Following today's reading in II Kings is akin to attempting to follow the multi-track narrative of an avant-garde French film from the 1960s, or a 19th century Russian novel without a cheat sheet at your side that keeps you connected with who is who, and to what is happening, has happened or is about to happen in any number of places as the plot(s) advance. Worse yet, caught as we are in "excerpt" format...it is hard to not just skip ahead to where (we hope) the narrative makes more sense. There are two kingdoms, Judha and Israel. There are multiple rulers, usurpers and subplots that demand our attention. There are outside agents that from time to time present threats credible enough to warrant a cessation of civil warfare, long enough to repulse (or in some cases, be defeated by) those outsiders.
What is clear? There are a succession of kings in Israel and Judah. Some are better than others. Some are worse, attempting to outdo each other in depravity and/or idolatry. All of them hold power...some for decades, others less (one for just a month!).
|From Wikipedia: an image of Succession|
So, with succession being the key to today's reading in II Kings, I see some parallels in the Psalm and in Acts. In the Psalm, we hear a song of David extolling that the grace of being a king by God's grace means not only sitting at God's right hand; it also means having a heritage that will abide forever in God's presence and in the land itself. Succession is a given, and from David's perspective that is a good thing. Reference above to see how it works out for the divided kingdom....
|Paul's appeal to Caesar while before Festus|
With succession being so important, we are starting to see that God, though still VERY active in the lives of the people of God, has a longer-term set of solutions in mind. The people of God are failing to live up to, and in to, the Covenant; and as that debt increases, more drastic emphasis is building on what salvation from sin really looks like. Though we are in the middle of it all...as events and history work themselves out, we are starting to see themes develop that will be leading us toward a state of being where God's deliverance will be profound, timely and dramatic...
...but, not quite yet. We have quite a few more monarchs to walk with in the histories; and many more miles to travel with Paul and the rest of the apostles before we rest.