I Kings 12:20-13:34; Acts 9:26-43;
Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 17:6
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
The division of Israel is a direct result of Solomon's sin of idolatry. Although this was all prophesied by God to the patriarchs, history must unfold and God's hand must be seen throughout the story of humanity. Solomon had asked God for wisdom to govern wisely. God had granted him that wisdom, but we see now that this wisdom was not spiritual wisdom. When we get to the book of Ecclesiastes we will get insight into Solomon's tortured obsession with excess. We will see that he had spiritual issues. Who among us has not had issues? Unfortunately, Solomon was in a very powerful position that affected many lives. His sin resulted in the division of a nation.
We are now in the time period of the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel. I used to tell my kids that this was the "good king-bad king" part of Scripture. This can be confusing as you read the Bible. Many unpronounceable names will be thrown out there. Keep this in mind, ALL of the Northern Kingdom kings are bad kings. Of the twenty Southern Kingdom kings, only eight are good kings. I guess I could have told my children that we were in the "Bad King" section of Scripture.
Rehoboam is Solomon's son. He is the king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He has only two tribes following him. They are the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. One benefit that Rehoboam has is that he stays in the capital city of Jerusalem and has the Temple of Solomon for worship.
God uses a man of God to prophesy to Jeroboam that one day a good king named Josiah, from the dynasty of David, will tear down the altars of Jeroboam and burn the bones of the false priests on the altars before they are destroyed. As a sign that this would occur in the future, God has the altar split apart and has the ashes of the sacrifices pour out onto the ground. Good King Josiah will not be born for 300 more years. God just wants to confirm that He is in control of the story. These events take place as part of God's will to reveal Himself to His creation.
Jeroboam attempts to kill this man of God, but the Lord paralyzes his hand as he reaches for the man. After praying for the king, God restores Jeroboam's hand. God uses other signs to reveal His power to Jeroboam, but Jeroboam never turns to God. This will result in the destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the death of Jeroboam's family.
Do you think that the good and bad leaders of our nation can impact God's judgment upon our nation? Do you feel there are consequences for national behaviors like abortion, drug use, materialism, and immorality? What do you think this lesson in Scripture is telling us about the relationship of God to the nations? What about your personal life? Do you have any golden calves that you put ahead of God? Do you rely on your money to save you in life? Where do you put your trust?
Can you imagine trying to befriend a group of people you had spent time and effort to kill? This is the predicament of Saul as he goes back to Jerusalem as a new creature in Christ. Barnabas is key in acting as an ambassador for Saul to the apostles. With bold preaching and lively debate, Saul gains friends in the community of believers and enemies in the community of unbelievers. He is eventually sent out of Jerusalem for safety.
The Church experiences a short time of peace as it grows in strength and numbers. The believers are walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
Lesson: Use your unique gifts to glorify God. Don't try to be someone else. Who you are authentically is what glorifies your Creator. God wants to use you just as you are, where you are.
Please note that Peter, the apostles, and Saul, the twelfth apostle who is eventually called Paul, all have the sign gifts. As Scripture becomes complete and the letters of Paul and the book of Revelation by John are finished, these sign gifts disappear. God can do miracles at any time, but these gifts were unique to the Apostles and were designed to authenticate the message of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.
Do you use your gifts like cooking, sewing, teaching sports, coaching, etc. to help others in the community of believers? God sees your daily work and help of others as a special thing. It is His purpose for you that you contribute to His Story. You are important in the whole scheme of things. Please do not forget this.
To be yourself is to glorify God.
This is a song designed to have God remember His promises to David about the kingdom and Jerusalem. What promises do you need to sing back to God today?
"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged." Wonder when I will be a grandma...
What did you see today? Please share.