Excerpt from “The 14 Eras” booklet by Iva May
The Kingdom Era
1&2 Samuel; 1 Kings 1-11; 1 Chronicles; 2 Chronicles 1-9; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Songs; Psalms (Approximately 120 years)
At the end of the time of the judges, God gave a barren woman, Hannah, a son whom she named Samuel. Samuel ruled as Israel’s last judge and first post-Judges prophet. He anointed Israel’s first king in 1051 BC. Saul, the king, was everything the people thought they wanted in a king: he was handsome, a head taller than other men, and he came from a prosperous family. While the fulfillment of the people’s request, Saul actually proved the truth that man sees the outside, but God looks at the heart. Early in Saul’s reign, God told Samuel to tell Saul to destroy all the Amalekites, a tribe who had attacked Israel in the wilderness four hundred years ago. Had Saul taken the time to read the Book of the Law he would have read about the prophesied destruction of the Amalekites (Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17). Instead of obeying God, Saul spared the best of the sheep and the cattle, and he spared the king, Agag. When Samuel confronted Saul, Saul blamed the people for his disobedience; this defiance cost him the kingdom.
God then raised up a shepherd boy named David, a descendant of Judah, the youngest of eight sons, who had known God from his youth and had experienced God’s deliverance and power as he defended his father’s sheep from a lion and a bear. On the outside, David did not look like a king on the outside, but God looks at the heart. One day, when all of David’s brothers were at war in Saul’s army, David’s father sent David to see how his other sons were doing. David obeyed his father. When David reached the army, he saw that Saul and his army terrorized by Goliath, a mighty warrior in the Philistine army. Through faith in God, David volunteered to fight this giant, and he killed Goliath. The people of Israel fell in love with David, and Saul became jealous of David’s success. For the next thirteen years, Saul tried to kill David, until Saul himself died battling the Philistines.
David became king in 1011 BC, reigned for forty years, and successfully led Israel in many battles. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city of David, Jerusalem. He loved God, loved
God’s Word, and wanted to build God a temple as a permanent dwelling place for God among His people. God did not allow David to build the temple, because he was a man of war, but God said that David’s son Solomon would build the temple, and that God would build David an everlasting house—a king who would sit on his throne forever. David spent the rest of his life collecting materials to build the temple.
When God gave Moses the Law, four hundred years earlier, God instructed the people on the behavior of a king. The king could not go back to Egypt for horses to build himself an army, the king could not be a foreigner, could not take multiple wives, and could not amass wealth for himself. The king also had to write a copy of the Book of the Law in his own hand and read the law every day of his life. David loved the Law of God, meditated on it, and wrote many psalms (songs) about God.
Although David loved the LORD and His Word, he took a vacation from God and sinned grievously by committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his mighty men. He then staged the man’s death and married Bathsheba. God confronted David through his prophet, Nathan, and David repented in deep brokenness. The first son of their adulterous relationship died but their second son, Solomon, succeeded his father to the throne of Israel.
Solomon recognized early on that being Israel’s king required the manifest wisdom of God; when God appeared to him and offered him whatever he wanted, Solomon requested wisdom. God honored his request, and God’s wisdom upon Solomon’s life distinguished him among all the kings of the earth. The books of Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes are records of Solomon’s great wisdom. Solomon fulfilled his father’s wish and built a temple for the Living God. Solomon, however, did not follow the regulation given for kings regarding the taking of many wives. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and as a result, his heart turned away from God.
What does the Kingdom Era reveal about God?
• Hundreds of years earlier God promised that His people would cast off His rule and desire kings like those around them.
• Hundreds of years earlier God spoke to Israel about placing His Name permanently in their midst.
• Before Israel ever had a king, God had already given instruction as to the behavior of the king of His people.
• God spoke to the kings through His law and His prophets.
• God develops the man that He will establish on the throne of Israel in the sheepfolds of obscurity and the campfires of running from King Saul.
• God emboldens and empowers the one who trusts in Him completely.
• God forgives the grievous sins of the broken and contrite.
• God and man differ on the qualities necessary to lead His people.
• Hardness of heart and rebellion rob men of leadership effectiveness.
• God fulfills promises made to individuals in the past by raising up people to lead in the present.
• God’s promise to David that he would be king of Israel depended on God’s activity.
• Spiritual declension occurs in the lives of those who neglect their God-given responsibilities and God’s Word.
• Even those who walk with God are capable of doing the most heinous acts. Their response, when confronted over their sin, reveals their true attitude toward God.
• Leaders need the wisdom of God upon their lives to carry out their tasks.
• When man disregards God’s righteous standards, he always suffers from the consequences.