As we continue our study of the kings of the two kingdoms, we see that as the nation of Judah begins to be (for the moment) on the right track in the early days of Asa, the Kingdom of Israel continues to fall in rapid decline. With each passing king they grow worse; from bad with Jeroboam, to really bad with Baasha, to really really bad with Elah, to extremely bad with Zimri, to horribly bad with Omri until we get to the really, really, extremely, horribly wicked Ahab. It was said about Ahab that he “…did evil in the sight of the LORD more than anyone else before him” (I Kings 16.30). How did things get so bad? It seems that each king attempted to trump the wickedness of the one that was before him. As students of the Scriptures today, this should be a warning to us of the progression of sin. James reminds us in his book of the progression of sin from birth to death, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” (James 1:14-16). What James alludes to is that as our lust and desires increase, so does the potential for sin. A good way to illustrate this is with addiction. Let’s say a person is lured away from his desire to fit in with the crowd and he gives in to the temptation of smoking a cigarette. At first it seems harmless, until pretty soon that cigarettes lead to them smoking a joint of marijuana. It doesn’t take long for this joint to become a gateway drug to something harder, like crack cocaine; and just like that, someone who never would have dreamed that they would have become an addict… is one. This isn’t just the case with drugs; it is the case with all sin. The more we do it, the more we want of it. Sin is a progression that is difficult to stop; such was the case with these kings of Israel. It started out with some seemingly innocent friendship and relationships with some good people that were just not followers of Jehovah in the days of Joshua. Then that progressed into them adopting some of their pagan practices. Then it doesn’t take long before you have King Jeroboam building two golden calves for the people of Israel to worship, along with Jehovah. Until now, you have king after wicked king killing off all their competition to the throne, worshiping idols, and adopting the unthinkable in human sacrifice. Just think…it always starts with just one little innocent compromise of faith, and then leads to another, and another and another. Church, we must be careful that we don’t fall into the slippery trap of sin, but rather trust in the power of the Word of God to keep us on the right path.