2 Kings 16: Ahaz becomes ruler of Judah. He makes a pact with the king of Assyria, asking him to save them from Aram and Israel. Then he continues to do things bad according to God.
2 Kings 17: Israel falls in this chapter. Also known as the Northern Kingdom or Samaria, they finally fall to Assyria. The text reminds us that this fall was pretty much inevitable because they refused to follow God and stick to his instructions he set forth to King David.
2 Kings 18: Hezekiah becomes king of Judah. He removed all shrines to the false gods as well as other artifacts that had become shrines, such as the bronze snake that Moses made, because people started to treat them as idols and worship those artifacts. Hezekiah is challenged by the king of Assyria here, who does take many of Judah’s fortified cities. But he doesn’t take Jerusalem, at least not yet. Also, according to the beginning of this chapter, Hezekiah was the best king of Judah.
Romans 2: So I missed this in Romans 1, but it ended with Paul pretty much calling out the Gentiles for their sins. I wanted to add this because this chapter focuses on Jews and their sins. He warns them not to judge others because they are most likely doing the same thing. Paul warns everyone against doing evil: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God does not have favorites” (CEB Study Bible; Romans 2.9-11). He makes it very clear that it isn’t important for Gentiles to “convert” to Judaism in order to receive God’s praise, arguing instead that it is the person “who is circumcised in spirit, not literally” (Romans 2.29).
I gotta admit, Paul’s letters really resonate with me. In my opinion they apply more to current life than most of what I’ve read in the OT up to this point. I guess that’s why I tend to feel more connected to Paul’s letters than other books.
Just a side note from the “How to Read the Bible Book by Book” source on reading Romans:
Romans is broken up into 4 parts (1) the issue of human sinfulness, showing first its universality (Gentile and Jew alike, with the law offering no advantage to the Jew) and then the effectiveness of Christ in dealing with sin, so that right standing with God is based on faith alone—for which Abraham, the “father of us all” (4:16), serves as exhibit A; (2) how faith in Christ and the gift of the Spirit effect the kind of righteousness that the law intended but could not pull off, since it lacked the power to deal with human sinfulness; (3) how God is faithful despite Jewish unbelief, having a place for both Gentiles and Jews in the new “olive tree” (11:24); (4) what the righteousness effected by Christ and by the Spirit (thus apart from the law) looks like in terms of relationships within the believing community and beyond.