Today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 2-3:2; Acts 5:1-42; Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 16:25
Before he dies David gives instructions to his son, Solomon, who will be the next king of Israel. Despite his flaws, David was a strong man of God. Yet he realized that he was just like everyone else – we all die and there was nothing David could do about it (1 Kings 2).
David encourages Solomon to be courageous and obedient to God (2 Kings 2:2-4) because if he does God will keep His promise to ensure one his descendants on the throne (1 Kings 2:4). This simple advice is true today. We will receive more of God’s blessing in our life the more we walk with Him.
David also suggests to Solomon that he (Solomon) rid Israel of men who betrayed David and who might, therefore, cause problems for Solomon (2 Kings 2:4-9). David had promised not to kill Shimei. But he never promised that the next king wouldn’t.
David died and rested with his fathers (2 Kings 10). Death is a rest we all wake up from. It is not permanent. Every one of us will be resurrected to either heaven or hell. We have no reason to fear death. We only have reason to fear where we will be after death. If a person is born-again and his/her sins have been forgiven, that person will go to heaven. Otherwise, that person goes to hell.
Solomon follows up on David’s advice and eliminates Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei (2 Kings 2:24-46). This put the kingdom securely in his control (2 Kings 2: 46). Here we see some of Solomon’s wisdom.
Despite being wise, Solomon will make some very bad mistakes. The first of these is he marries an Egyptian (2 Kings 3:1). Solomon’s many foreign wives will draw him away from God.
In Acts 5 we read the sad story of Ananias and Sapphira who sold some property and told everyone they gave 100% of the proceeds to the Lord when really they gave less than that.
The property they sold was their to do with as they wished (Acts 5:4). They didn’t have to give any of the proceeds to the Lord. But they should not have lied about it. Their sin was lusting after glory for themselves instead of wanting to bring glory to God.
Ananias and Sapphira die immediately upon being confronted by Peter (Acts 5:5, 10). This may seem sudden but God needed to keep sin out of the church which was very young and impressionable at this time. So He removed two sinners from it. This also taught the remaining church members a lesson (Acts 5:11).
If it suits His purpose God will take someone’s life. We saw God demand Israel kill all the inhabitants of Canaan in the Old Testament for essentially the same reason – a young, growing Israel could not have survived if it was infiltrated by people sinning as badly as the Canaanites. Sometimes God will end someone’s life for the sake of preserving the life of someone else. Non believers may not understand this and may even think it is mean of God to work this way. But our life on this earth is not nearly as important as our next life. And God is focused on getting people to heaven. He is not focused on having us live long lives on this earth.
The apostles go on and perform many miraculous signs in public. This leads to people being saved through faith (Acts 5:12-14). But, just like with Jesus, the leading religious men were jealous because the people were following the apostles instead of them (Acts 5:17). Here we see people getting healed, yet the religious leaders were not happy because they were losing their following. It is always selfish interest that lead people to persecute others.
Notice how the religious leaders feared men (Acts 5:26) but did not fear God. They may have had the outward appearance of being right with God, but they were far from it. The same is true today. People who make a show out of being “religious” are usually anything but.
Just the opposite of these leaders, Peter declares that the apostles fear God more than men (Acts 5:29), which would include their accusers This is how it should be. We are to respect and obey authority. But when authority conflicts with God, we are to obey God.
The words of Gamaliel, a Pharisee, are interesting (Acts 5:34-39). He suggests waiting to see if the apostles are really from God or not. What more evidence did they need? Here we see an example of a common way of thinking – ignore evidence that goes against what you already believe in hopes of stumbling across something later that does prove it.
He also says that time will tell if the men were from God. I’d say that since the Bible and Christianity have survived endless persecution for 2,013 years that it is definitely from God.
The apostles are sent away with a beating and an order never to speak the name of Jesus again (Acts 5:40), which they ignore (Acts 5:42). The continue to speak the message of Jesus because that is how people get saved. Here we see an example of when we should not obey human authority. President Obama recently made it illegal for members of the military to mention Jesus. This order should not be obeyed.
God surrounds His people just like mountains surround Jerusalem (Psalms 125:2). He is our protection. He is our security.
The natural human mind does not know what is best for it. What we think is good is not. It only leads to spiritual death (hell) as we read in Proverbs 16:25. All the decisions we have made in recent decades – abortion, pornography, homosexuality, same-sex marriage – seem like “progress” to those who fight for them. But the truth is these things only lead people to hell.
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