It is not for us to know why we face what we face. The ‘why’ question often leads nowhere. Yes, there were times in 1 and 2 Kings when a famine or event happened directly due to God’s judgement. Most of the time we won’t know why our lives are how they are. Perhaps we have issues due to our own sinful decisions; maybe it is part of a bigger plan of God we have not been told about. Seeking to know why is not the main focus of what we should be thinking and doing.
In some circles, Christians are directly taught that if they are faithful to God, they will be blessed with an abundant, happy and healthy life. It is a compelling message. We’d love it to be true. A neat life where faithfulness directly leads to an easy life right now sounds fantastic!
And this is not only an issue for Christians who have been taught this kind of prosperity theology. All of us will, at times, think along these lines. We will wonder if the problems we are currently facing are some sort of judgement from God. We will be upset if our plans don’t come about, assuming that God should give us what we want.
Yet the ease of your life is a bad indicator of your faith in God. Even a cursory look at the Bible will demonstrate that. The men who wrote Psalms 37 and 73 both noted that those who care nothing for God often seem to have happy, successful lives while believers struggle. Evil kings like Ahab and Manasseh reigned for a long time. The prophets and apostles all had difficult lives facing all kinds of problems. Life is not as simple as the faithful getting blessed now and the wicked facing immediate judgement.
Looking through the many kings described in 1 and 2 Kings, both good and bad, is instructive for us here. The vast majority of them faced major problems in their lives. The difference between the good kings and the wicked kings was not the circumstances they lived through; it was how they reacted to those circumstances.