Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18th: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38

In our 1 Kings passage we read about Jeroboam's son, Abijah is sick, and Jeroboam wants a little prophetic knowledge concerning him. So Jeroboam has his wife disguise herself and head out to see Ahijah, a prophet who told Jeroboam that one day he would be king.

What is interesting is that Jeroboam knew that Ahijah was able to prophesy.  So wouldn't Ahijah also be able to prophecy that Jeroboam's wife would be coming to him in a disguise?

Well he did know.  He was not fooled, despite his eyesight being poor from old age.  He not only knew but also prophesied that, because of Jeroboam's sin, Abijah would die upon her return......and that's exactly what happened.  He also prophesied that Jeroboam's lineage would be cut off. After 22 years of reigning on the throne in Israel, Jeroboam dies, leaving the throne to another son, Nadab, but he was killed two years later resulting in the extinction of Jeroboam's descendants.

We read that Solomon's son, Rehoboam, isn't doing any better with Judah.  "Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their father had done."  In The Message translation it said "They set new records in sin, surpassing anything their ancestors had done."

Everything that God had gotten rid of when He brought Israel into the land, was now back.  How frustrating that would have been for God!

Rehoboam has a 17-year rocky ride as King.  Being continually at war with Jeroboam added to his losing campaign against the Egyptian king, Shishak who comes in and takes all of Solomon's accumulated wealth from the palace and temple, and then he dies.

Rehoboam's boy, Abijah, takes over after his death, but reigns only 3 years.  According to 1 Kings 15:3 he didn't serve the One True God.  He is compared in a bad way to David in this verse. David is commended for having a "perfect heart" before God here.

No doubt, David would have been a tough king to follow after he had been continually doing what was right in the eye's of the Lord.  But these kings had no intentions of that!

So Abijah's three-year mission as king of Judah was characterized as a Northern/Southern Kingdom of Israel unification period, but it failed. He died after tremendous bloodshed with nothing to show for his efforts.

There's a lesson to be learned here.  The kingdom split because of Solomon's tolerance for paganism. The split of Israel into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms was done by the hand of God. Therefore, restoring the Kingdom of Israel as it was during Solomon's reign could only have been accomplished by King Abijah serving the one true God of Israel. However, he did not have any interest in that; instead, "he walked in all the sins of his father."  Abijah missed the point - the spiritual point. The forced reunification of Israel was not the remedy for a spiritual problem...yet Abijah was not in tune with God and did not see that.

Abijah's boy, Asa, becomes king - a good king - not perfect, but a good king. It's about time. Asa rids the land of the male prostitutes and removes all the idols his father had made. He got rid of most of the high places in the cities of Judah, and his heart was fully committed to the Lord.

Asa had a large army, but it was nothing compared to the Ethiopian army of 1 million that attacks Judah.  God enables Judah to pursue them as they fled back toward Ethiopia and wipe out this massive army. What a miracle and a testimony to the power of God!

But Asa didn't always rely on God for help.  When Baasha, King of Israel builds Ramah right outside Jerusalem for the purpose of interrupting Judah's trade routes He calls the King of Syria (Benhadad) for assistance.  The immediate good news?  It worked.  Baasha did evacuate Ramah and give up the idea of attacking Jerusalem.  The bad news?  God sends a prophet, Hanani, to tell Asa that, because he didn't rely on God like before against the Ethiopians, it'll be war for the rest of his days of his life.

With all the good Asa did before the Lord, his life ends with a lapse of spiritual insight accompanied by bad judgment.

I always think, it's not how you start, it's how you finish.  How true with Asa!

In our NT passage, we read about many miracles that Jesus performed.  Jesus performed them because the people in need had faith in Jesus that He could do it.  Is my faith that strong?

We are called at the end of Matthew chapter 9 to work in the harvest "to the sheep without a shepherd".  Jesus showed compassion for these people who are lost and helpless.  We are to too.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

God knows all, and provided wisdom to Ahijah, the prophet.  Do we try to disguise ourselves to God
as Jeroboam did with his wife?  Are we in tune with God?  Or are we like Abijah?  Having good intentions, but not seeking God.  Do we forget what God has done for us in the past as Asa did, and eventually no relying on God down the road and trying to accomplish things on our own strength?  Are we prepared to work in the harvest and show compassion to the lost?  Is are faith as strong as it should be?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 16-18; Matthew 10:1-20


Nathan Reimer said...

Good points about king Asa. We need to be faithful to God throughout our lives, and be aware of any lapse that may cause us to try to have faith in something else other than God.

Pamela said...

I can't help but sympathize with the Mom of the sick boy. Can you imagine the pain and anguish she must have felt when she was told that her son would die as she arrived home. Did she consider not returning home in hopes her son's life would be spared? Did she regret disguising herself and wonder if she had not if her son would live? Was she over come with grief that she didn't get to say a last goodbye to her son?

How different it would have been for the parents of the girl that Jesus raised up after she had died! What faith they must have had. Were they aware that Jesus could do it or did they just know that it was the only thing they could do? Unlike the disguise of the OT mom, the synagogue leader came fully humbled and bowed before Jesus. What a difference in behaviour and what a difference in outcomes.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Pamela - I was thinking the same thing, feeling sad for the mom and that horrible walk home.

It seems so crazy that all these kings turned away from God, after knowing what would happen if they did compared to what would happen if they followed him. Sin is truly blind.