Some believe that the kings of a playing card deck represent David, Alexander, Caesar, and Charlemagne. What people decide to use those cards for, well, you’ve probably seen poker being played, if you haven’t played it yourself. Basically the game is played on the basis of probability. Once the hand is dealt, each player jockeys to get the best cards in his hand, and then bets each other player that his hand is the best. The player with the best hand wins all the money in the pot.
As we move into this final group of kings, we leave the kings of Israel behind. Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC and the ten tribes become the Dispersion, the lost Israelites. It is God’s judgment meted out to a nation that refused to obey Him and worshipped idols. Though they had decent kings, and greatness in King Jereboam II, they bet everything on the wrong god.
The kingdom of Judah to the south now plays the next hand. Up to now, they had done an adequate job of keeping the Temple and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their object of worship. But nearly every king neglected the “high places”, private places of worship of its citizens. The Kings allowed individuals to worship as they chose, rather than enforce the worship of the One True God. Even though God had specific rules about worship, sacrifice, and sin, yet the people of Judah wanted to do things their own way, and this became the weakness of Judah.
Thankfully, this period of Kings highlights some very good kings, like Hezekiah and Josiah, who sought to serve the Lord with all their hearts. But there are also kings like Manasseh, and Uzziah, who are notorious for their evil.
The Kings of Judah are much like poker players. They bet their armies, treasure, and allegiance on different gods. Only those that bet on God, and give everything to Him come out winners.
There is a lesson here for all of us. All of us are given time, talents, and especially the Holy Spirit as gifts from God. They lay before us to use as we choose. When we use them for ourselves, we risk them on the whims of chance. But when we risk them on God’s purposes, we always win. If we learn anything from the Kings, is that those that bet on God come out winners. And the winnings God promises are truly out of this world.