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King Ahab – A Lesson in Grace

This morning we’re going to take a look at one of Israel’s most notorious kings. Just like King David was known for his goodness – King Ahab was known for his badness. In fact, let me just read for you how the Bible introduces him. This is 1 Kings 16:29-33.

“Ahab son of Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 31 And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. 32 First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. 33 Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.” 1 Kings 16:29-33

So basically, what the Bible is telling us, is that Ahab was the most evil king Israel had ever seen. He was the Adolf Hitler, the Joseph Stalin, the Osama Bin Laden of his time.

So what lessons could we possible learn from this guy? Well, I think the answer might surprise you. 

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Asa – Stick With God

This morning we look at yet another king of Israel in our summer series – Lessons from the Kings. The king that we will be looking at this morning is fairly unknown. You probably didn’t hear his story when you were in Sunday School as a kid. He’s not really a famous hero like King David or an evil villain like King Ahab. He’s really just an average Joe. Just a regular guy who happened to be king.

But the Bible records his story for a reason. There is a lesson to be learned from his life. So let’s see if we can find out what it is. 

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Hezekiah Part Two – Going to God

This morning we continue in our series – Lessons from the Kings. If you’ve missed the last couple of weeks, let me give you a quick summary of what we’ve been talking about. Two weeks ago we looked at king Saul and learned the lesson that he never did, about fully obeying God. God had given him specific instructions and he specifically disobeyed them. Not a good example to follow. Then last week we looked at Hezekiah – who was rather the opposite of King Saul – because the Bible says of Hezekiah that He sought his God wholeheartly. We saw that even though his father, King Ahaz, completely led the nation away from God, the moment he became king, Hezekiah began to lead the people back to God.

Now originally, I had planned only to do one message per king in this series, but because Hezekiah has such a cool story and the lessons that we can learn from it are so important, I’ve decided to do a ‘part 2’ to last week’s message. I’ve got to show you what happens next after his fantastic start.

We’re going to pick up the story now in Isaiah – chapter 36 – verse 1. Or if you’d prefer, 2 Kings chapter 18 has the exact same story – starting in verse 13.

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King Hezekiah Sets the Bar for Obedience

Last Sunday we started a new sermon series entitled “Lessons from the Kings”. Throughout the summer months we’re going to be looking at – not all, but several, of the kings of Israel. And we kicked it all off last week with the very first king of Israel – King Saul.

Unfortunately, Saul didn’t leave us much of an example to follow. The lesson we learned was more of a ‘what not to do’ – as Saul blatantly disobeyed the command of the Lord.

But this morning, we’re going to get a better role model. We’re going to fast forward through time to King Hezekiah. Now King Hezekiah isn’t one of the Bible’s most famous characters – but he was one of Israel’s best and most Godly kings.

Just so you know, in this series, we aren’t going though the kings chronologically. Hezekiah does not immediately follow Saul on the timeline. In fact, he’s much closer to the end of the timeline than the beginning. But just before we start looking at King Hezekiah – we need to know a bit about his father – King Ahaz. So if you have your Bibles, turn with me to 2 Chronicles 28. This chapter gives us a good snapshot of what kind of a king King Ahaz was.

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The True Condition of King Saul’s Heart

This morning we begin a new sermon series – entitled “Lessons from the Kings.” And I feel I should clarify, especially to the men, that we’re actually not talking about hockey. Although I am sure there are many lessons that we could learn from the recent Stanley Cup champions, I’m afraid the Los Angeles Kings will not be the focus of our study this morning.

Instead, we’re going to be looking at the Kings of Israel. Now most people can name at least one or two of the kings of Israel. For example, many of you know that the first king of Israel was King Saul. And of course, after Saul was the giant killer, King David and after David was his son King Solomon. And that’s just about as far as most people can go. Few people could name the kings that followed Solomon. But the Bible records the stories of 41 kings of Israel.

Now we’re not going look at all of them, of course, but over these next few summer months, we’re going to look at the lives of several of these famous and not so famous kings.

The king we want to look at this morning is King Saul – the very first king of Israel.

Now just to give you the background to his story, you might remember that before Israel had kings, they were led by Judges. We talked about these judges last September in our Heroes and Zeros series – guys like Samson, Gideon, Ehud. Well, the last of these judges was a man named Samuel. He had faithfully led the people of Israel for his entire life – and now that He was an old man, the people of Israel didn’t want another judge to lead them – they asked God to give them a king.

God agreed to their request and God told Samuel anoint Saul as their first king. But it’s important to note that even though Saul was to be their political & military leader – as long as he was alive, Samuel remained as their spiritual leader. He was still God’s representative – God’s voice to the people – God’s voice to the king. And that’s just what we see in the passage that we are going to look at this morning.

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