Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14: 1 Kings 12:20 – 13; Psalm 132; Proverbs 17:6; Acts 9:26-43


            1 Kings: Jeroboam was made king over all Israel but Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem and assembled Judah and Benjamin to battle Israel. The Lord sent Shemaiah to tell Rehoboam not to fight because this was the Lord’s doing. They listened and didn’t go to war.
            Jeroboam was concerned that the people of Israel would continue to go to the temple in Jerusalem and they would turn back to Jeroboam. So he set up a golden calf in Bethel and one in Dan. He told the Israelites they had gone to Jerusalem long enough and these calves were the gods that brought them out of Egypt. He also made temples in the high places and appointed priest who were not Levites. He set up feast at the same time as feasts in Jerusalem. So, he made the people sin.
            A man of God went from Judah to Bethel and prophesied that one of David’s descendants, Josiah, would come and defile Jeroboam’s altar. The altar would split to show this would come true. Jeroboam pointed to the man and wanted him seized but his had dried up and the altar split. So, he asked the man of God to pray he would be healed and he did. Jeroboam wanted him to dine with him but the man of God told Jeroboam the Lord told him not to eat or drink until he returned to Judah.
            An old prophet living in Bethel heard about it so he found the man of God and lied saying the Lord told him go bring the man of God to his home and eat with him. While they were eating, the old prophet spoke by the Lord and told the man of God he would die and not be buried with his fathers. On the way home, a lion killed the man of God but not his donkey. The old prophet found the body, donkey, and lion. He took the body and buried him in his own grave. He told his sons to put him next to the man of God when he died.
            Even after this, Jeroboam didn’t repent from his evil ways. This sin would eventually blot out his descendants from the face of the earth.
            Psalm: The Psalmist prays to the Lord to remember David’s devotion to have a house build for the Lord. All Israel knew of his passion to do this, and it encouraged them to go and worship the Lord at his dwelling place.
            He asks the Lord to rest or dwell with the Ark and make the priest righteous, shouting for joy. He asks the Lord to fulfill the promise to have one of David’s sons on the throne as long as they keep his commands.
            Zion is where the Lord has chosen his dwelling and he has said he will dwell there forever. He will bless the place and people with provision and salvation. David’s descendants will reign and his enemies will be shamed.
            Proverbs: Grandparents are really into their grandkids and kids look up to their fathers.
            Acts: Eventually, Saul went back to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples but they were afraid of him. Barnabas interceded so he was accepted. Saul’s bold preaching in Jerusalem brought death threats so they shipped him off to Tarsus. Then the church had peace and was built up.
            Peter went to Lydda, healed a man who had been bedridden for eight years. The people of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord. In Joppa, which was near Lydda, Peter brought back to life Tabitha. Many believed in the Lord there. Peter stated with Simon the tanner in Joppa.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “And he said to him, ‘I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.”’ But he lied to him” (1 Kings 13:18 NASB).
            Psalm: “Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy” (Ps 132:16).
            Proverbs: “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers” (Prov 17:6).
            Acts: “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied (Acts 9:31).


            1 Kings: Jeroboam had no trust in the Lord though it was the Lord who promised him he would be king over ten tribes of Israel. Even after it came about and the Lord prevented Rehoboam from trying to regain the ten tribes, Jeroboam feared for his future. He carefully calculated and carried out a plan to keep the Israelites from going to Judah by setting up a falsified copy of Judaism. Of course, it was a sin that involved idolatry and false priest. It goes to show how far we will go to get what we want when we don’t trust the Lord.
            The incident with the old prophet of Bethel and the man of God from Judah is harder to understand. Why this old man would do what he did simply doesn’t make sense. If he was really a prophet, why did he lie to the man of God? Jeroboam acted out of fear but what purpose did it serve the old man to lie, knowing it would cost the man of God his life? I think it could have been envy. Here is a prophet who was living in the same city as the altar and golden calf that Jeroboam had established. God didn’t call on him to rebuke Jeroboam or prophecy the future defiling of the altar. Instead, he brought in this outsider from Judah. Maybe, he wanted to show this younger man who was the greater prophet.
            Then there is the younger man of God. He sinned as well. He didn’t follow though in his obedience to the Lord. Everything had gone exactly as the Lord had instructed him. Then this old prophet brings him word that was opposite of what he had already been told. This is too easy for each of us to do. We look up to those who are older and more experienced. If they tell us this is what the Bible says, we believe them without really checking out what it says or means. The younger man was gullible and too many of us are gullible as well. The cure for this is to know our Bibles and verify what others say.
            Psalm: The temple at Jerusalem was a central point for worship during the reign of Solomon. It was what David wanted but only partially achieved because the Ark was there, but the altar and sacrifices were still performed elsewhere. All the activities of sacrifices pointed to the eventual sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Salvation now only comes through Jesus, our high priest. For this, God’s holy ones, his saints, us, shout for joy. Salvation isn’t only for the people of Jerusalem, Judah, or Israel, but for the whole world of those who put their trust in Jesus.
            Proverbs: Having grandkids is a special treat to grandparents. They normally don’t have be the disciplinarians so they can enjoy them and turn them back to the parents and relax. While parents may also enjoy their children, there are a lot more responsibilities in training, feeding, and clothing them. Discerning children respect their parents for this.
            Acts: I can see why the disciples didn’t want to meet with Saul when he came back. His persecution of the Way was intense. It would have been easy for him to pretend to be a believer only to get information on the location and activities of the church. They didn’t wat to be naïve in the same way as the man of God from Judah. He believed the old prophet and it cost him his life.
            Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a person has really repented and changed his life. It may be wise to watch and make sure that the person is indeed walking in a new way before accepting him. On the other hand, we need to encourage and help new believers grow in Christ. This takes discernment. Part of that is listening to the person’s testimony and then seeing what they are doing after conversion. In Saul’s case, it took Barnabas, who apparently learned of Paul’s Damascus road conversion to relay that information to the apostles.
            Just because a person is now a believer, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve learned how to interact with other in the best ways. Saul went head to head with his opponents and they quickly wanted to kill him. I’m not saying Saul was this way, but I’ve seen some new Christians that are enthusiastic about their faith, but don’t have gentleness and love in their witness. They can be abrasive when then don’t need to be. Acts 9:31 describes the peace and growth of the church after Saul was sent to Tarsus. What does that say about Saul?


             We all need to be discerning, especially when someone brings a new teaching to our ears. We must check it out against the Bible. We also need to be discerning when to confront and when to gently witness to others. We don’t save but Jesus does so we don’t have to be so eager to share the gospel that we do it in a harmful way.

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