1 Kings 16

1 Kings 16 has a number of leadership changes in Israel.  Things are pretty stable in Judah during this time as Asa is walking with God and enjoying a rather long time on the throne.  But in Israel, things are different as a series of evil kings come and go quickly.  “The word of the Lord came to Jehu….against Baasha….Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader….you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin….I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house”.  Baasha was an evil king and God tells him through the prophet He is taking him and his household out.

“Elah his son reigned in his place….two years”.  But then “his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots….came in and struck him down and killed him….and reigned in his place”.  Doesn’t look like he did a very good job of checking out his appointment of a leader.  It didn’t last long – in fact only seven days – before “Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel”.  The coup wasn’t taken well and the army decided that killing the king wasn’t acceptable, so they took Zimri out by surrounding his city and he killed himself by burning down the kings house with himself inside.

Then things get interesting as the kingdom divides itself in two.  “Half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king, and half followed Omri”.  That was short lived as Omri being commander of the army used his force to overtake Tibni.  He reigned for 12 years.  Unfortunately “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him”.  So we see a number of leadership changes happening here in Israel, but none of these kings walked with God at all.

After Omri, Ahab his son reigned in his place.  Ahab was not an improvement at all.  In fact, anything but.  Ahab was on the throne twenty-two years which gave him more time than most of the kings of Israel to lead them further away from God.  And he did a good job of that.  “He took for his wife Jezebel….and went and served Baal and worshiped him”.  Ahab took evil in God’s eyes to a whole different level once again.  He erected an altar for Baal and made an Asherah. Here’s a label that you don’t want to be chasing: “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him”.  This was a bad leader who took his people totally away from God.

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