In reading 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles in the Bible, I see loads of bloodshed. God warned the people of Israel to not even bother having a king because He was their ruler, but no one listened to Samuel as He spoke in God’s defense. God warned them what kings produce: oppression & bloodshed. They didn’t care. God said he’d choose a king for them, but throughout these books we see multiple failures and problems with kings (even the anointed ones). King David wasn’t even allowed to build a temple for the Lord because he had too much blood on his hands, while Solomon had a complete peaceful reign to bring about the building of the house of the Lord. Afterwards the bloodshed went on.
Between Solomon’s rule and Israel’s divide and through the fall of Israel & Judah, there is a span of about 400 years with many kings and loads of wars and murders and deaths. The high majority were terrible kings. I have grown quite fond of a king in particular in which God said that there was no king of Judah as great as him to ever reign (2 Kings 18:5). In 2 Chronicles 28-32 we learn how God helped Hezekiah. So many people spoke evil things against the king because he was destroying the loads of idols set up, was fixing up the temple doors and bringing restoration to it, he brought back the Passover, and he just served God pretty wholeheartedly. The king of Assyria threatened him to no end. The Assyrian king was going to come to destroy him and the people of Judah. When he was coming up towards Jerusalem, It bothered Hezekiah so much that he got Isaiah to pray with him and they cried out to heaven. They decided to put their trust in God. What happened? God sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army (32:21). When the Assyrian king returned home, his own sons killed him. This helped the people of Jerusalem to fill their hearts with praise to God.
I recently had a one-on-one/face-to-face discussion with a woman who asked me what I’d do if I saw a woman being beaten across the street. She said how she would totally want to go over and hurt the person hurting the woman rather than letting her die. When I told her I’d pray first, this woman was upset with me (and didn’t let me finish explaining myself), as if prayer wasn’t a worthy enough act. Though she believes in Jesus, she basically wanted to put her trust in using her own strength than the strength of our Creator. It truly broke my heart and I let her know later on in person that I feel we need to have more trust in God and more faith in the power of prayer. Hezekiah saw that there was no hope in an army or in man to get him through. The only way to defend him was to get together with a prophet of the Lord and pray and cry out to Him. They had such a leading of the Holy Spirit and a love for God, that God sent just one angel to destroy an entire army. We need to have such faith to trust that God is the one who will take care of us.
I want to take it a step further. When we think of Jesus, not only did He pray to The Father to help Him, but He put himself in line for us all when He could have easily have wiped out all those who tried to & eventually killed Him. I was one of those people, though not physically there, but I was one who crucified my Saviour. Instead of destroying me to defend Himself, He died for me. That woman on the other side of the street should not only have me praying for her, but going in her place to take the abuse she received. I also need to pray for the person beating her. That is the beautiful story of Jesus and what He did for us, so we are expected to do the same for others. We need to put our trust in Him to take care of us all. Jesus is God and returned from the dead. We must realize that loving other people might have a price, but eternity is so much greater than our own comfort. I can’t fathom the idea of spreading the gospel of Christ through harming others (because if I were to beat anyone even to save someone, I doubt it would show that I love Jesus. . that person needs Jesus as much as I do in that moment – and if I accidentally kill the person oppressing the other, then I have condemned that person to hell rather than helping give them a chance to transform their lives over to Christ and I have just broken a commandment too). Vengeance is the Lord’s to repay, so let Him take care of things. Let us show love to those who hate others and hate us so that they too can possibly have a chance to taste the grace of Christ.
Most people only focus on two of these verses, but I really love the ones surrounding it. Let us savor it together!
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” -Proverbs 3:1-8