I started my reading with the first Jereboam of Israel, the "son of Nebat." Now in Grace he received the kingship of Israel, because God was to punish the later infidelities of David by tearing his throne in two. So God was using His will through Jereboam, and Jereboam received a measure of God's grace to complete that will. But did he merit any of that grace? Heck, no! Jereboam was so thoroughly evil that the curse on him was that all of his male heirs- save a baby that mercifully died while an infant- would die without benefit of graves.
And to do this? God used Baasha, who overthrew Jereboam's heirs and extinguished the line. Again, though, it was a total skunk that received God's grace, and his line would meet a similar fate. So why is God even messing with these people?
We get the reason when Rehoboam's (this is the king in Judah, the other half of David's old kingdom) grandson, Asa, becomes king- "So that David might have a lamp burning in Israel." What does that mean? Because David, who had sinned against God just the once, was faithful, God allowed the grace He showed to David to continue protecting His people. Asa was faithful, and did the best he knew how to remove the sin of Israel. And this leads us to a sort of side point here.
One of the curious things is, if God was going to use Jereboam and Baasha, why then destroy them afterwards? And to get at that answer, I had to look at another nebulous verse- actually two verses. One is I Kings 14:24; the other in the next chapter, 15:12. They involve a group of people in Israel and Judah my Bible labeled "perverted"; other translations use the terms "cult prostitutes", "whoremongers", "effeminites", and "sodomites."
Uh-oh, here we go with another rag on homosexuals, right? Not if you read it correctly.
See, the original word used actually translated as "sacred". What the word was getting at was, these were like priests and priestesses, but were perverting worship by using altars and temples dedicated to God for quasi-religious orgies to honor Astaroth/Astarte, the fertility goddess throughout Mesopotamia. The point being, they were their, selling sex to the "faithful" so that they could "honor" their goddess. How the translators of the various Bibles attached sodomite to this, when to us, a sodomite is synonomous with a homosexual? Well, if you go back to Genesis, you'll see that the sins of Sodom (from which the term comes from) included BUT WERE NOT LIMITED TO homosexuality. So in this case, a sodomite is someone committing any perverted sexual sin- and in this case, in a religious frame. Or to put it another way, their religion was their lust. Put like that, you probably know a few "sodomites" yourself.
So how does this chunk all tie together? Because the kings that were removed, the "sodomites" who were removed by Asa, were all in the business of perverting the people. These received a much worse fate than the people they corrupted.
But Asa endured through his faithfulness- but the people themselves continued to sin. They continued to receive God's grace. Why? For this, we move to 2 Kings and the second king named Jereboam. Even though he was just as evil as the first Jereboam, God allowed him to retake much of Israel that had been lost to the Syrians. God allowed him His grace to accomplish this, despite his evil. Why?
2Ki 13:23 But the Lord was kind to them and had pity on them, caring for them, because of his agreement with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; he would not put them to destruction or send them away from before his face till now.
Oh, that's a cop out, the unbeliever says, and we're right back where we started. Or is it? As the numbers of faithful flag, we see new crises- ISIS, global warming, ebola. AIDS. One day, those saved by Grace will be removed from the board, and unbelievers will face a world without grace. The faithful know what that will be like, we have read the Book of Revelation. And it tells us the unbeliever will still unbelieve even as the world falls apart around them.
Rev 9:20 And the rest of the people, who were not put to death by these evils, were not turned from the works of their hands, but went on giving worship to evil spirits, and images of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood which have no power of seeing or hearing or walking:
Rev 9:21 And they had no regret for putting men to death, or for their use of secret arts, or for the evil desires of the flesh, or for taking the property of others.