Today’s Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Romans 8:9-25; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26
Solomon obviously knew that his Egyptian wife was not the woman he should have married (2 Chronicles 8:11). He perhaps married her for political purposes – to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt. While this seemed wise, it would turn out to cause him tremendous problems. How often does something seem like the right thing to do at the time only to turn out to be a big mistake? Before acting we should consult God through His word, through prayer, and by seeking the counsel of godly people.
When the Queen of Sheba comes to visit King Solomon she is overwhelmed by the riches in Israel. Notice, too, that she was impressed with the organization of Solomon’s officials (2 Chronicles 9:4). As we’ve seen numerous times thus far this year, God is a god of organization and order.
These riches as well as the organization of Israel made such an impression on the Queen that she offers praise to God (2 Chronicles 9:8). This was exactly how God intended to use Israel. His plan was to bless them with so much that other people would be so blown away that they would believe in Him too. But this was all dependent on Israel. If Israel obeyed God their blessing would continue. If they disobeyed God would remove His blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1, 10).
At this point Israel was obviously still obeying God. But as we know this did not last much longer. By the end of Solomon’s reign Israel is a disobedient mess.
Notice that Solomon reigned all the way from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates River (2 Chronicles 9:26). But his influence was even more than that as kings from all over sought his advice and paid him tribute annually (2 Chronicles 9:23-24). Clearly God had kept His promises to Solomon. But Solomon backslid horribly as we read in 1 Kings several weeks ago.
One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln and goes: ““Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Today we see Solomon’s son Rehoboam character fail after he assumes power upon Solomon’s death.
Rather than heed the advice of seasoned men, Rehoboam followed the advice of his young and inexperienced peers (2 Chronicles 10:6-14) which led to the split of the nation into two separate kingdoms. Notice that Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders before consulting with the younger men. Obviously Rehoboam simply wanted to find someone who agreed with his own opinions as a means of justifying what he believed. Non-believers do the same thing today. They feel justified concluding that there is no God because some other people think the same thing. But that is the blind leading the blind, to borrow a Biblical phrase (Matthew 15:14).
There is one indelible feature that identifies a Christian: the Holy Spirit living inside of them (Romans 8:9-11). I can’t explain it, but the night I was saved in June 1992 I felt completely different. There was a new presence inside me that I didn’t understand but which was very obvious. I knew nothing about the Holy Spirit that night. But I soon learned that this is what had happened to me – God took up permanent residence in my body.
In John 1:12 we learned that not all people are children of God. In fact, no one is born a child of God. We are all born separated from God but can be adopted into His family by being born-again. Here in Romans 9:14 we see confirmation of that. Only those people who have the Holy Spirit are God’s children.
Our adoption into God’s family is complete when the Holy Spirit enters us. At that point God is our father and we can even call Him “Daddy” (Romans 9:15), which I often do. God is not a distant “father”. He is our dad. There is a big difference between the two.
Children are their parent’s heirs. Likewise, we who are born-again and are God’s children are, along with Christ, His heirs (Romans 8:17). We will share God’s glory someday. But before that we will suffer just like Christ. Unlike some who preach a prosperity gospel, God makes it clear: its a package deal. Life will be tough now. But it will all be worth it (Romans 9:18-23).
Yesterday in Psalm 18 we saw how God comes to the aid of His children who are in trouble. The Psalm continues today with more imagery of how God fights for us. When we are too weak for our enemies, (notice how they attack when we are vulnerable), God supports us (Psalm 18:17-18). He rescues us because He likes us (Psalm 18:19). What a concept! God, who created everything, likes me. He likes you. If you ever feel unwanted, unliked, or unloved just remember this verse.
Notice that God takes care of us in the most perfect way. He makes us surefooted (Psalm 18:33). He trains us and strengthens us (Psalm 18:34). He makes a wide and easy path (not a narrow, difficult one) so that we don’t stumble (Psalm 1836). God is continually looking out for us.
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