As 2 Kings opens, we find the people of God divided into two kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Neither kingdom was to last. By the end of the book both kingdoms had been taken captive — Israel by the Assyrians and, over 130 years later, Judah by the Babylonians. It is impossible for us today to comprehend adequately just how devastating it was for the Israelites to be taken into captivity in this way. They needed help, and the author of 2 Kings provided it for them. He wrote to explain why the exile had taken place, to urge them to guard against dangers which they faced while in exile and to give them hope for the future.
The themes hammered home by 2 Kings are just as vital for God’s people today. We too must obey God’s command to worship and serve him alone. We must always pay careful heed to his Word. Like the readers of 2 Kings, we can, and must, trust his promises. With these things firmly in place, we can face an uncertain future with a clear sense of direction and with a deep peace.
Roger Ellsworth is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Benton, Illinois. He has served as trustee of South-Eastern Baptist Seminary, North Carolina, and president of Illinois State Baptist Association.
"This has got to be a helpful book ... Kings is explored with New Testament insight and every exegetically sound opportunity is taken to draw attention to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is also a great deal of pastoral application woven into every chapter." - Evangelical Times (Review of 1 Kings by the same author)