–4). He even recognized that the bronze serpent Moses had made (Num. 21:4–9) had now become a superstitious snare, and destroyed it.

Then he fell ill and wept bitterly. Somehow he got himself into the position where he thought his righteous deeds meant that God owed him a long and prosperous life (2 Kings 20:2–3). In his mercy, God assigned him fifteen more years, and gave him a miraculous sign to confirm the promise (2 Kings 20:1–11). During that fifteen-year span, however, Hezekiah failed an important test: when emissaries came from Babylon, instead of seeking the Lord’s face and walking humbly, Hezekiah played the role of a proud potentate, showing off the kingdom’s rising wealth. Everything was duly recorded in the books of Babylon, in preparation for the day, more than a century later, when Babylon would be the superpower and crush Jerusalem and send her people into exile (2 Kings 20:12–18).

But this is not Hezekiah’s most grievous lapse. When Isaiah the prophet tells him what will happen, the king does not repent of his arrogance, or seek forgiveness, or intercede with God. The threatened judgment is slated for the future: Hezekiah refuses to accept any deeply felt responsibility. He piously comments, “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good”—while the writer comments, “For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’” (2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah has become a moral and strategic pygmy.

Far better to die young after genuine, godly, achievements, than to die old and embittered, poisoning your own heritage.

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2 Kings 19; Hebrews 1; Hosea 12; Psalms 135–136 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-19-hebrews-1-hosea-12-psalms-135-136/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-19-hebrews-1-hosea-12-psalms-135-136/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-19-hebrews-1-hosea-12-psalms-135-136/ 2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalms 132–134 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-18-philemon-hosea-11-psalms-132-134/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-18-philemon-hosea-11-psalms-132-134/#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-18-philemon-hosea-11-psalms-132-134/ 2 Kings 17; Titus 3; Hosea 10; Psalms 129–131 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-17-titus-3-hosea-10-psalms-129-131/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-17-titus-3-hosea-10-psalms-129-131/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2023 06:45:03 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-17-titus-3-hosea-10-psalms-129-131/ Second Kings 17 is a defining moment in Old Testament history. The northern kingdom of Israel comes to an end as a political entity. The trigger for this last step in the destruction of the nation is a piece of deceit perpetrated by her last king, Hoshea. While nominally maintaining her allegiance to Assyria (the regional superpower), Hoshea opened negotiations with Egypt, still an impressive political and military power, in the hope that Israel could come under her umbrella under better terms. Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, could only interpret this as treason and destroyed Samaria, the capital of Israel (2 Kings 17:1–6). He transported the leading Israelites to Assyria and then, as the end of the chapter makes clear, imported pagans from elsewhere in the empire, who intermingled with the poor Israelites left behind.

The rest of the chapter provides us with two explicit explanations, and a subtler, implicit one.

First, the ultimate reason for the destruction of the nation was not political or military, but religious and theological (2 Kings 17:7–17). The nation of Israel succumbed to idolatry. While maintaining superficial allegiance to the living God, they “secretly” built up pagan high places—as if the all-seeing God could be deceived! Asherah poles and Baal worship multiplied. The people ignored the prophets God sent them. “They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless” (2 Kings 17:15; cf. Jer. 2:5). Rejecting the temple in Jerusalem, they constructed two calf idols. They worshiped astrological deities, messed around in the occult, and finally sank into the abominable practice of child sacrifice to Molech. “So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence” (2 Kings 17:18).

Second, this chapter explains the origins of the syncretistic religion of Samaria (2 Kings 17:24–41). The immigrant pagans mingled with the remaining Jews of the land. Racially and theologically, the results were mixed. Despite warnings from God (in the form of rampaging lions—no longer found in that part of the world, but at one time plentiful), the best this breed can muster is pathetic: they “worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33). This is the background to the “Samaritans” we come across in Jesus’ day.

The third explanation is only implicit. It is obvious only when this chapter is read in the flow of canonical development. Fallen humanity is judged at the Flood; only a few survive. The patriarchs of the nascent Jewish nation end up in slavery. When God delivers them, their unbelief delays their entry into the Promised Land. The period of the judges ends in debauchery, corruption, decay. And now the period of the monarchy is winding up in similar shame.

God help us: we need a more radical answer than these.

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2 Kings 16; Titus 2; Hosea 9; Psalms 126–128 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-16-titus-2-hosea-9-psalms-126-128/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-16-titus-2-hosea-9-psalms-126-128/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-16-titus-2-hosea-9-psalms-126-128/ The books of 1 and 2 Kings, though they follow the fortunes of both Judah and Israel (the southern and northern kingdoms, respectively, after the division that followed Solomon’s death), lay more emphasis on Israel, the northern ten tribes. More space is devoted to Israel’s kings than to Judah’s. Eventually, of course, the northern kingdom collapses (see tomorrow’s meditation), and then all the attention is focused on the south. By comparison, 1 and 2 Chronicles recount more or less the same history, but turn the spotlight primarily on the southern kingdom of Judah.

Even in 2 Kings, however, substantial attention is sometimes focused on one of the kings of Judah. So it is in 2 Kings 16. By and large, the northern kings degenerated more quickly than in the south. In the south, many kings are described as following the Lord, but not as David had done; in the north, many are described as following in the footsteps of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. But every once in a while a really evil or stupid king arises in the south. And such is Ahaz.

Religiously and theologically, Ahaz was a disaster. “Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites” (2 Kings 16:2–3). Politically he fared no better. Harried by Israel and Syria to his north, King Ahaz of Judah decided to strip the temple of its wealth and send it to King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria. Assyria was the rising superpower. Sending money to him as a kind of tribute, with a plea to get him to lean on Syria and Israel so as to reduce pressure on Judah, was a bit like throwing a hunk of meat to a crocodile: you could be sure that this crocodile would want more. Worse, King Ahaz became so enamored of Assyria that he introduced some of its pagan ways into the temple service. Fear turned Ahaz toward pagan power, and “deference to the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 16:18) fostered fresh compromises.

Contrast Hezekiah, two chapters later, who, while facing a far more serious threat from the Assyrians, brought on in no small part because of the stupidity and faithlessness of Ahaz, brooks no compromise but diligently seeks the face of God. There he discovers, in line with the experience of Moses and the fathers of Israel, that God is able to defend his people against few or many—it is all the same with him.

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2 Kings 15; Titus 1; Hosea 8; Psalms 123–125 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-15-titus-1-hosea-8-psalms-123-125/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-15-titus-1-hosea-8-psalms-123-125/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-15-titus-1-hosea-8-psalms-123-125/ 2 Kings 14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalms 120–122 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-14-2-timothy-4-hosea-7-psalms-120-122/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-14-2-timothy-4-hosea-7-psalms-120-122/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-14-2-timothy-4-hosea-7-psalms-120-122/ One of the attractive and disturbing things about the Bible is its realism. Simplistic idealism would very much like the “good” people to be more or less consistently rewarded, and to be fruitful and blessed in their work; similarly, it would like the “bad” people to turn out to be failures. Doubtless on the longest haul, before God’s tribunal, justice will be done and will be seen to be done. Doubtless, too, there are enough temporal rewards and blessings to remind us that God is in control. But in the mystery of providence, there are also enough anomalies to remind us that ultimate justice is not found in this world. And this, of course, is true to life, the ultimate realism.

The point is well illustrated in the two kings of 2 Kings 14. Amaziah, son of Joash, reaches the throne of Judah at the age of twenty-five. “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father David had done” (2 Kings 14:3). Though he was not as consistent as David, he was on many fronts a good man. Even in the matter of capturing and executing the assassins of his father King Joash, Amaziah refrained from wiping out their families—a not uncommon practice at the time—for he was following the law of God (Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6). And then, after enjoying moderate military success (2 Kings 14:7), which apparently went to his head, he taunted the northern tribes for no good reason into a war he lost disastrously. The stupidity was gargantuan. Eventually Amaziah was himself assassinated after a twenty-nine-year reign.

By contrast, on gaining the throne of the northern kingdom Jeroboam II “did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit” (2 Kings 14:24). Nevertheless he proved to be an able administrator and military leader. Because the Lord was sensitive to the cries of his people as they faced the crushing power of Syria to the north, he used Jeroboam II to restore the boundaries of Israel against Syrian encroachment, eventually recovering for Israel both Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Israel in the days of the united monarchy. Jeroboam II reigned for forty-one years and died in peace.

Observe: (1) A good king may do bad and stupid things. (2) A bad king may do good and important things. (3) It follows that one should never evaluate the morality of a leader simply on the basis of select good things or bad things they do. Even Hitler restored German confidence and created jobs. Presidents have been known to win wars and keep the economy going while living, sexually speaking, in the gutter.

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2 Kings 13; 2 Timothy 3; Hosea 5–6; Psalm 119:145–176 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-13-2-timothy-3-hosea-5-6-psalm-119145-176/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-13-2-timothy-3-hosea-5-6-psalm-119145-176/#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-13-2-timothy-3-hosea-5-6-psalm-119145-176/ 2 Kings 12; 2 Timothy 2; Hosea 3–4; Psalm 119:121–144 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-12-2-timothy-2-hosea-3-4-psalm-119121-144/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-12-2-timothy-2-hosea-3-4-psalm-119121-144/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2023 06:45:09 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-12-2-timothy-2-hosea-3-4-psalm-119121-144/ 2 Kings 10–11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalm 119:97–120 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-10-11-2-timothy-1-hosea-2-psalm-11997-120/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-10-11-2-timothy-1-hosea-2-psalm-11997-120/#respond Sun, 29 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-10-11-2-timothy-1-hosea-2-psalm-11997-120/ In the two designated passages for this day we find a study of two grand-mothers.

The first is Athaliah (2 Kings 11). She is the utterly vile mother of Ahaziah, the king of Judah who was killed by Jehu (as we saw yesterday) in the mayhem precipitated by the insurrection in the northern kingdom of Israel. One could imagine a lot of different actions that a queen mother might take on learning of the assassination of her son. Athaliah’s reaction is to kill her entire family. She so commands the palace guard that her dead son’s children and grandchildren are wiped out, save for her infant grandson Joash, who is saved by an aunt (who herself may have been killed) who hides him with his wet nurse. Thus Athaliah secures power for herself.

A few years later, when Joash is still but a lad of seven, Jehoiada the priest arranges to bring the child out and have him declared the rightful king, protected by military units loyal to Jehoiada and his determination to preserve the Davidic line. When Athaliah discovers the plot, her cries of “Treason!” (2 Kings 11:14) ring a little hollow. For the sake of power, this evil woman was willing not only to commit murder (not a rare thing), but to murder her children and grandchildren—a much rarer thing, immeasurably more callous—and now she charges with treason those who call her to account.

Contrast the mother and grandmother briefly mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5. Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice are women of “sincere faith,” according to Paul, and they have passed this heritage on to their son and grandson, Timothy. How they did this is not detailed. But judging by patterns laid out elsewhere in Scripture, the least they did was display personal example and provide concrete instruction. They passed on both the teaching of Scripture and the pattern of their own “sincere faith”—not only the pattern of their own walk with God, but the integrity that characterized their lives as a result. Indeed, hidden in this passage lies hope for men or women in mixed marriages. According to Acts 16:1, Timothy’s mother Eunice was both a Jewess and a Christian believer; his father was a Greek, apparently a pagan. The Christian influence prevailed.

Not all women are as evil as Athaliah; not all are as faithful as Lois and Eunice. Among both men and women, however, are not a few who, in home, at work, even in church, are much more interested in power than in anything else. They may not stoop to murder, but they will lie, cheat, and slander to gain more authority. They will face God’s judgment. But blessed are those whose sincere faith stamps the next generation.

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2 Kings 9; 1 Timothy 6; Hosea 1; Psalm 119:73–96 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-9-1-timothy-6-hosea-1-psalm-11973-96/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-9-1-timothy-6-hosea-1-psalm-11973-96/#respond Sat, 28 Oct 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-9-1-timothy-6-hosea-1-psalm-11973-96/ It is worth comparing the anointing of David (1 Sam. 16) with the anointing of Jehu (2 Kings 9)—or, more precisely, it is worth comparing not only the two anointings, but what follows from the two anointings.

The story of David is the better known (1 Sam.). When Samuel anointed him to be king, David was still a young man, a youthful shepherd. The anointing changed nothing of his immediate situation. In due course he gained heroic dimensions by defeating Goliath and then maturing into an efficient and loyal officer of King Saul. When Saul became embittered and paranoid, forcing David to hide in the hill country of Judea, David seemed a long way from the throne. Providence gave him two startling opportunities to kill Saul, but David restrained himself; indeed, he even restrained some of his own men who were quite prepared to do the deed that David would not touch. His reasoning was simple. Though he knew he would be king, he also knew that at the moment Saul was king. The same God who had anointed David had first installed Saul. To kill Saul was therefore to kill the Lord’s anointed. He was unwilling to grasp the inheritance that the Lord himself had promised him, if the price to be paid was an immoral act. God had promised him the throne; God would first have to vacate it of its current incumbent, for David would not stoop to intrigue and murder. This was one of David’s finest hours.

How different is Jehu! When he is anointed, he is assigned the task of punishing and destroying the wicked household of Ahab. But he waits for no providential sign: as far as he is concerned, his anointing is incentive enough to embark immediately on a bloody insurrection. Moreover, for all his pious talk about wiping out the idolatry of the wretched household of Ahab (e.g., 2 Kings 9:22), his own heart is betrayed by two evil realities. First, he not only assassinates the current incumbent of the throne of Israel, but when he has the opportunity he kills Ahaziah, the king of Judah as well (2 Kings 9:27–29), not sanctioned by the prophet, however. Did Jehu perhaps entertain visions of a restored, united kingdom, brought together by assassination and military power? Second, although Jehu reduced the power of Baal worship, he promoted other forms of idolatry no less repugnant to God (2 Kings 10:28–31). Unlike David, he was not “a man after God’s own heart” (cf. 1 Sam. 13:14). Far from it: “He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit” (2 Kings 10:31).

The lesson is important. Not even divine prophecy frees a person from the obligations of morality, integrity, and loyal and obedient faith in God. The end does not justify the means.

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2 Kings 8; 1 Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49–72 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-8-1-timothy-5-daniel-12-psalm-11949-72/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-8-1-timothy-5-daniel-12-psalm-11949-72/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-8-1-timothy-5-daniel-12-psalm-11949-72/ 2 Kings 7; 1 Timothy 4; Daniel 11; Psalm 119:25–48 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-7-1-timothy-4-daniel-11-psalm-11925-48/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-7-1-timothy-4-daniel-11-psalm-11925-48/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-7-1-timothy-4-daniel-11-psalm-11925-48/ 2 Kings 6; 1 Timothy 3; Daniel 10; Psalm 119:1–24 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-6-1-timothy-3-daniel-10-psalm-1191-24/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-6-1-timothy-3-daniel-10-psalm-1191-24/#respond Wed, 25 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-6-1-timothy-3-daniel-10-psalm-1191-24/ 2 Kings 5; 1 Timothy 2; Daniel 9; Psalms 117–118 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-5-1-timothy-2-daniel-9-psalms-117-118/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-5-1-timothy-2-daniel-9-psalms-117-118/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-5-1-timothy-2-daniel-9-psalms-117-118/ 2 Kings 4; 1 Timothy 1; Daniel 8; Psalm 116 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-4-1-timothy-1-daniel-8-psalm-116/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-4-1-timothy-1-daniel-8-psalm-116/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-4-1-timothy-1-daniel-8-psalm-116/ 2 Kings 3; 2 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 7; Psalms 114–115 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-3-2-thessalonians-3-daniel-7-psalms-114-115/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-3-2-thessalonians-3-daniel-7-psalms-114-115/#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-3-2-thessalonians-3-daniel-7-psalms-114-115/ 2 Kings 2; 2 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 6; Psalms 112–113 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-2-2-thessalonians-2-daniel-6-psalms-112-113/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-2-2-thessalonians-2-daniel-6-psalms-112-113/#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2023 06:45:04 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-2-2-thessalonians-2-daniel-6-psalms-112-113/ 2 Kings 1; 2 Thessalonians 1; Daniel 5; Psalms 110–111 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-1-2-thessalonians-1-daniel-5-psalms-110-111/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-kings-1-2-thessalonians-1-daniel-5-psalms-110-111/#respond Fri, 20 Oct 2023 06:45:04 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-kings-1-2-thessalonians-1-daniel-5-psalms-110-111/ 1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108–109 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-22-1-thessalonians-5-daniel-4-psalms-108-109/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-22-1-thessalonians-5-daniel-4-psalms-108-109/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-22-1-thessalonians-5-daniel-4-psalms-108-109/ The last chapter of 1 Kings, 1 Kings 22, many believers find troubling. For here God himself is presented as sending out “a lying spirit” (1 Kings 22:22) who will deceive King Ahab and lead him to his destruction. Does God approve of liars?

The setting is instructive. For once, the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel are pulling together against the king of Aram, instead of tearing at each other’s throats. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, comes across as a good man who is largely desirous of adhering to the covenant and being loyal to God, yet is a bit of a wimp. He treats the prospective military expedition as if it were an adventure, but he does want Ahab, king of Israel, to “seek the counsel of the LORD” (1 Kings 22:5). After the false prophets have finished, Jehoshaphat has sufficient smarts to ask if there is some other prophet of the Lord, and Micaiah surfaces. Yet despite Micaiah’s warnings, he goes off with Ahab, and even agrees to retain his royal robes while Ahab’s identity is masked.

But the heart of the issue turns on Micaiah. Observe:

(1) Implicitly, Ahab has surrounded himself with religious yes-men who will tell him what he wants to hear. The reason he hates Micaiah is because what Micaiah says about him is bad. Like all leaders who surround themselves with yes-men, Ahab sets himself up to be deceived.

(2) When Micaiah begins with a sarcastic positive prognostication (1 Kings 22:15), Ahab instantly recognizes that Micaiah is not telling the truth (1 Kings 22:16). This hints at a conscience more than a little troubled. After all, God had previously told Ahab that because of his guilt in the matter of Naboth, dogs would one day lick up his blood (1 Kings 21:19). He thus expected bad news someday, and at a deep level of his being could not really trust the happy forecasts of his domesticated “prophets.”

(3) When Micaiah tells him of impending disaster, he also provides a dramatic reason for the coherence and unanimity of the false prophets: God himself had sanctioned a deceitful spirit. Ahab’s time has come: he will be destroyed. God’s sovereignty extends even over the means to send Ahab’s tame prophets a “strong delusion” (compare 2 Thess. 2:11–12). Yet the fact that Ahab is told all this demonstrates that God is still graciously providing him with access to the truth. But Ahab is so far gone that he cannot stomach the truth. In a ridiculous response, he believes enough of the truth to hide his own identity in the hordes of common soldiers, but not enough to stay away from Ramoth Gilead. So he dies: God’s sovereign judgment is enacted, not least because Ahab, hearing both the truth and the lie, preferred the lie.

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1 Kings 21; 1 Thessalonians 4; Daniel 3; Psalm 107 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-21-1-thessalonians-4-daniel-3-psalm-107/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-21-1-thessalonians-4-daniel-3-psalm-107/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-21-1-thessalonians-4-daniel-3-psalm-107/ 1 Kings 20; 1 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 2; Psalm 106 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-20-1-thessalonians-3-daniel-2-psalm-106/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-20-1-thessalonians-3-daniel-2-psalm-106/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-20-1-thessalonians-3-daniel-2-psalm-106/ 1 Kings 19; 1 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 1; Psalm 105 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-19-1-thessalonians-2-daniel-1-psalm-105/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-19-1-thessalonians-2-daniel-1-psalm-105/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-19-1-thessalonians-2-daniel-1-psalm-105/ Doubtless Elijah expected that, after the triumphant confrontation on Mount Carmel, Israel would turn back to the living God (1 Kings 19). As he had executed the false prophets, so Queen Jezebel herself would be eliminated—by the popular demand of an outraged populace determined to be faithful and loyal to the covenant. Perhaps even King Ahab would repent and come on board.

It doesn’t work out that way. King Ahab reports everything that has happened to Jezebel, and Jezebel lets Elijah know that he is as good as dead (1 Kings 19:2). The people are nowhere to be seen. “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3), we are told. In fact, a textual variant (which may be original) reads “Elijah saw, and ran for his life”—i.e., he now saw the dimensions of the whole problem, and ran. He heads south to Beersheba on the southern edge of the kingdom of Judah, drops off his servant, and keeps on going. Eventually he arrives at Mount Horeb, the site of the giving of the Law. He is so deeply depressed he wants to die (1 Kings 19:4). Worse, he succumbs to not a little self-pity: everybody else has rejected God, all the Israelites have broken the covenant, all the prophets except Elijah have been put to death—“I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:10).

One can sympathize with Elijah’s despair. In part, it is grounded in unfulfilled expectations. He thought that all that had taken place would trigger massive renewal. Now he feels not only isolated, but betrayed. And yet:

(1) He has his facts wrong. He knows that at least a hundred of the Lord’s prophets are still alive, even if they are in hiding (1 Kings 18:13).

(2) He is not in a fit state to judge the hearts of all the Israelites. Some may be loyal to Yahweh, but terrified of Jezebel, and therefore keeping their heads down. After all, isn’t that what he himself is doing?

(3) God himself assures Elijah that he has “reserved” for himself seven thousand people who have never bowed to Baal and never kissed him (1 Kings 19:18). Here is the beginning of a major biblical theme—the doctrine of the remnant. The covenant community as a whole may become apostate, but God Almighty still “reserves” for himself a faithful remnant—which in the fullness of time will become the nucleus of the fledgling New Testament church.

(4) God sometimes works and speaks in quiet ways, not in massive confrontation (1 Kings 19:11–13).

(5) Sooner or later even the strongest leaders, especially the strongest leaders, need a younger apprentice and helper to come alongside, shoulder part of the burden, and finally take over the work (1 Kings 19:19–21).

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1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-18-1-thessalonians-1-ezekiel-48-psalm-104/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-18-1-thessalonians-1-ezekiel-48-psalm-104/#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2023 06:45:03 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-18-1-thessalonians-1-ezekiel-48-psalm-104/ It is tempting to comment further on the Pauline triad found in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (see meditation on October 11), but the confrontation on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18) beckons.

The most shocking thing about that confrontation is that it was needed. These are the covenant people of God. It is not as if God has never disclosed himself to them. The corporate mind of the ten tribes of the northern kingdom has all but abandoned its heritage. When Elijah challenges the people with the words, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21), the people say nothing.

Yet before we indulge in too many self-righteous musings, we need to reflect on how often the church has moved away from her moorings. The Great Awakening was a powerful movement of the Spirit of God, yet a century later many of the churches that had been filled with fresh converts, robust theology, and godly living had degenerated into Unitarianism. Who would have guessed that the land of Luther and the Reformation would have given us Hitler and the Holocaust? Why is it that twentieth-century evangelicalism, as it mushroomed between, say, 1930 and 1960, soon bred varieties of self-designated evangelicals whom no evangelical leader of the earlier period would have recognized as such? The sad reality is that human memory is short, selective, and self-serving. Moreover, each new generation begins with a slightly different baseline. Since all its members need conversion, the church is never more than a generation or two from extinction. If we forget this simple point, it becomes all too easy to rest on our laurels when we are comfortable, and somehow lose sight of our mission, not to say of our Maker and Redeemer.

The setup on Mount Carmel was spectacular: one prophet against 850, Yahweh against Baal—and Baal was often thought of as the god of fire. It is as if Elijah has set up the contest on Baal’s turf. His mocking words whip up the false prophets into an orgy of self-flagellation (1 Kings 18:28). By God’s instruction (1 Kings 18:36), Elijah increases the odds by soaking the sacrifice he is preparing. Then, in the evening, his own brief prayer brings down explosive fire from heaven, and the people cry, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). And in response to Elijah’s intercessory prayer, the rain comes again to the parched land.

Something deep in the hearts of many Christians cries, “Do it again!”—not, of course, exactly the same thing, but a focused confrontation that elicits decisive and massive confession of the living God.

But did even this change Israel? Why or why not?

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1 Kings 17; Colossians 4; Ezekiel 47; Psalm 103 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-17-colossians-4-ezekiel-47-psalm-103/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-17-colossians-4-ezekiel-47-psalm-103/#respond Sat, 14 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-17-colossians-4-ezekiel-47-psalm-103/ 1 Kings 16; Colossians 3; Ezekiel 46; Psalm 102 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-16-colossians-3-ezekiel-46-psalm-102/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-16-colossians-3-ezekiel-46-psalm-102/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-16-colossians-3-ezekiel-46-psalm-102/ First and 2 Kings narrate the declining fortunes of both the northern and southern kingdoms. Occasionally there is a reforming king in one realm or the other. But on the whole the direction is downward. Some orientation (1 Kings 16):

(1) Although 1 and 2 Kings treat both the northern and the southern kingdoms, the emphasis is on the former. By contrast, 1 and 2 Chronicles, which cover roughly the same material, tilt strongly in favor of the kingdom of Judah.

(2) In the south, the Davidic dynasty continues. During its history, there are, humanly speaking, some very close calls. Nevertheless God preserves the line; his entire redemptive purposes are bound up with continuity of that Davidic line. The stance throughout is well expressed in 1 Kings 15:4. Abijah king of Judah, who reigned only three years, was doubtless an evil king. “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong.” In the north, however, no dynasty survives very long. The dynasty of Jeroboam lasted two generations and was then butchered (1 Kings 15:25–30), replaced by Baasha (1 Kings 15:33–34). His dynasty likewise produced two kings, and then the males in his family were wiped out by Zimri (1 Kings 16:8–13), whose reign lasted all of seven days (1 Kings 16:15–19). And so it goes. If the Davidic line continues in the south, it is all of grace.

(3) These successions in the north are brutal and bloody. For instance, after Zimri the citizens of Israel face a brief civil war, divided as they are between Omri and Tibni. The followers of the former win. The text wryly comments, “So Tibni died and Omri became king” (1 Kings 16:22). In short, there is perennial lust for power, few systems for orderly hand over of government, no hearty submission to the living God.

(4) From God’s perspective, however, the severity of the sin is measured first and foremost not in terms of the bloody violence, but in terms of the idolatry (for example, 1 Kings 16:30–33). Omri was a strong ruler who strengthened the nation enormously, but little of that is recorded: from God’s perspective he “did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him” (1 Kings 16:25). Building programs and a rising GDP do not make up for idolatry.

(5) Details in these accounts often tie the narrative to events much earlier and later. Thus the rebuilding of Jericho (1 Kings 16:34) calls to mind the curse on the city when it was destroyed centuries earlier (Josh. 6:26). The founding of the city of Samaria (1 Kings 16:24) anticipates countless narratives of what takes place in that city—including Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4; see March 14 meditation).

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1 Kings 15; Colossians 2; Ezekiel 45; Psalms 99–101 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-15-colossians-2-ezekiel-45-psalms-99-101/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-15-colossians-2-ezekiel-45-psalms-99-101/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-15-colossians-2-ezekiel-45-psalms-99-101/ 1 Kings 14; Colossians 1; Ezekiel 44; Psalms 97–98 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-14-colossians-1-ezekiel-44-psalms-97-98/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-14-colossians-1-ezekiel-44-psalms-97-98/#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-14-colossians-1-ezekiel-44-psalms-97-98/ 1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalms 95–96 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-13-philippians-4-ezekiel-43-psalms-95-96/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-13-philippians-4-ezekiel-43-psalms-95-96/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-13-philippians-4-ezekiel-43-psalms-95-96/ 1 Kings 12; Philippians 3; Ezekiel 42; Psalm 94 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-12-philippians-3-ezekiel-42-psalm-94/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-12-philippians-3-ezekiel-42-psalm-94/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2023 06:46:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-12-philippians-3-ezekiel-42-psalm-94/ The division of the unified kingdom into two unequal parts—the kingdom of Israel with its ten tribes in the north and the kingdom of Judah with two tribes in the south (1 Kings 12)—once again presents us with a remarkable dynamic between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

God had already predicted, through Ahijah the prophet, that Jeroboam would take away the ten northern tribes from Solomon’s successor (1 Kings 11:26–40). Jeroboam was explicitly told that if he then remained faithful to the Lord, the Lord would establish a dynasty for him. Yet the first thing that Jeroboam does, once he secures the northern tribes, is erect golden calves at Bethel and Dan, and consecrate non-Levitical priests, because he does not want his people making the trek to the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:25–33). Doesn’t he realize that if God has the power to give him the ten tribes, and the concern to warn him about disloyalty, he certainly has the power to preserve the integrity of the northern kingdom even if the people go up to Jerusalem for the high festivals? But Jeroboam makes his political judgments, refuses to obey God, and shows himself ungrateful for what has come his way. His only enduring legacy is that throughout the rest of the Old Testament he is designated as “Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin” (e.g., 2 Kings 14:24).

More inexplicable yet is Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Solomon may have been a skilled administrator of justice, but by the end of his life his enormously expensive projects were wearing down his people. Their representatives assure Rehoboam that they will be loyal to him if only he will lighten their load a little. The elders assure Rehoboam that their request is reasonable: he should adopt the stance of being “a servant to these people and serve them,” for then he will discover that “they will always be your servants” (1 Kings 12:7). With massive insensitivity and piercing stupidity, Rehoboam adopts instead the wretched advice of “young men” full of themselves and their opinions, with no understanding of people generally and of this nation in particular (1 Kings 12:8). So Rehoboam responds harshly, not only rejecting the people’s request but promising more demands and increased brutality. And suddenly the rebellion is underway.

Yet the writer comments, “So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite” (1 Kings 12:15). God’s sovereignty (see, for example, the meditation for June 3) does not excuse or mitigate Rehoboam’s stupidity and Jeroboam’s rebellion; their stupidity and sin do not mean that God has lost control. Such mysteries of providence make it difficult to “read” history; they also prove immensely comforting and make it possible for us to rest in Romans 8:28.

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1 Kings 11; Philippians 2; Ezekiel 41; Psalms 92–93 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-11-philippians-2-ezekiel-41-psalms-92-93/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-11-philippians-2-ezekiel-41-psalms-92-93/#respond Sun, 08 Oct 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-11-philippians-2-ezekiel-41-psalms-92-93/ In few places does the word however have more potent force than in 1 Kings 11:1: “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women.” In those days, the size of a king’s harem was widely considered a reflection of his wealth and power. Solomon married princesses from everywhere, not least, the writer painfully explains, “from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods’” (1 Kings 11:2).

That is exactly what happened, especially as Solomon grew old (1 Kings 11:3–4). He participated in the worship of foreign gods. To please his wives, he provided shrines, altars, and temples for their deities. Doubtless many Israelites began to participate in this pagan worship. At the very least, many would have their sense of outrage dulled, not least because Solomon was known to be such a wise, resourceful, and successful king. Eventually his pagan idolatry extended to the detestable gods to whom one sacrifices children. Thus Solomon “did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done” (1 Kings 11:6). Of course, David himself failed on occasion. But he lapsed from a life of principled devotion to the Lord God, and he repented and returned to the Lord; he did not live in a stream of growing religious compromise like his son and heir to the throne.

The sentence is delivered (1 Kings 11:9–13): after his death, Solomon’s kingdom will be divided, with ten tribes withdrawing, leaving only two for the Davidic dynasty—and even this paltry remainder is conceded only for David’s sake. Had Solomon been another sort of man, he would have repented, sought the Lord’s favor, destroyed all the high places, promoted covenant fidelity. But the sad truth is that Solomon preferred his wives and their opinions to his covenant Lord and his opinion. During the closing years of his reign, Solomon had plenty of signs that God’s protective favor was being withdrawn (1 Kings 11:14–40). Nothing is sadder than Solomon’s futile effort to have Jeroboam killed—evocative of Saul’s attempt to have David killed. But there is no movement, no repentance, no hunger for God.

There are plenty of lessons. Be careful what, and whom, you love. Good beginnings do not guarantee good endings. Heed the warnings of God while there is time; if you don’t, you will eventually become so hardened that even his most dire threats will leave you unmoved. At the canonical level, even the most blessed, protected, and endowed dynasty, chosen from within the Lord’s chosen people, is announcing its end: it will fall apart. Oh, how we need a Savior, a king from heaven!

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1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-10-philippians-1-ezekiel-40-psalm-91/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-10-philippians-1-ezekiel-40-psalm-91/#respond Sat, 07 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-10-philippians-1-ezekiel-40-psalm-91/ The visit of the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10) has often been spiced up in books and films until it has become a royal love story. Not a hint of love interest or sex scandal peeps out of the biblical text. The function of the queen of Sheba is to demonstrate by a concrete example that Solomon’s reputation had extended far and wide, and that that reputation was grounded in reality. Some observations on the encounter:

First, at a rather superficial level, this account provides an opportunity to say something about the nature of truth in the Old Testament. Some have argued that the Hebrew word for “truth,” ‘emet, really means “faithfulness” or “reliability,” and that it has to do with relationships and not propositions. Indeed, some argue, Old Testament writers simply do not have a category for true propositions. Like most errors, this one has a modicum of truth (if I may use the word) to it. Certainly ‘emet has a broader range of meaning than the English word truth, and can refer to faithfulness. But words can display faithfulness, too. The queen of Sheba tells Solomon that the report she heard in her own country about his achievements and wisdom was ‘emet: it was “true” (1 Kings 10:6, NIV); more literally, because the report was faithful, i.e., because the propositions conformed to the reality, the report was the truth. Away, then, with a reductionistic analysis of what ancient Hebrews could or could not have known.

Second, much of the chapter provides succinct descriptions of Solomon’s wealth, military muscle, successful trading expeditions in seagoing vessels, musical instruments, and more. Yet space is reserved for several explicitly theological themes. Royalty visited Solomon to listen to his wisdom—and this wisdom God himself had put in his heart (1 Kings 10:24). Indeed, Solomon enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for maintaining justice and righteousness in his kingdom, so much so that the queen of Sheba thought his achievements in this regard demonstrated “the LORD’s eternal love for Israel” (1 Kings 10:9).

But third, all of this is in some ways a setup for the next chapter. Despite all the blessings, wisdom, power, wealth, prestige, and honor that Solomon enjoyed, all received from the hand of God, the sad fact of the matter is that his own conduct was paving the way for judgment and the undoing of the Davidic dynasty. These convoluted developments await tomorrow’s meditation. Here it is enough to reflect on the fact that extraordinary blessings do not necessarily signal faithfulness. Because God is so slow to anger (surely a good thing!), the judgments that our corruptions deserve are often long delayed. Do not be hasty to assume that present blessings signal present fidelity: the terrible fruit of faithlessness may take a long time in coming.

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1 Kings 9; Ephesians 6; Ezekiel 39; Psalm 90 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-9-ephesians-6-ezekiel-39-psalm-90/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-9-ephesians-6-ezekiel-39-psalm-90/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-9-ephesians-6-ezekiel-39-psalm-90/ 1 Kings 8; Ephesians 5; Ezekiel 38; Psalm 89 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-8-ephesians-5-ezekiel-38-psalm-89/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-8-ephesians-5-ezekiel-38-psalm-89/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-8-ephesians-5-ezekiel-38-psalm-89/ The dedication of the temple in Jerusalem and Solomon’s prayer on that occasion (1 Kings 8) overflow with links that reach both backward and forward along the line of redemptive history.

(1) The structure of the temple is a proportionate reproduction of the tabernacle. Thus the rites prescribed by the Mosaic Covenant, and the symbol-laden value all that God prescribed through Moses, continue: the altar, the table for the bread of consecration, the Most Holy Place, the two cherubim over the ark of the covenant, and so forth.

(2) Most spectacularly, after the ark of the covenant has been transported to its new resting place and the priests withdraw, the glory of the Lord, manifested in the same sort of cloud that signaled the Lord’s presence in the tabernacle, fills the temple. Not only does God approve the temple, but a new step has been taken in God’s unfolding purposes. While the symbolism of the tabernacle is retained in the temple, no longer is this edifice something mobile. The wandering years, and even the uncertain years of the judges, are over. Now God’s presence, manifested in this solid building, is tied to one location: Jerusalem. A new set of symbol-laden historical experiences adds rich new dimensions to the accumulating wealth pointing to the coming of Jesus. Here is a stable kingdom—and the kingdom of God; Jerusalem, and the new Jerusalem; the glorious temple, and the city that needs no temple because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22). Here are tens of thousands of animals slaughtered—and the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

(3) At his best, Solomon is thoroughly aware that no structure, not even this one, can contain or domesticate God. “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

(4) But that does not stop him from asking God to manifest himself here. Above all, Solomon knows that what the people will need most is forgiveness. So in wide-ranging and prescient descriptions of experiences the people will pass through, Solomon repeats some variation of the refrain: “Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive” (1 Kings 8:30ff). That is exactly right: hear from heaven, even if the eyes of the people are toward this temple, and forgive.

(5) Solomon’s forward glance includes the dreadful possibility of exile (1 Kings 8:46–51), followed by rescue and release. Further, while Solomon urges fidelity on the people (1 Kings 8:56–61), he also echoes a prominent point in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:3): Israel must be faithful “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other” (1 Kings 8:60).

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1 Kings 7; Ephesians 4; Ezekiel 37; Psalms 87–88 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-7-ephesians-4-ezekiel-37-psalms-87-88/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-7-ephesians-4-ezekiel-37-psalms-87-88/#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-7-ephesians-4-ezekiel-37-psalms-87-88/ 1 Kings 6; Ephesians 3; Ezekiel 36; Psalm 86 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-6-ephesians-3-ezekiel-36-psalm-86/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-6-ephesians-3-ezekiel-36-psalm-86/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-6-ephesians-3-ezekiel-36-psalm-86/ 1 Kings 4–5; Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 35; Psalm 85 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-4-5-ephesians-2-ezekiel-35-psalm-85/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-4-5-ephesians-2-ezekiel-35-psalm-85/#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-4-5-ephesians-2-ezekiel-35-psalm-85/ 1 Kings 3; Ephesians 1; Ezekiel 34; Psalms 83–84 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-3-ephesians-1-ezekiel-34-psalms-83-84/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-3-ephesians-1-ezekiel-34-psalms-83-84/#respond Sun, 01 Oct 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-3-ephesians-1-ezekiel-34-psalms-83-84/ Christians sometimes ask why, if Solomon was so wise, he married many wives, ended his reign rather badly, and eventually compromised his loyalty to God.

The answer partly lies in the difference between what we mean by wisdom and the various things the Bible means by wisdom. We usually mean something pretty generic, like “knowing how to live well and make wise choices.” But whereas wisdom in the Bible can refer to something broad—such as knowing how to live in the fear of God—very often it refers to a particular skill. This may be the skill of knowing how to survive in a dangerous world (Prov. 30:24), or some technical know-how (Ex. 28:3). But one of the skills to which wisdom can refer is the skill of administration, not least the administration of justice. And transparently, that is what Solomon asks for in 1 Kings 3.

When he responds to God’s gracious offer to give him anything he asks for, Solomon acknowledges that he is only a little child and does not know how to carry out his duties (1 Kings 3:7). What he wants therefore is a discerning heart to govern the people well, not least in distinguishing between right and wrong (1 Kings 3:9). God praises Solomon because he has not asked for something for himself, nor even something vindictive (such as the death of his enemies), but “for discernment in administering justice” (1 Kings 3:11). God promises to give Solomon exactly what he asked for, along with riches and honor (1 Kings 3:12–13). The account of the two prostitutes each claiming the same live baby and denying that the dead one is hers, and Solomon’s resolution of their case (1 Kings 3:16–27), proves that God answered the king’s request. The entire nation perceives that Solomon has “wisdom from God to administer justice” (1 Kings 3:28). Certainly most Western nations today could do with a few more people similarly endowed.

As much as God praises him for his choice, this does not mean that such wisdom is all that Solomon needs to walk in fidelity to the covenant. Indeed, quite apart from the wisdom, wealth, and honor that he will bestow, God tells him that “if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life” (1 Kings 3:14). But already clouds threaten: to secure his southern border, Solomon marries an Egyptian princess (1 Kings 3:1). Because they are popular, he does not abolish the proscribed “high places,” but participates in worship there (1 Kings 3:2–4).

God sometimes bestows wonderful gifts of wisdom—technical, social, administrative, and judicial skills—but unless we also receive from him a heart attuned to loving him truly and obeying him wholly, our paths may end disastrously.

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1 Kings 2; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 33; Psalms 81–82 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-2-galatians-6-ezekiel-33-psalms-81-82/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-2-galatians-6-ezekiel-33-psalms-81-82/#respond Sat, 30 Sep 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-2-galatians-6-ezekiel-33-psalms-81-82/ 1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-1-galatians-5-ezekiel-32-psalm-80/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/1-kings-1-galatians-5-ezekiel-32-psalm-80/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/1-kings-1-galatians-5-ezekiel-32-psalm-80/ The transfer of regal authority from David to Solomon (1 Kings 1) is messy. One of David’s sons, Adonijah, confers with Joab, the head of the military, and tries to take over. Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, reminds her ailing husband of his promise that Solomon would be the heir, and the complicated account plays out.

Once again the chronic family failure of David stands out. The author of 1 Kings draws it to our attention in the parenthetical comment of 1:6. Referring to Adonijah, who was attempting the coup, he remarks, “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’ He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom”—as if good looks bred a kind of easy arrogance that thought everything, including the crown itself, was his by right.

Of the many important lessons, we may highlight two:

First, even gifted and morally upright believers commonly manifest tragic flaws. Occasionally a Daniel arises, of whom no failure is recorded. But most of the best in Scripture betray flaws of one sort or another—Abraham, Moses, Peter, Thomas, and (not least) David. The reality must be faced, for it is no less potent today. God raises up strategically placed and influential leaders. The odd one is so consistent that it is very difficult to detect any notable fault line. But usually that is not the case. Even the finest of our Christian leaders commonly display faults that their closest peers and friends can spot (whether or not the leaders themselves can see them!). This should not surprise us. In this fallen world, it is the way things are, the way things were when the Bible was written. We should therefore not be disillusioned when leaders prove flawed. We should support them wherever we can, seek to correct the faults where possible, and leave the rest to God—all the while recognizing the terrible potential for failures and faults in our own lives.

Second, once again the sovereignty of God works through the complicated efforts of his people. When David is informed of the problem, he does not throw his hands into the air and pray about the situation: he immediately orders that decisive, symbol-laden, and complex steps be taken to ensure that Solomon ascends the throne. Trust in God’s sovereign goodness is never an excuse for inactivity or indolence. Long years of walking by faith have taught David that whatever else “walking by faith” means, it does not warrant passivity. If we are to avoid acting in defiance of God, or in vain efforts to be independent of God, we must also avoid the pietism that is perennially in danger of collapsing trust into fatalism.

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-24-galatians-4-ezekiel-31-psalm-79/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-24-galatians-4-ezekiel-31-psalm-79/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-24-galatians-4-ezekiel-31-psalm-79/ 2 Samuel 23; Galatians 3; Ezekiel 30; Psalm 78:40–72 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-23-galatians-3-ezekiel-30-psalm-7840-72/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-23-galatians-3-ezekiel-30-psalm-7840-72/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2023 06:45:03 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-23-galatians-3-ezekiel-30-psalm-7840-72/ 2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalm 78:1–39 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-22-galatians-2-ezekiel-29-psalm-781-39/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-22-galatians-2-ezekiel-29-psalm-781-39/#respond Tue, 26 Sep 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-22-galatians-2-ezekiel-29-psalm-781-39/ 2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-21-galatians-1-ezekiel-28-psalm-77/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-21-galatians-1-ezekiel-28-psalm-77/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2023 06:45:07 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-21-galatians-1-ezekiel-28-psalm-77/ 2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekiel 27; Psalms 75–76 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-20-2-corinthians-13-ezekiel-27-psalms-75-76/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-20-2-corinthians-13-ezekiel-27-psalms-75-76/#respond Sun, 24 Sep 2023 06:45:08 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-20-2-corinthians-13-ezekiel-27-psalms-75-76/ 2 Samuel 19; 2 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 26; Psalm 74 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-19-2-corinthians-12-ezekiel-26-psalm-74/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-19-2-corinthians-12-ezekiel-26-psalm-74/#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2023 06:45:05 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-19-2-corinthians-12-ezekiel-26-psalm-74/ 2 Samuel 18; 2 Corinthians 11; Ezekiel 25; Psalm 73 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-18-2-corinthians-11-ezekiel-25-psalm-73/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-18-2-corinthians-11-ezekiel-25-psalm-73/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2023 06:45:09 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-18-2-corinthians-11-ezekiel-25-psalm-73/ 2 Samuel 17; 2 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 24; Psalm 72 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-17-2-corinthians-10-ezekiel-24-psalm-72/ https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/2-samuel-17-2-corinthians-10-ezekiel-24-psalm-72/#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2023 06:45:06 +0000 http://tgcstaging.wpengine.com/d-a-carson/2-samuel-17-2-corinthians-10-ezekiel-24-psalm-72/