The family tree changes here with me (1 Kings 15)

My family tree changed the day my dad became a follower of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt about it. The legacy given me by my father is different than the one he received from his dad.

The same thing seems to happen here in 1 kings 15 when Asa reigns. He is 3 generations removed from David. The Nation has been divided. Both parts are slipping deeper and deeper into idolitry. Yet here Asa makes strong advances towards a resurgence of true worship. He removes idols and gets the perverts (the ones practicing a hyper-sexual form of worship dedicated to false gods). He even removes his grandmother from being the queen mother because of her idolitry and cuts her obscene idol into pieces and has it burnt.

The only thing he doesn’t do is remove the alters at the high places.

Application: we are not destined to repeat the sins of our fathers. Each person is responsible for their own relationship with the Lord.

Truth and Lies (1 Kings 13)

1 Kings 13 tells the interesting story of an unnamed prophet. He speaks a prophecy against the false alter that Jereboam has set up. His prophecy is spectacular in that he calls the name of a future king who will as end to the throne some 300 years later.

Jereboam is angry at the prophet and reaches out to cause him harm, but God controls Jereboams hand and the prophet must pray for Jereboam to get the use of his hand back. The king Jereboam then tries a different tactic and tries to persuade the prophet to come over for a meal. The nameless prophet insists he must not stop for food and return home… For this was the command of the LORD.

Note: the message is clear. God’s prophets are not to be swayed… Either by force or by money, the word of the Lord is the word of the Lord.

At this point the story gets interesting as an older prophet enters the scene and persuades the nameless prophet to turn aside and done with him. Obviously he lies to the nameless prophet, but the apparent younger prophet is pursuaded to join the older in a meal (in opposition to the earlier revelation he had from God).

At the meal the older prophet rightly prophesies the death of the nameless prophet and it shortly comes to pass.

Application: the nameless prophetess used by God to utter one of the most spectacular prophecies, yet was easily decieved into not believing what the Lord told him, because of a lie told him by another prophet. How often are we like the nameless prophet? We will believe and know something is true, yet when confronted with our own tender areas of sinfulness we will be quick to make excuses as to why God would allow our particular version of sin.

This man would not be persuaded by a king, but would trust the advice of an old prophet over the Word of God.

Eat your veggies and listen to your elders (1 kings 12)

Chapter 12 opens on Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Rehoboam has inherited a kingdom in disarray evidenced by the fact that he needs to travel to Shechem to be crowned king.

Prior to the unification of the 12 tribes there was great rivalry between the tribe of Ephriam to the north and Judah to the south. Solomon had called on the tribes of the north to do heavy manual labor in the south. With the rise of a new king they wanted assurances that the forced manual labor would not continue.

The fact that the royal court is meeting in shechem and jereboam is called up out of Egypt indicates that the northern tribes are already ready to pull away from the new king. At the moment, the only thing holding the nation of Israel together is the worship of the LORD.

Rehoboam meets with Solomon’s advisors (how smart do you have to be to advise the wisest guy in the world?). He rejects his dads advisors and attempts to play a strong hand against the tribes that are threatening to withdraw.

Point: technically Rehoboam is in the right. He is the rightful king, he has the right to raise taxes and labor. His appointment comes from the LORD. The 10 tribes lead by Ephriam that are threatening to rebell are in the wrong. It’s not that Rehoboam made the wrong decision, he just made an unwise one in a seemingly impossible situation. He would gave done well to follow his fathers advisors, but most likely would have lost the 10 tribes anyway.

Jereboam was promised by the Lord that he would lead the 10 northern tribes if he would rule like David. The problem is he acts completely opposite of David. He Leads Ephriam in rebellion. David submitted to Sauls authority. David consolidated worship for the nation. Jeraboam divided it. Later Jeraboam will come to terms with his rebellion.

Note: this small chapter of scripture changes everything for the nation of Israel. The nation moves from a consoladated state with the largest boarder in it’s history to two smaller states who are not strong enough to defend themselves from their enemies. The worship of the Lord is further poluted as Jeraboam introduces idol worship in the North. Thus will ultimately bring greater consiquences on the North and the South.

Application: Solomon is credited with ruling Israel in it’s prime, however his sin and his quiet rebellion of idolitry lead to the weakened state of the nation. Solomon’s rule adversly affected every king who would rule behind him. Every step we take away from the Lord bot only effects us, but those around us and ultimately our children. What kind of legacy are you building for your children? Solomon was handed an united empire by his father, yet with all his wisdom he passed off a weakened state ready for civil war to his son.

It’s not so much about how you start as it is about how you finish (1 Kings 11)

The first 10 chapters of 1 Kings build an incredible resume for Solomon. However, in chapter 11 things take a turn as Solomon turns after the idols of his many wives. This is in clear violation of the agreement that Solomon has with the LORD.

To get the real tragedy of this it is important to understand a little geography. It is sad that Solomon builds temples to these false gods, it is a tragedy that he builds them overlooking the temple mount (1 Kings 11:7). This temple to a false god would be in plain sight of anyone going to offer sacrificed at the Temple on Jerusalem.

Also note that these false gods were often worshipped in the most terrible fasion including child sacrifices. That is human sacrifices of infant children. That Solomon would even build a temple to these false gods is a rejection of the LORD.

Here Solomon is guilty of many sins, the most important being idol worship. In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, There are certain commands given for the conduct if a king of Israel. You see Israel is not like the other nations. Other nations belong to their kings and the kings flaunt it. Israel belongs to the LORD. It is a God ruled government. As such the king is supposed to live much closer to the people than for himself.

Here we have seen Solomon living much for himself. He has violated the commands of God. He has gone against the law to marry many cannanite women and they have lead his heart astray.

Because Solomon has broken covenant with the Lord, the Lord raises up opposition for Solomon. A troublemaker arrises in the south, another in the north and finally God calls out a man from within Israel to cause problems for Solomon and eventually split the kingdom.

Application: How you start is not nearly important as how you finish. If Solomon the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live can blow it, so can I. He started out great, but lost focus in the end. Are you living in such a way as to finish well? Or are all your greatest days of trusting God behind you?

How far would you go to get the truth? (1 Kings 10)

In 1 Kings 10 we read about how rumors of Solomon’s wisdom have spread all over the known world. The queen of Sheba travels over 1500 miles to verify what she has heard (in a day when travel over 1500 miles took months to accomplish). She first verifies Solomon’s wisdom and then gives credit to the LORD for loving the nation of Israel and blessing them with such a great king.

In the New Testament Jesus gives the queen of Sheba props for traveling to hear Solomon’s wisdom first hand (Matthew 12:42). Sadly he states the reality that he was greater than Solomon yet the Pharisees were demanding a sign from Him. If they only would have seen what was right in front of their eyes.

We live in a day and age where people pride themselves on being Intelligent, but few are actually seeking wisdom. I recently stopped by a blog discussing science and religion. Though I weighed in with some rational arguments early in the comments, I was saddened to see the debate was not at all about truth or wisdom but became focused on namecalling as theist (people who belive in a god) and atheist (people who don’t believe in a god) began insulting one another’s intelligence.

Near the end of the comments section it became apparent that the Truth about the existence or non-existence of God no longer mattered. Nobody was looking for God or wisdom about how we got here. Sadly some of my Christian brothers were blindly throwing scripture out of context and my athestic friends were calling us all dumb and making unresearched and unfounded ideas about the bible based largely on a recent work of fiction. Needless to say the pursuit of truth got lost in the shuffle or was never there to begin with.

On the otherhand I have had people come to me asking genuine questions about some of the same things. Being a skeptic by nature I’ve sought alot of the answers on my own and am always delighted to share. The difference was that one was pursuing truth and the other propigating that they were right in order to win an argument.

Application: how far will you go to get the truth? To gain wisdom? To know God?

How far will you go to live in the grace and knowledge of Jesus? Does your lifestlye provoke others to come to you for the truth?

God keeps His Promises (1 Kings 8)

Wow, a lot happens in 1 Kings 8. Perhaps the most important thing as it pertains to God’s character is that God keeps his promises (1 kings 8:20, 24 – 26, 53, 56). Many of God’s promises are contingent upon our willingness to trust Him and obey. For Israel to receive the promised blessings of God they needed to honor God and keep the covenant.

Just like a good parent gives good rules their children to protect them God established a covenant with Israel that bless them if they kept it. And just like a good parent, when Israel broke the covenant, God would discipline them to keep them from further harm.

Application: God loves us. He keeps His promises. Are you trusting Him?

A Big Big House (1 Kings 7)

In 1 Kings 7 Solomon builds his house. It’s not a small house and it is costly to build. Some commentators view this as the beginning of Solomon’s slide away from God. They assume that Solomon is in violation of Deuteronomy 17:17. Others assume that Solomons expression of wealth is to state that God is a great God and Solomon is a great king. Whatever the reason Solomon prominently displays his wealth at the expense of those who are being taxed and forced into labor.

Another notable theme here is that Solomon builds a rather large living area for his wife, Pharoh’s daughter. Her preferential treatment seems to indicate she was to be considered the Queen or at least demanded a great deal of respect due to her father’s influence.

Apparently something in Solomon’s relationship with Egypt changed after this point. Egypt will harbor a fugative who will cause a civil war in Israel and eventually attack while solomon’s son is reigning.

Application: ok admittedly there isn’t alot to go on here for application… Here is what I came up with 1. what does the way you manage money say about you and your relationship with God? 2. Are you giving your spouse enough space? (ok the second one isn’t really an application… But I couldn’t resist)