1 Kings 13:1-14:18; 1 Kings 14:21-24; 2 Chronicles 12:13-14; 2 Chronicles 11:18-23; 2 Chronicles 12:1-12; 1 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Chronicles 12:13-16; 1 Kings 14:29-15:5; 2 Chronicles 13:1-22; 1 Kings 15:6-8; 2 Chronicles 14:1-8; 1 Kings 15:9-15; 1 Kings 14:19-20; 1 Kings 15:25-34; 2 Chronicles 14:9-15
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Interesting story in 1 Kings today about the man of God from Judah prophesying against the altar at Bethel. The man of God delivers his prophecy and then shuns Jeroboam's invite to go to his palace for food and a gift. The man of God appears very strong. And then later... he lets down his guard. And he falls prey to the lie of the old prophet. Now why on earth the old prophet decided to pursue the man of God and tell this lie is beyond me. If anyone has insights on this, please post up in the Comments below. I think the lesson here for us today is this - we cannot let down our guard when it comes to spiritual matters. I think sometimes we think we can - but we simply cannot! If we do let down our guard, then we often stumble. And thanks to God's grace we can recover from that stumble. But, there is always the dangerous risk that our stumble could be very severe, as it certainly was for the man of God in today's readings...
Allright, in 1 Kings 14 we are now we are getting into the story of the Kings! I really like this portion of the Bible. I am fascinated by the back-and-forth stories and timelines of the Kings of Israel and the Kings of Judah. The one very unfortunate thing you will notice over and over are verses like 1 Kings 14 verse 22: "During Rehoboam's reign, the people of Judah did what was evil in the LORD's sight, arousing his anger with their sin, for it was even worse than that of their ancestors." Or verses like 1 Kings 15 verse 3: "Abijam committed the same sins as his father before him, and his heart was not right with the LORD his God, as the heart of his ancestor David had been." And we will read far too few verses like verse 11 as we read about the Kings of Judah and Israel: "Asa did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, as his ancestor David had done." I think what is interesting to note in all of these verses - and in the verses to come about future Kings we will read about - is that it really didn't much matter what the Kings "did" in their reigns. Their wars or their building of cities or whatever really didn't matter compared to did they sin against God or not? Did they lead Israel or Judah into sin or not? Did they love God or not? And I think this is the same for our lives today. God does not so much care what our careers are or what our social status is or how many friends or how much money we have. God cares whether we love Him with all of heart, mind, soul and strength. God cares whether we are sinning against Him or not. As Jesus tells us: "seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all of these things will be yours as well." So, yes, God ultimately does care about our lives and careers and friends and such too - but he first wants us to seek a right relationship with Him - and then everything else will flow from our relationship with God. Someone should have let some of these Kings of Israel and Judah know this!
Okay, a good overview of the Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah at this point in our readings in First Kings is this image below:
Below is an image for 1 Kings 14 verses 25 & 26 - "In the fifth year of King Rehoboam's reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the Temple of the LORD and the royal palace and stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made."
1 Kings 15 verse 26 stood out to me right away today: "But he did what was evil in the LORD's sight and followed the example of his father, continuing the sins of idolatry that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit." The key word that stood out to me in this verse is "example." I think sometimes we can forget that every action we take is an example to others. We are either exampling godly behavior or ungodly behavior. Obviously Jeroboam exampled ungodly behavior - and unfortunately, since he was king of Israel, his bad example had far reaching effects. Even though you or me aren't king of any land, I do believe that the examples we set have bigger impacts than we realize. Our kids, our parents, our siblings, our neighbors, our co-workers, the stranger on the street, the person at the coffee shop, are all watching what we do. How we behave. Who we are. Our very lives are examples to so many people each and every day. What type of example are you setting with your life? Do you realize that people are literally following your example each and every day?
YouTube: Today's readings remind me of the For King & Country song "The Proof of Your Love:"
Do you need proof of God's love for you? Click here for proof!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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