Before the nation of Israel entered the Promised Land Moses writes this instruction for the future kings of Israel:
And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, (the law of God) approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandments, either to the right or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children in Israel. (Deut. 17:18-20)
“Nevertheless,” writes Tim Keller, “the history of Israel and of Israel’s kings was one of failure to trust and obey God and truly be his sons.”  This disheartening history is one of failure to lead the people in covenant faithfulness to their God.
Two observations from today’s reading, however, speak of the faithfulness of God in spite of the unfaithfulness of the nation’s Kings:
First, chapter 14: 23-27. King Jeroboam, though he did evil in the sight of the lord, “restored the border of Israel… according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah … For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to help Israel. But the Lord had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam …” (vs.25-27)
Note the initiative by God: he saw there was none to help, so he saved them. God was faithful to his word; Jeroboam was his means to fulfill it. This passage reminds me of Exodus 9:16 where God tells Moses what to say to Pharaoh, “But for this reason I have raised you (Pharaoh) up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” Job speaking of God says, “But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires that he does.” (Job 23:13)
Second, chapter 15:8-12. Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned as king over Israel. Note verse 12: “This was the promise of the Lord that he gave to Jehu, ‘Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the to the fourth generation.’ And so it came to pass.”
Zechariah was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Jehu. See the faithfulness of God to his promise in spite of man’s unfaithfulness. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19)
Should we not take great comfort from God’s word and his promise that out of Bethlehem one would come forth to be ruler in Israel? This king fulfilled all the righteous requirements of God’s law and did what is right in the eyes of the Lord. With him God is well pleased, and his name is Jesus because he saves his people from their sin.