Bible in 90 – Day 28: Pleasing & Displeasing

[Manasseh] did what was displeasing to the Lord, following the abhorrent practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.

II Kings 21: 2

[Josiah] did what was pleasing to the Lord and he followed all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not deviate to the right or to the left.

II Kings 22: 2

by Todd Rossnagel

Almost the entire book of II Kings is a listing of kings of Israel and Judah and their decision to follow (mostly in Judah) or not follow (mostly in Israel) the ways of the Lord.

Those who follow, who do what is pleasing, are blessed (most of the time) and their lineage is protected (as long as decendants continue to please the Lord). This mostly means that they destroy the shrines to the gods, cleanse the places of worship of temple prostitutes and call the nation back to the Lord’s worship.

Those who do not follow, who do what is not pleasing, are removed from power and their lineage is put to shame. These are the kings that encourage the worship of idols and foreign gods and encourage the nation to follow the gods of their choosing.

At times this constant repetition gets difficult to read. It is obvious that those giving us this narrative want to make sure that we remember it, we learn something from it. In the end it is an important part of the larger biblical narrative.

Truth be told we are just like those kings of old. Sometimes we are faithful and follow the Lord and its precepts and other times we do not. Sometimes we are faithful and our children are not, choosing other gods instead of the Lord.

The narrative of kings is the narrative of the human condition, especially as it relates to those in power. Those of us who have responsibility to keep the narrative alive must take our role seriously. Leadership is difficult but when the people are going astray we must remind them of their story, that Baal or Ashera did not bring them out of Egypt, golden calves did not make them into a covenant people. The Lord is the one who gave them their identity, who guided them into the land of promise.

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