1 Kings 16 provides stark contrast for how a righteous leader and his reign contrasts to that of the wicked when Yahweh’s hand of blessing and/or curse are involved. It is dramatic.
As you read 1 Kings 16, keep in mind what was said about Asa.
11Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father.
Prophecy against Baasha
1Now the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, 2“Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins, 3behold, I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 4“Anyone of Baasha who dies in the city the dogs will eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat.”
5Now the rest of the acts of Baasha and what he did and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
The Israelite Kings
6And Baasha slept with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah, and Elah his son became king in his place. 7Moreover, the word of the LORD through the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani also came against Baasha and his household, both because of all the evil which he did in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he struck it.
8In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha became king over Israel at Tirzah, and reigned two years. 9His servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him. Now he was at Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was over the household at Tirzah. 10Then Zimri went in and struck him and put him to death in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and became king in his place. 11It came about when he became king, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he killed all the household of Baasha; he did not leave a single male, neither of his relatives nor of his friends.
12Thus Zimri destroyed all the household of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke against Baasha through Jehu the prophet, 13for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idols. 14Now the rest of the acts of Elah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
15In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned seven days at Tirzah. Now the people were camped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. 16The people who were camped heard it said, “Zimri has conspired and has also struck down the king.” Therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. 17Then Omri and all Israel with him went up from Gibbethon and besieged Tirzah. 18When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire, and died, 19because of his sins which he sinned, doing evil in the sight of the LORD, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, making Israel sin. 20Now the rest of the acts of Zimri and his conspiracy which he carried out, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
21Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; the other half followed Omri. 22But the people who followed Omri prevailed over the people who followed Tibni the son of Ginath. And Tibni died and Omri became king. 23In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king over Israel and reigned twelve years; he reigned six years at Tirzah. 24He bought the hill Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and named the city which he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.
25Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, and acted more wickedly than all who were before him. 26For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat and in his sins which he made Israel sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel with their idols. 27Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did and his might which he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 28So Omri slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria; and Ahab his son became king in his place.
29Now Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.
31It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. 32So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria. 33Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 34In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.
Godlessness leads to unrest and anarchy. In this case it was more dramatic because the LORD Himself caused the punishment to fall on the wicked. He did not simply remove His hand of blessing but basically brought forth judgment and punishment.
On the other hand, Asa, who did what was right in the sight of the LORD, was reigning for 41 years. That did not mean he had an easy time. He had challenges, but what a stark contrast between the righteous and the wicked among God’s people.
Leadership matters. It influences what happens to the people and their relationship with the LORD. Yahweh will hold leaders accountable for not only their own bad choices but more so when they lead so many others astray. In our society today we have the opportunity to influence who gets put in leadership positions. Let us actively engage to influence elections to favor those who will not stand for false religion, homosexuality, abortion, and government control instead of relying on Yahweh.
It is also a reminder for each of us to seek to do what is right in the sight of the LORD.
As a closing thought, we also see that as each generation of wicked king did more and more evil, more than those who went before him. That is the way of sin and separation from God. Once you no longer submit to Him and His ways, what you deem acceptable continues to move farther and farther away from His ways. The path of the godless becomes more wicked over time, more separated from God.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.