I Kings 11:1-12:19; Acts 9:1-25;
Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5
The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.
~My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
~My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
I Kings 11:1-12:19
Our reading begins with this ominous explanation, "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women." You might remember from our readings that the Israelites were forbidden from intermarrying with the pagan people who lived in the Promised Land. Solomon did not marry just a few pagan women. He married 700 of them and also slept with another 300 concubines. The man collected women like some people collect baseball cards! I am sorry to say that Solomon set up pagan worship centers for these women to the detestable gods of their home nations. Altars to Ashtoreth (fertility goddess), Chemosh, and Molech sprinkled the hills of the Promised Land. Solomon's wives would burn incense to at these shrines and make sacrifices to them.
It is almost unimaginable when you consider the wealth, prosperity, peace, and comfort that God had given Solomon that he would repay God with this sort of slap in the face. The Bible says that Solomon "loved" many foreign women. May I submit to you that it should say, "Solomon had sex with many foreign women." Sex brought the downfall of this man. He was not thinking straight. Whatever these women wanted they got. I cannot emphasize how despicable the worship of these pagan gods was. It included fornication and child sacrifice. This is a low point for Solomon. God is not mocked. God takes action.
God proclaims that the kingdom will be torn away from Solomon's son. Because of King David, God's faithful servant, God is going to keep one of David's descendants on the throne, but only two tribes will follow David's descendant once this split in the nation of Israel occurs. The other ten tribes will follow another king.
Solomon's actions set off a chain of events that will affect the nation of Israel's history from here on out. His epic fail has consequences on an epic scale.
Do you have generational sin in your family that has affected the family later on? Do you have a weakness in your life that is similar to Solomon's collection of women? God's punishment of Solomon is not balanced by repentance on Solomon's part. Do you have unrepentant sin that you need to acknowledge?
We learn that Jeroboam is the man to whom God chooses to give the kingdom of the ten tribes torn from Solomon. He will head the Northern Kingdom. In verse 39 God declares, "I will punish the descendants of David because of Solomon's sin, though not forever." Please note the phrase "though not forever." God intends to use David's line to bless the world. No person and no person's sin can thwart God's will. The Messiah will come through the line of David.
Solomon dies and his son, Rehoboam, becomes the king. We see that Solomon's offspring adds pride to Solomon's sin of rebellion. Through pride, Rehoboam rejects the advice of the elders to lighten the harsh labor of the people and lower their taxes. He comes up with some beauties of pride including, "My father used whips on you, but I'll use scorpions!" What a gem this guy is!
His obnoxious behavior leads to the split of the tribes. Another epic fail... It should be noted that God is behind all of these events. This is His Story. He is a good storyteller and there is never a dull moment. The twists and turns will continue as we watch good kings and bad kings rule the twelve tribes of His chosen people. Stay tuned.
Are you comfortable with God running the universe? He oversees the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are told that it is all for a good purpose. Do you believe Him?
We learn some very interesting things in this exchange:
- When a believer in Christ is persecuted, Jesus sees it as a persecution against himself.
- Saul is a man who knows his Scriptures, but he does not know God.
- Jesus is in control of Saul's destiny and has a plan for his life.
God has chosen his twelfth disciple to replace Judas Iscariot and it is a roaring lion named Saul. What a great story!! With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Saul begins to preach, immediately. He tells people that Jesus really is the Son of God. His preaching is so powerful and persuasive that Saul very quickly becomes the target of assassination by the Jewish leaders. The hunter has become the hunted. Saul's suffering for God has begun. The changes we see in Saul are a result of the Holy Spirit in his life. One becomes a new creation.
How has the Holy Spirit transformed your life? What differences can you see in your attitudes and perspectives? Have you experienced any persecution or suffering because of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Do you know people who seem to know the Bible, but they don't know God personally? Are you one of those people? God is calling people to draw near to Him while He can be found. Today, God can be found.
This psalm speaks of the attitude of humility that does not assume that one can understand things that are too great for a mere human being to understand. I like this saying, "Yes, like a small child is my soul within me."
"Those who mock the poor insult their Maker." Good point.
What did you see today as you read?