Manna for Today

 

Hard Time for Israel (1 Kings 14)

So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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 14:6-9)

Learn it:

            The LORD has divided Israel hoping that it would save his people from further sinning.  The first king of the northern tribe called Israel was Jeroboam.  He was not obeying the commands of the LORD and let the people worship other Gods.  When his son was sick he remembered that the prophet Ahijah had treated him favorably in the past.  He sent his wife to this prophet of the LORD to see if he would help heal his son.  I’ve you read above the prophet does not give them good news.  The prophet tells them that the LORD is going to bring disaster upon the family of Jeroboam.

            In the second half of this chapter, we read about how thing in Judah are going.  We learn that King Rehoboam is also not a great leader in the LORD.  There is great sin going on in the nation.  Not only are there new shrines to other gods but there are also male shrine prostitutes!  Things are quickly tail spinning for the nation of Judah.  If that weren’t bad enough, we read that Egypt has come and plundered the temple and the royal palace of all their treasures.  Things are looking bleak for the Israelites. 

Live it: 

            This section we are currently working through in 1 Kings is not one many pastors and teachers like to focus on.  We read story after story of kings being disobedient to the word of God and then God judging the nation of Israel.  It’s some tough reading.  While I could lump a few of these chapters together and summarize it, we would miss out on the hopelessness and redemption the author is trying to build.  As we read these stories it should weigh on us the great depravity of how sinful and wicked the people of Israel were, this includes the kings!

            As we feel this heaviness we need to keep our eyes for what God is doing.  How he is still present, active and trying to call his people back to him.  This story is ultimately building up to the New Testament and the life of Christ. Even when it seemed like God had left his people, he was really planning on doing something much bigger to redeem them and bring him back into a relationship with him. 

 

                There are times in our lives, if we are being brutally honest, we are just as wicked as Israel’s.  Yet God is still with us.  He is calling us back into a relationship with Him.  We need to have our ears open to hear him.  What do you need to repent of today and turn back to him?  God is gracious and waiting for people to turn their lives over to him. 


Read more...

Obedience to God’s Word (1 Kings 13)

 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. 5 Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the Lord.

6 Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

7 The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift.”

8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. 9 For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” 10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.  (1 Kings 13:4-9)

Before you read the post I encourage you to read the rest of chapter 13. 

Learn it:

            In the beginning of this chapter, we read about an interaction between King Jeroboam and “the man of God from Judah”.  The man of God brings a warning to the King and he is upset at the news of judgment against him.  When a king stretches out his hand it is a symbol of power and when the LORD shrivels the hand it proves that he is more powerful than any human authority.  We then see the mercy of the LORD by restoring the king’s hand.  Then prophet refuses to go eat with the king because he wanted to remain faithful to the command given to him by the LORD.

            In the second half of the story, we read about how the good prophet is deceived by an old prophet.  The old prophet says he received a word from the LORD telling him to bring him back to eat with him.  Even though the good prophet acted in good faith at the word of another person he ended up being killed because of his disobedience.  This might seem unfair, but it sends a strong point about the importance of obedience to the word of God.  We read about how God judges fairly and does not show favoritism.  Just like God was willing to judge his own good prophets, imagine how he will judge Israel if they continue in their disobedience. 

Live it: 

            In our own lives, we must be obedient to the Word of God and the things he commands us to do.  Even when we seek out counsel from other people, we need to turn back to prayer and studying his Scripture to make sure it is the truth.  We may not know when people are deceiving us whether intentionally or unintentionally.  We are all going to be accountable for ourselves someday before God.  It is a hard truth for us to understand.  While we may have certain people we can trust we should always do our own studies to make sure we understand God’s word.  Even in this devotion that I’m writing, you should read the chapter as well and make sure you come to the same conclusions that I do!

            I humbly pray that God gives me wisdom when I write these and that I lead no one astray.  I am not perfect and hope that these posts get your brains thinking and help you dig a little deeper into the word of God.  


Read more...

The Division of Israel (1 Kings 12)

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”  5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.  (1 Kings 12:1-5)

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.  (1 Kings 12:12-15)

Learn it:

            In chapter 12, we read about the division of the nation of Israel.  Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, is now king and he faces his first problem.  The people are exhausted from the hard-forced labor that his father has put on the people.  Rehoboam seeks advice from some older wise men and from people his own age.  Rehoboam decides to go with the younger voices and doubles down on the amount of work put upon the shoulders of the Israelites.  It is this decision that leads to the split.  The people in the Northern Kingdom called Israel, go and find a new king and that will be Jeroboam.  Rehoboam is given the Southern Kingdom which is called Judah. 

            We learn that Rehoboam is off to a rough start as King.  With the revolt going on he then decides to bring together an army and force the Northern Kingdom to rejoin him.  The LORD sends a prophet to speak to the king and luckily, he listens to his voice!  The chapter ends with a glimpse of Jeroboam beginning his reign as king of the Northern Kingdom.  His first act is to build new places of worship and to make idols for the people to offer sacrifices too.  Needless to say, this is not a good start.  Throughout the rest of 1 Kings, we will read about kings who are obedient to the Mosaic Covenant and those that are not.  A clear majority of kings are those that are not obedient, and because of that Israel suffers.

Live it: 

            Rehoboam as king was getting a lot of advice from different people.  He chose to ignore the wisdom of some wise elders and it led to a big problem for him.  When he received advice from a prophet he listened.  I can only imagine he learned a lesson from the previous circumstances.  Receiving advice from people can be hard to take at times.  It is hard to discern if it is good, bad or neutral!  We need to take seriously all the advice we receive, turn to Scripture and pray that God would give us the wisdom to make a good decision. 

            What decisions are you currently working through?  Have you sought wisdom from other people?  Pray to God to give you clarity on the situation and that you would have a heart that is willing to listen to what others might be telling us.    


Read more...

The End of Solomon’s Reign (1 Kings 11:26-43)

Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.

27 Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces[a] and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. 28 Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph.

29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, 30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.  (1 Kings 11:26-32)

Learn it:

            If we thought God was raising up adversaries from outside Israel was bad enough, we read here about God raising one up from within Solomon’s officials!  This guy God is raising up is Jeroboam.  We learn from the prophet Ahijah that Jeroboam is an upstanding man, who worked hard under Solomon.  Solomon even promotes him to a high position, so he did not worm his way into Solomon’s graces but was an exemplary worker. 

                This is the person that God is going to give a large part of the nation of Israel to when he splits it from Solomon’s son.  God has then made a similar covenant with Jeroboam that he made with King Solomon.  If Jeroboam can remain faithful to God’s commands he will bless him and the nation of Israel!  As we will read through the rest of 1 Kings it is not a smooth journey for Israel.

Live it:

            One humbling thing we can learn from this section is that we are replaceable.  God can use any number of people to fulfill his will.  He gave Solomon a chance to be king, lead the people of God, and bring glory to His name.  Solomon did that well for a season but eventually, his attention drifted away from God.  So, God had to bring someone else in the picture to lead his people.  Even though God was disciplining Solomon, his love for him never ceased.  He still was going to remain faithful to the promises he made and was going to allow the line of David to have some sort of influence over his people. 

            Whenever we are in a position of power and influence we cannot let our pride grow to large.  There is always someone else out there able to do it.  Sadly, in the church, we have heard a lot of pastors abusing their positions and they are being removed.  We need the power of Christ to cleanse us from our sins and shed light on them.  We need to lead in humility and be grateful that God has blessed us with a chance to lead.  What area of your life do you need God to come in and take control of?  


Read more...

Pastor’s Corner