These books are written as an overview of the history of the Kings of ancient Israel. They are written against the backdrop of Deuteronomy: the writer/s of 1st & 2nd Kings highlight the importance of connecting their history to the ordinances and promises given to their forefathers by the God of all history.
God’s people witnessing these trials (either first hand, or retrospectively) might be inclined to question God’s sovereignty over the great tides of world events: the ruthless, sweeping movements of superpowers under the influence of greed, fear, anger, pride and politics.
Can God really be in control? Is he really powerful enough to preside over these fearful situations? Can we expect God to rescue us from our enemies? Will he save us from our own folly? Have we blown our chances and been abandoned by God?
At the root of these questions is the ultimate question for sufferers: is there hope?
As we begin the book of 1st Kings, we will glimpse the cracks starting to appear. As the nation of Israel divides and crumbles, though, we will also begin to witness rays of hope that God is indeed sovereign, and that he will not completely abandon his people, nor will he allow human sinfulness to derail his ultimate plan of salvation. There is hope in God. The root of Jesse will endure.