Checkmate! When God plays Chess.

Chess. Strategy, maneuver, tactics, ultimately expose the King by taking away all defenses.

Could I convince you today that God played chess on a worldwide scale for 450 years? Let me explain….

God called a nomad named Abram around 1900 BC, and began a nation. From his loins came Issac, then Jacob, then the twelve tribes and eventually the Hebrew nation. From there the 70 souls went down to Egypt to escape the famine, and emerged some 400 years later to cross the Red sea, and do the wilderness journey.

Once they entered the land of promise, there was a period of time of about 450 years when Judges governed the land. While the nation was making the journey from a nation of slaves to a nation of farmers, the Judges worked well enough. Then slowly they began to emerge as a nation of cities, and a whole new need arose.

Soon the cry for a King like other nations began, and finally became a din that God answered. The time had come for Israel to have a king, and the monarchy was born. Coming on the heels of the Judges, it certainly looked like anything would be an improvement. Sadly that was not to be.

Before the Monarchy had run it’s course, it would eliminate 10 tribes forever. It would also take all 12 tribes to spiritual lows never known before, and to this day, never matched again.

There was the period of the United Kingdom for 120 years. Each of the first three Kings ruled for 40 years (Saul, David and Solomon). Those 120 years were followed by a civil war that resulted in the nation being torn into two nations, known thereafter as Israel and Judah.

Israel was the northern kingdom and was comprised of 10 tribes. Over the next 200 years there would be 19 kings in a row and every one of them were bad. Not one King in 200 years of the northern kingdom served God. Finally God had enough. In 721 BC the nation of Assyria came and conquered 46 cities, and led away 200,000 captives.

The Assyrian army marched to the very gates of Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, and surrounded the city. Rabshakeh, the Assyrian general, informed King Hezekiah of the Southern Kingdom, they were next on the list to be taken captive. Rabshakeh mocked Hezekiah and said even if I gave you 2000 horses for war, you could not put riders on them.

The southern kingdom was at the mercy of the greatest army in the world.

Hezekiah asked Isaiah the prophet what to do, and what followed is one of the most remarkable stories in the history of mankind. Isaiah told King Hezekiah to not worry about those 185,000 men encamped about the city of Jerusalem. When the Hebrews awoke the next morning they found out that the Angel of the Lord had gone through the camp of Assyria and killed 185,000 men.

It ranks as one of the greatest victories ever, anywhere, in the history of the world!

The southern kingdom was spared and lasted another 135 years. There were 19 kings and one queen in the southern kingdom. I say there were 8 good kings. It does depend on what you call good. But from my perspective 8 kings in the south were good. The book of chronicles which was originally one book, (* see note below), unlike the book of kings, primarily deals with the good kings of Judah. It has even been referred to as the white washed history because it eliminates things like David’s sin with Bathsheba.

Chronicles focus is on the monarchy that was good, and the temple. These were the two things that had permanence in Hebrew life.

So was the monarchy, success or failure? There were 41 kings in all and one queen. At best 11 kings might be said to have ruled well. That leaves 30 kings who ruled poorly and one queen who was the most wicked monarch of all. The monarchy ruled for 455 years. It was almost the exact same number of years the judges ruled.

My conclusion is that it was a failure just as notable as the Judges. God never intended for man to rule over man. God has always been the right ruler in man’s life.

With the whole world as His chessboard, God exposed the Kings for their weaknesses. He ultimately took away their defenses and exposed the need for a Messiah.

Some day our great God will reveal the King of Kings, and believe me it will be checkmate!

Thanks for joining me today!

Note: The book of Chronicles and the book of Kings were written in Hebrew which has no vowels. When translated into English, both books were too long and so they were divided into two books. Kings divides when the divine ministry of the prophets begins with Elijah. Chronicles divides with Solomon who builds the temple. No doubt the translators felt the ministry of the prophets, which would replace the monarchy, and the Temple, were the natural points to divide the books.