Today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 15:25-17:24; Acts 10:24-48; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 17:9-11
Jeroboam demonstrates his lack of a relationship with God today when he sends his wife, in a disguise, to inquire of Ahijah the prophet (1 Kings 14:2). Evidentially Jeroboam hadn’t spoken with Ahijah in a while because Ahijah can no longer see (1 Kings 14:3). Jeroboam had been living a life apart from God for some time.
But rather than pray or use Ahijah as an intercessor, Jeroboam uses him as a fortune teller. God is always available to us – even to non believers. We do not have to disguise ourselves, or resort to tricks. He is willing to answer our questions. All we have to do is come to him directly.
Jeroboam had received many blessings from God but chose to ignore Him so God pronounced judgement on him and his family (1 Kings 14:7-11). Again, we see that the sins of one man can have an impact on many people for years to come.
Meanwhile, back in Judah Rehoboam is not faring much better (1 Kings 14:22). The people of Judah, lacking godly leadership, had turned to paganism including setting up Asherah poles and using prostitutes (male and female) as part of their worship. Just like God had predicted, the pagan people in the land of Canaan would infiltrate the people of Israel if they were not wiped out. Israel did not wipe them out and as a result they were “conquered” by them, spiritually speaking.
In the same manner believers should not let non-believers have too much influence on us. We are in this world and need to interact with non-believers. But we need to maintain a healthy distance from them spiritually. One way to do that is to make sure we have some solid, godly relationships in our lives.
Its interesting that Rehoboam replaced his gold shields (which were just for show) with bronze ones (1 Kings 14:27). The kingdom had gone from “gold” to “bronze” in just a few years. The fall had been quick and far. When sin infiltrates a society, it snowballs and picks up speed, leading to disaster. This is one reason why I believe the United States is headed for a very bad ending in the near future.
God reminds us that Rehoboam, who was Solomon’s son, was also the son of a foreign woman (1 Kings 14:31). Its as if God is saying “told you so”. God is always right. When he tells us to do something, or not to do something, its best for us to heed his advice. He is only telling us so we can avoid trouble in the future.
The text in 1 Kings, 2 Kings and both Chronicles starts to get a bit confusing from this point on as the records of the various kings in Judah and Israel begin to overlap.
Rehoboam’s son Abijam rules only three years, indicating that his reign was not blessed by God (1 Kings 15:2-3). However Abijam’s son, Asa, did some good things. He got rid of the prostitutes as well as the idols of his ancestors (1 Kings 15:12-13). And although he didn’t completely get rid of all the paganism, his heart was completely faithful to God (1 Kings 15:14), which is really what God is after.
God teaches Peter a lesson in Acts today. God tells a Roman (Gentile) army officer, Cornelius, to send for Peter (Acts 10:3-5). The next day God shows Peter, in a vision, clean and unclean animals together on something like a sheet and orders Peter to eat (Acts 10:11). This went against everything Peter had been taught as a Jew.
The meaning of this vision becomes clear when Cornelius’ messengers arrive. It would have been against Jewish law for Peter to invite these Gentiles into his home and to accompany them back to Cornelius (Acts 10:23).
But things had changed. These Jewish laws were no longer in effect. And just like the unclean and clean animals being together, Peter learned that it was okay for the Jews and Gentiles to be together as well because they all were under the authority of the same God who was now taking His message specifically to the Gentiles.
It is God’s plan for brothers (and sisters) in Christ to live in harmony (Psalm 133:1-3). Sadly, we don’t always do this as our human nature gets in the way. But if we did, how wonderful and refreshing it would be.
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