1 Kings 12-14
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2012-14&version=NLT;AMP
Today I’ve given you two versions to look at. There is a LOT going on in these three chapters. It is critical to try to grasp who is who because ONE of these characters is from the line of Judah….where the Messiah comes from, and the other is not. IMPORTANT!! HINT—the line of Judah will survive!!!
Catch up information:
- When we last read in 1 Kings 11.Solomon had died. But there are a few things I want to be sure you remember that impact today’s reading from Chapter 11. Here is the recap:
- Jeroboam (whom I will refer to as “J”) was a servant but a mighty man of courage, Solomon noticed and made him IN CHARGE OVER ALL the forced labor.
- J was the son of Nebat, an Ephriamite (remember Ephriam was one of the sons of Joseph, the other was Manasseh, both Ephriam and Manasseh became tribal leaders back in Joseph’s day when Jacob/Israel gave Joseph a double portion.)
- God sent Ahijah to J to tell him he would become leader of 10 tribes of Israel. GOD was going to tear down the KINGDOM from the hand of Solomon…AFTER Solomon’s death (for the sake of David.)
- SO, J ALREADY KNOWS he will become a leader over 10 of the tribes after Solomon’s death. God told J that he would not get all 12 tribes, again for David’s and Jerusalem’s sake.
- WHY did God set this up for J…NOT a son of Solomon of the tribe of Judah, but a descendant of Ephriam of the tribe of the Ephraimites? It was ALL because Solomon and Israel had forsaken HIM and worshiped the goddess Ashtoreth (remember she resembled in some statues what appeared to be an angel and in other statues she appeared as a very large busted woman ….she was the goddess of fertility.) Plus they worshiped the god Chemosh, Moleck (who looked like a bull with a hole in his stomach for children to be sacrificed to him), and any other gods from the traditions of Solomon’s wives. A few of these were gods of the Ammonites and Moabites (remember that Lot’s two daughters got him drunk on two separate nights and each became pregnant with sons from the incest….yep… it’s coming back to you now… I know…. ICK!! ). They were also gods of the other pagan nations that surrounded them… nations that GOD had warned them to destroy or they would lead to Israel’s downfall (and we will begin to watch that happen today.) The Israelites saw Solomon building these statues/idols…..so they began worshiping these other gods too!! NOT GOOD!!!
- God was setting people up to go against Solomon because he did not do what was right in the sight of God….keeping HIS statutes and ordinances as David had done. Solomon’s behavior opened the flood gates for the people of Israel to worship these gods as well!! (God was NOT happy.) Their poor CHOICES of not remaining faithful to God as HE instructed them on MANY occasions…..leds to SEVERE CONSEQUENCES.
- WHY did God not promise to give all 12 tribes to J ???……. because the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah and for David’s sake. 1 Kings 11:36 said: “Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David My servant may always have a LIGHT before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My Name. (AND.. WHO is KNOWN as the LIGHT OF THE WORLD?? AND WHERE did JESUS come from???)
- SO … who would rule over the remaining TWO tribes? Rehoboam (whom I will refer to as “R”) was Solomon’s son who would inherit the throne after Solomon. However God was going to TAKE the 10 tribes away from R (ALL except Judah and Benjamin) because of Solomon’s disobedience.
- Were there conditions from God on J’s rule? ABSOLUTELY and I bet you already KNOW those conditions. The conditions are listed in verse 11:38-39 “And IF YOU will hearken to ALL I command you and will WALK in My ways and DO right in My sight, KEEPING My statutes and My commandments, as David My servant did, (THEN) I will be with you and build you a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you.
- And I will for this AFFLICT the descendants of David, BUT NOT FOREVER!!!!”
- Solomon heard of this and tried to kill J, so J fled to Egypt.
- The story of our HISTORY is CRITICAL in these chapters about R & J. When you read about R (as poor as he choices may be…. think of REIGN.) R was the REIGNING KING from the tribe of JUDAH and of course JESUS will come from the REIGNING King’s lineage.
- Although God made arrangements for J to rule over 10 tribes, it is easy to remember that J stands for JERK (ummmm… he had been WARNED by God to FOLLOW God…but WHAT did he do?????) J built golden CALVES which were and are pagan symbol to be worshipped. They represent strength and fertility. J also appointed priests (NOT LEVITES) and made altars (not to God) to worship the CALVES in the “High Places” (High Places=places outside of the Temple….not approved by God and usually where idols were worshiped.)
- Shechem was the capital the last time they divided. Since then, the Lord has appointed Jerusalem as the ONLY place for the Israelites to make pilgrimages to three times per year. The TEMPLE in Jerusalem was the ONLY place to make Sacrifices and the ONLY place to Worship the Lord. AND remember that ALL the Priests were to come from the line of the Levites!!!
- If you want to dig a little deeper….. read 1 Samuel 8:11-18 to read Samuel’s prophecy about to come true.
- It is God’s way to consult with Elders, not young people we employ, or even grew up with. We will see how R’s refusing to listen to the elders will get him in a whole heap of trouble!!
- Remember that the tribes did not divide suddenly. Although the Kingdom was united under Joshua’s leadership, David’s leadership, and Solomon’s wisdom…Both Joshua and David had to work hard to build the unity with the help and guidance of God. Solomon had peace because because of the wisdom God blessed him with AND…..God protected him and his Kingdom. However, jealousy among the tribes actually started in Genesis when Ephraim and Manasseh , Joseph’s sons, were blessed by Jacob/Isaac as if they were of the original brothers. Ephraim was blessed with the leadership role in Genesis. And LOOK at all who came from the tribe of Ephraim…… Joshua was from the Ephraim tribe….. Samuel, Israel’s greatest Judge and prophet came from Ephraim…. and the tribe of Ephraim even allied with enemies to revolt against David. David was from Judah, the largest and most powerful tribe. David became King over all (probably NOT making the Ephraimites Happy Campers) and now Judah (Solomon) was heavily working and taxing the Ephraimites.
Hopefully with the above recap and a little of today’s reading explained the chapters for today will make a little more sense. So here goes!!
Chapter 12 — Solomon’s son, “R” is the reigning king. The people come to him asking him to “PLEASE ease up on us….your Daddy put REALLY hard work and heavy taxed on us to build the Temple. So, now that the Temple is done can you lighten up on our work load and our taxes?” (GEEZE…. I honestly think I read something like this in today’s newspaper!!) R ASKS the elders for advice, the elders tell him to go along with the people and he will be seen as the best ruler ever and the people would remain loyal to him. I don’t know WHERE that young man’s head was…..but did he listen???….. NO WAY!! He goes and asks the young men he has grown up with what they think. So his friends tell him …. “yo dude… don’t let these people push you around… you are “da man, da KING.” You need to crack the whip on their buttocks….require MORE than your Daddy did…..”be da MAN dude!!!” NOW comes the SAD part…. R goes back to his people and tells them… “sooooo you think my Dad’s work ethic and taxation were hard… WELL… you ain’t seen nuttin yet!!! I WILL REQUIRE MORE!!” If R would have been Italian he probably would have said “Capeesh!!” at the end of his statement.
This went over like a lead balloon. ENTER>>>> J who basically sticks his tongue out at R and says “welllllllll, fine….. we’ll just take our “cheerios with us” and make our own nation…. howz that workin for ya R???!!!”
J became threatened by the fact that “his Kingdom” would have to make their pilgrimages three times per year to the Temple in Jerusalem (R’s territory)!! He did not want to allow his people to doubt him or possibly join the “other side” because that was where the presence of God dwelled!!! So, what does he do? Well he builds his own altars (not God’s, gets his own priest (not Levites), and makes his own sacrifices to the golden calves!!! Idols Idols everywhere and NOT one of them is the ONE and ONLY TRUE God!! Why don’t they recognize it? Why don’t they make their own pilgrimages? The Word never said that J made a law telling them they could not go to Jerusalem. Again we see another example of the power a leader can have over the people they lead. I can not help but think of Hitler. People followed him because initially he did make life better for the “his view of the chosen people.” As Hitler began to take the Jews away…..people refused to believe this was going on, even the Jews until it had spun WAY out of control. As Hitler was taking the Jews and placing them in their “special living places” and then into the concentration camps…people would hear or see things and simply say to themselves and other “NO ….. what we hear and see could NOT be happening.” BUT it WAS happening. Even to this day there are people who REFUSE to believe the Holocaust happened!!! Let’s not be one of those people who don’t know the truth.
YOU are doing your part TODAY…right now by reading God’s Word, studying it, praying over it, etc so you WILL know the TRUTH.
THIS ladies and gents is a HUGE moment in our History. The DIVIDING of the Kingdom to Israel and Judah!
Chapter 13 — There are two separate men in this story. One is a prophet living in Bethel and the other a “man of God.” The “man of God” from Judah was sent BY GOD to deliver a message at the altar where J was offering a sacrifice to a golden calf. AND SPECIFICALLY was COMMANDED by God NOT “to eat or drink water, nor return the way he came.” God never told HIM any different. YET when the prophet LIED to him and told him that an angel of The Lord had come to him to tell the “man of God” to come back with him and eat and drink water, the “man of God” listened to this prophet from Bethel. After I got beyond…. but God he didn’t MEAN to disobey YOU, he was lied to, why wasn’t he shown grace.
I saw this as a HUGE message FOR us TODAY. In the most basic of premises, I see the prophet as someone working for the enemy if not the enemy himself. The prophet was a master of deception and we are not told WHY he did what he did. However, we KNOW from John 10:10 that the enemy came “to steal, kill, and destroy BUT Jesus came that we could have life abundant here on this earth.” The prophet in this story certainly was working for the enemy because his deception was swallowed “hook, line, and sinker” and completely destroyed the “man of God’s” life!! God tells us in the last days there will be MANY false prophets. ( Matthew 7:15– “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” ) We can SEE and HEAR in our society today ….the MANY lies we are being told from a political perspective, from a religious perspective, even within our churches, laws, even health care. God tells us to KNOW HIS WORD. God tells us that the ONLY way to know the false from the truth is through HIS WORD. In this story we just read…. God never told the “man of God” to turn back, go eat, and drink water with the old prophet. God spoke DIRECTLY to the “man of God” about what he was to do. God did not tell him any different so why would the “man of God” believe the LIAR since God SPOKE the TRUTH DIRECTLY to him. PLEASE do not misunderstand, I am NOT saying you should lead a revolt in your church or become antagonistic to your leaders. The Bible is clear that we should submit to authority. However, if you find you are in a place that does not teach solid Bible ….. simply pray that God will show you where HE wants you. Don’t rebel, or rebuke, or become defiant. If you feel burdened with things happening in your city, state, or country maybe you can become involved in things that are NOT about casting stones, being disrespectful, or yelling at people, but solid things that will allow you to make a difference in the direction your city, state, or country so it is all working for the glory of God.
If you are just starting with the blog, welcome and I am glad you are here. For those who are just starting I am going to share a story that my Pastor, Dave Bowman at New Horizon Church in Durham, NC shares with us. The topic deals with “Do you know how people who are professionally trained to spot counterfeit money go through their training?” The answer IS NOT that they look at a lot of counterfeit money until they know all the kinds of counterfeit money (and new counterfeit money is made daily.) The answer is that they look at the REAL money, 8 or more hours a day for MANY weeks/months. They smell it, they feel it, they taste it, they look at it, they know the colors and fabric in the money, they know what color it turns when it burns, they hear how it sounds, they handle new bills, old bills, and the ones in-between. The bottom line is that their training is on NOTHING but the REAL thing. So when they go out into the real world the minute they touch, see, feel counterfeit money….they know it…no guessing……they KNOW it. This is the SAME reason God tells us to WRITE HIS Word on our hearts. THIS is the same reason God wants us to SPEAK HIS Word from the overflow of our hearts. WHEN we KNOW the truth….we are able to identify a false truth/lies/false prophets in our OWN lives. God will give us a Spirit of discernment when needed where the Holy Spirit will speak LOUDLY to us telling us… NO…. THAT is FALSE!!
There is even a larger reason this story is pertinent today. How you are asking? It encourages us to look at RELIGION verses a PERSONAL relationship with Christ; the BIBLE verses the CHURCH. Each religion and church is made up of their very own rules, laws, rituals, etc….. but are those rules, laws and rituals based ON THE WORD OF GOD….not based on their OWN opinions, their own rituals, their own laws. When we depend more on our RELIGION rather than our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and when we depend on the rituals, laws, and rules of any particular church more than we do what the BIBLE says…..we fall subject to not being able to tell difference between the TRUTH from our GOD from the BIBLE and falsehood. As the days grow closer to the days when Jesus returns, we are told there will be many false prophets and even our church leaders can “fall” prey to these false prophets….the same way this “man of God” fell to the lies of the lying prophet. So where are you…. do you depend on the Word of God from the Bible? Or do you say things such as: “welllllllll….. that is what my Church told me, or what my Pastor, Minister, Priest, Reverend, Father, Elder, etc., said.” “That is the way I was raised.” “I didn’t know because the Bible is tooooo difficult for me to understand.” ….. Well.. you know… you get the point. IF you believe that the Bible IS the inerrant, God breathed Word that is to serve as our “manual for life”…then we must know what it says. As challenging as it may be….we must READ the Bible, dig a little, pray for God to give us understanding and guidance, attend a solid church that teaches straight from the Word of God (and if you don’t…pray for God to show you where HE would have you go), fellowship with other believers, be DOERS of the Word, etc. THEN and ONLY then will we be able to tell the TRUTH from the FALSE. We don’t want to be like the “man of God in this story.” When we get to the NT each letter we will read is about keeping the Church sound in doctrine, because The Lord KNEW we would NEED the help in remaining faithful.
Chapter 14 — J sends his wife, IN DISGUISE, to see Ahijah, the prophet to discover if their son would live or die. Poor Ahijah can no longer see due to his age BUT the LORD tells him J’s wife is coming in disguise. SAD!!! CRAZY!! PERSONAL!!
Neither R or J listened to The Lord, they lead out of their own desires and their own ways. God told J he had every chance to have a long successful reign, but he CHOSE NOT to do what God asked him to do.
The fighting had begun, the Kingdom was separated and will remain that way.
Do you have any questions? Did God show you something special today? Did one Scripture stand out to you? You KNOW I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure your SUBJECT field has BLOG written in it, OR you can simply make your comments on the comment section below.
Sharing HIS love,