(Note: This is verse #12 of 66 that I’m memorizing this year with my granddaughter – one verse from each book of the Bible. Links to the previous verses can be found below.)
2 Kings 8:19
Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.
Remember when our children grew out of their cribs and started sleeping in their big boy or big girl beds? We decorated the walls, bought new bedding, added a toy box, and prayed they would stay in their beds all night long. It was a big transition for the whole family, and it took time for the new to become familiar. The sweet little baby who had never really thought twice about sleeping in an unlit room was now a talkative toddler who recognized that dark was, well, darkness.
A nightlight helped.
The Israelites – God’s chosen children – were a little the same way. By this time in their history, they had transitioned from the unfamiliar to the commonplace in several ways. They had been enslaved to the Egyptians, wandered in the wilderness, survived on manna from heaven, made their way into the promised land, and seen God do many miracles on their behalf. God had even parted the Red Sea for them to cross on dry ground. During all the hardship, they had been fruitful and multiplied, and now, they wanted to settle into an ordinary life. To the Israelites who compared themselves to their neighbors, being a nation without a king made no sense, and they all but demanded that God give them one.
Saul was the first. David was the second. As time went on, God allowed more, and the pattern of bad and good continued. The bad ones disregarded God’s plan to keep Israel set apart as a holy people, and they married women who worshiped other gods. The resumes of the kings are quite a repetitive read, as over and over, the lacking leadership of each one is forever chronicled: He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
Just like our two year-olds who was learning to sleep in a different bed, God’s children were unsettled without the structure of familiar boundaries. They needed security, but the kings they demanded were unreliable at best and evil at worst, which basically threatened their very existence.*
God promised a light. Not just a small nightlight, though. God promised a lamp.
When we memorize this verse with the children in our lives, we can use it to help them understand some amazing truths about God.
- God created the light.
Genesis 1:3, 4 – And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. God saw the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
- God promised that his children would always have access to the light.
II Kings 8:19 – …the Lord promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.
- God’s gave us his word to light the way for us to walk.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light to my path.
- God sent Jesus to be the greatest light of all.
John 1:9 – The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
- In God’s great plan, we are the light of the world, and it brings glory to God when we let our light shine.
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
- God has designed heaven so that there’s no night, and we won’t even need the sun or the moon, because Jesus will be the light!
Revelation 21:23 and 22:5 – The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. There will be no more night.
When it took my toddlers a while to understand their new big-bed surroundings, I remember being a little worn out and impatient with the whole process. Many times, I gave up and just let them sleep with the closet light on. Now, I’m realizing that I might have missed a few teachable moments!
Thankfully, I’m slightly wiser as a Grammie, and I fully intend to shed a little light on this verse anytime I get the chance. Who cares if the closet light stays on all night anyway?
Encouraging intentional adventure and a well-lit path,
PS – Teaching Tip: Take a stroll after dark with your grandson and let him use a flashlight to illuminate whatever he wants to see up close. Say the scripture together and sing This Little Light of Mine. If you and your granddaughter like to snuggle at bedtime like me and mine, let her use the flashlight on your phone and shine it all around the room. Talk about how amazing it is that God created light. Try to sing This Little Light in a two-person round. Get the giggles, hug her close and sleep tight. No closet light required.
*The Northern Kingdom (Israel) had 19 kings and no good ones. The Southern Kingdom (Judah) had 12 evil kings and 8 good ones.
Previous Verses: Feel free to use mine or find your own. My goal has been to give my granddaughter a clear picture of who God is and how much He loves her through the redemptive timeline laid out in these scriptures. Each one, stored in her heart, will lead her to repentance, illuminate her path, keep her heart steadfast, and comfort her in uncertainty – all the days of her life.