When I was younger, I would read the Bible and not understand it. I didn’t study it or discuss with anyone what the parables and passages meant. But now that I’m older and wiser (I hope), I realize the wisdom in studying with a group and in a pastor that can bring the message to life in a way that makes me be able to relate and want to know more.
In today’s message, we find ourselves in 1 Kings 13 and 14. If you missed last week’s blog post you can get caught up by going here to read it or watch the sermon here.
We will build upon the foundations laid before us.
We tend to follow in the footsteps of those in our families that came before us. Even though God has clearly given the command to serve only him and to have no other gods before him, we continually see the royalty of the day fall into this same pattern. They begin by following God, but stumble into worshiping pagan gods somewhere along the way.
We have two kings in Israel. Jeroboam was one of Solomon’s officials and Rehoboam was his son. God had promised David that as long as his family served God, they would remain on the throne, so Rehoboam was allowed to remain the King of Judah. But God had told Jeroboam that he would be King of Israel. (For more context, read Kings 10-13)
Jeroboam’s son was sick. He’d already angered God by appointing priests for the high places to all sorts of people. There was nothing Biblical about it. If someone wanted to be a priest, he consecrated them. Jeroboam just wanted to keep the people happy.
But when Jeroboam’s son became sick, he knew that this was important and he had to go to the one true God for answers. But he’d already burnt some bridges. So he sent his wife to see the prophet Ahijah, but he told her to disguise herself so he wouldn’t recognize her. But Ahijah had become blind, even so, he was a prophet. Not sure how Jeroboam thought he wouldn’t know who she was, but God was sending him to deliver bad news anyway and he called to her before the door was even opened.
If Jeroboam were a true man of God, wouldn’t he have told his wife to pray to God for the healing of his son. Or even for her to ask the prophet to pray. Instead he chose to use Ahijah like a fortuneteller to tell him what lie ahead. Nothing good can come from thinking that a knowledge of God is greater than a relationship with God.
Is this where we are as a nation and a church right now? We’d rather hear our fortune than to be made aware of our faults.
The message that Ahijah had for Jeroboam from God was this. “Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.” 1 Kings 14:7-9
Saul was a bad man and a bad king. Solomon a good king but a bad man. Though both men were bad, Jeroboam was far worse. King David sinned, but God compared Jeroboam unfavorably to David. Why? Because David strayed from God and repented. Jeroboam played God like a prop. He turned his back on God and had contempt for God.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”Ezekiel 23:35
Rehoboam was the king in Jerusalem for 17 years. But in the first 5 years he had already gone through most of the wealth his father, Solomon left him. Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and carried off the treasures of the temple and the treasures of the palace.
When we look at the kings that ruled in Israel, we see some leaders who did a poor job of leading God’s people. Solomon’s downfall was the 700 wives and 300 concubines that he married from all over the region representing many of the people that God had driven out of the Promised Land before the Israelites came into it. He did that and warned them not to marry outsiders because he knew it would lead them to worship other gods.
Our God is a jealous god and we should put no other before him. What god are you serving? Do you see a comparison here? Two kings for Israel: two political parties for US.
We can’t fool God. He can see right through our disguises. So we must be perfectly honest with him. Our only relationship should be with God.
The reason we’re in the shape we’re in, it’s our fault. But, we don’t want to see that we haven’t been faithful. We don’t want to be corrected.
Even with all of this, God never gives up on us. There is always an invitation for reconciliation.
God turns his back on our sins. They were forgiven.
We are not our past. He holds our future.
When today’s podcast becomes available, I will put a link here.