Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13: 1 Kings 11– 12:19; Psalm 131; Proverbs 17:4-5; Acts 9:1-25



Overview

            1 Kings: Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Many came from nations which God had forbidden Israelites to marry because they would turn their hearts away from the Lord. That’s what happened to Solomon when he became old. He worshiped their gods and made places of worship for them in the mountains.
            Because of Solomon’s sin, the Lord brought enemies against Solomon. Hadad the Edomite escaped from David and Joab to Egypt as a young boy. Pharaoh liked him and he married the queen’s sister. When David died, he went back to Edom. Rezon became king in Damascas and hounded Solomon as did Hadad.
            Jeroboam was a servant of Solomon and rebelled. He had charge over some of Solomon’s forced labor. Ahijah the prophet tore a new garment into twelve pieces and gave ten to Jeroboam. He told Jeroboam that God would take ten tribes from Israel and give them to Jeroboam because of Solomon’s idolatry. He also told Jeroboam that if he followed the Lord, God would make his house like David’s. Solomon then tried to kill Jeroboam but he fled to Egypt.
            Solomon reigned for forty years and died. His son Rehoboam took over. Jeroboam returned from Egypt and came to Shechem with all Israel to make him king. They asked Rehoboam to lighten the load Solomon had put on the country and they would serve him. Rehoboam conferred with the old men who had counseled Solomon. They advised him to do as the people asked and they would serve him forever. Rehoboam also conferred with his young friends and they advised him to tell the people he would make their burden heavier.
            Rehoboam answered the people harshly because it was to bring about what Ahijah had said to Jeroboam. The people rebelled except for Judah. Rehoboam tried to have his taskmaster go to them but they stoned him. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem. Then Israel made Jeroboam king while Judah followed Rehoboam.
            Psalm: We should not be proud and ambitions for things that are greater than what we should have. We shouldn’t be pushing to gain those things. Rather, we should have a calm and quiet soul like a weaned child with his mother. This is the hope that Israel should have.
            Proverbs: Evil people listen to other wicked people and liars believe liars. Don’t mock the poor because it insults God, who made them. Don’t be glad that calamity comes on other because the Lord will punish that.
            Acts: Saul wants to imprison or murder Christians so he got letters to the synagogues at Damascus authorizing him to take member of the Way to Jerusalem. On the way to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul in a blinding light and informed Saul that he was persecuting him. He also told him to go into the city and he would be told what to do. When Jesus was gone, Paul was blind. His traveling companions heard the voice but didn’t see anyone.
            The Lord told Ananias to go to Saul and pray for him to regain his sight. Ananias had heard of Saul and didn’t think that was a good idea. The Lord insisted because Saul was his chosen instrument to carry the name of Jesus to the Gentiles, kings, and Israel. Ananias obeyed, Saul could see, and was baptized.
            Saul immediately started to preach Jesus as the Son of God. People were amazed because they knew he had come to imprison Christians. Saul was able to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. So, the Jews tried to kill him. When he heard, the disciples lowered him from the city wall in a basket because the Jews were watching the gate.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done” (1 Kings 11:6).
            Psalm: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Ps 131:1).
            Proverbs: “An evildoer listens to wicked lips … he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (Prov 17:4-5).
            Acts: “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

Insight

            1 Kings: Solomon’s spiritual downfall started with horses, gold, and silver. Because these sins weakened his resolve to follow God’s commands, he was then susceptible to the more grievous sin of marrying women who worshiped other gods. This wasn’t a prohibition about interracial marriages, but was specific to those who had opposed Israel and worshiped some of the most heinous gods. Chemosh and Molech were known for requiring human sacrifices, the children of the worshiper. Because of the seriousness of the sin, according to God’s promise, Solomon’s descendants would never reign over all Israel again. Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage through Joseph, his adopted father, Solomon is included (Matt 1:6-16). But his physical lineage was through Mary and Solomon is not mentioned (Luke 3:24-31).
            When God makes a conditional promise of blessings and curses and the recipient fails to fulfill the condition for the promise or does what brings the curse, God is faithful to his promise. When we sin, we lose our fellowship with the Lord (Isa 59:2) and when we confess our sin God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We may not see the consequences of those sins, as with Solomon, but unrepentant sin opens the door for more sin. That is why Paul warns us not to sin by holding on to our anger. It only opens the door for Satan to make things worse (Eph 4:26-27).
            Psalm: It’s one thing to work toward godly goals and it is another to ignore God and strive for goals that God opposes. David was promised much in his life but when he was told that building a temple for the Lord was not going to happen, he accepted that. Not only did he accept it, but he was amazed and overwhelmed by God’s blessings for the future. Let’s face it, not all of us are going to be president of the United States, a world-renowned Bible scholar, or Super Bowl winning quarterback. Most of us will never be the CEO of a fortune 500 company. God simply hasn’t called most of us to those things. When we set our hearts on things too grand for what God’s plan is, we will never have a calm soul. We can be calm and peaceful when we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matt 6:33).
            Proverbs: I can’t help but think of our political climate in the U.S. when I read this. Fake news is from wicked lips and it comes from both sides. It is presented only to make their opponents fail and become humiliated. One side wants disaster to fall on the other and will rejoice when it happens. The Lord says he will punish those who are glad at another’s downfall.
            Rather than letting ourselves be drawn into this, we simply need to pray for all involved. We should have souls that are at peace instead of stirred up by the strife.
            Acts: Saul became the greatest evangelist know to the world. He wrote more books of the Bible than any other person. He was instrumental in the initial spread of the gospel to Gentiles on two continents. This wasn’t his goal in life, but when God called him, his life goals changed. I’m not going to tell you that we should be doing the same. That is for motivational speakers who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bible. Acts 9:15 says Saul was God’s chosen instrument for a very specific purpose. When we tell people they can be like Saul or Moses, we are not telling them the truth. God chose those two men. He chose David and still limited what David could do. What you and I need to do is discern God’s calling on our lives, not impose the Spirit inspired lives of other believers on ours.
            We can still be sold out completely for the Lord and not accomplish what Saul did. It is only because it is the Lord who directs our paths. We may make plans but they don’t happen unless the Lord is behind it. I went to a memorial today and discovered that a baker singing hymns while baking cakes can be instrumental in bring a co-worker to Christ. That sounds like a person who live out God’s calling on her life and became a baker in a secular store.

Application

             It is important to be obedient to what God has told us to do in a general sense like witnessing. It is also important to try to discern God’s specific calling on our lives. It may surprise us to find out it is doing exactly what we are doing at this moment.

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