1 Kings 12-13

Today’s reading begins with Rehoboam’s foolish dealings with the people of Israel and concludes with Jeroboam’s insistence on continuing on the path away from God.

Chapter 12 of 1 Kings is always a great reminder of the treacherous nature of pride in a leader. Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon and was installed as King after Solomon’s death. In this chapter we are presented with the story of how the people Israel come to Rehoboam and insist that he lighten their burden and not place them under the same weight of labor like that imposed by his father, Solomon.

At first glance, it seems like Rehoboam is taking the right path. He seeks counsel from the elders of Israel about what he should do. The elders of Israel counsel Rehoboam to lighten the load of people and they will be loyal and true and follow his leading. Rehoboam then decides that he should seek some additional counsel from his lifelong friends. Rehoboam’s friends tell him that he should be even more exacting and demanding of the people of Israel and prove to them that he is a stronger leader that his father.

As can be the case with young and inexperienced leaders, Rehoboam decides that he will play the role of the tough guy and prove his strength as a leader by burdening those he leads instead of serving those he leads. Obviously, when the people tell you that they are tired of working it’s not necessarily because they are lazy or disrespectful. Rehoboam thinks otherwise and blows off the request of the people with a statement that always reads to me as a bit, well, suggestive:

” ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs.’ ” 1 Kings 12:11

As a result of his ignorance of the will of the people, the text is clear as to what happened:

“So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the LORD that he might fulfill his word, which the LORD spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, ‘What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.’ So Israel went to their tents….So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” 1 Kings 12:15-16, 19

Foolish and presumptuous leadership never works out well.

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Well…

Having just looked, I notice that it’s been nearly two months since I posted my ‘Anybody Still Out There?’ post. How is it that life can consume so much of your time and energy?

I really intended on getting going again on my Bible in a Year series when I wrote that last post and now I realize that it’s been a really long time. I am intent on writing a new fresh post in the series tonight. It will get done.

I’m not sure how faithful I’m going to be in keeping up, but there will be a post today. Maybe that’s how faith is. Getting up when you have the strength and taking another step.

Sometimes I feel like God’s not really out there and it seems like when I am losing all hope, He then renews me and gives me the strength for just one step, one word.

Sometimes it feels like all my strength is gone. Then He gives just enough for me to take another step. I’m sure that this is all really cryptic, and really, that’s what I intend it to be. You don’t know my struggles, nor I yours.

I hope you know that He sees and He cares. I know that I doubt that at times, maybe often. It’s always a struggle to believe in the invisible. It’s difficult to comprehend why Someone who claims to be all powerful would allow pain and suffering to be a part of the lives of anyone, especially those who agree with Who He says He is.

I don’t know how it all works, but I’m still here God. I’m still here.

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Anybody still out there?

If you are among my dedicated readers…a prized, precious, and small group of people…then you realize that there has been little new content placed on this blog for nearly eight months. I hope to change that soon and begin posting again in my Bible In A Year series. Obviously, at this point the ‘In A Year’ portion is likely not to come true, but I intend on following through thanks in large part to a good friend who cared enough to read and ask about my progress. You know who you are. :)

The time off has definitely been busy and hectic, so hopefully the remaining time in my quest to post my thoughts on each reading in a 365-day reading of the Bible will be more consistent. Time will tell.

Thanks, Good Friend.

TC

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1 Kings 9-11

Today’s reading begins with the LORD appearing to Solomon a second time and concludes with the death of Solomon.

Although Solomon was blessed greatly by God with wisdom so great that no one before or after him could attain to it, Solomon’s life was filled with folly and he eventually grew cold towards the things of the LORD. In Chapter 11 of 2 Chronicles we read that Solomon greatly loved numerous foreign women. These women were from nations that the LORD instructed the people of Israel not to marry. Not only did Solomon take one wife from among these nations that the LORD knew would draw the hearts of His people away from Him, Solomon married many women from these people groups. Solomon had a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines and as the text states, these wives turned his heart away from the LORD.

How could a person so blessed by the LORD be so foolish as to violate the commands of the LORD? I think it speaks to exactly what the LORD warned the people of Israel about, that when the LORD had blessed the people with homes, and vineyards, and land that they would take their ease and stray from the Him. As Solomon saw fit to abandon his devotion to the LORD, the LORD saw fit to allow Solomon to experience the consequences of those decisions in addition to experiencing the anger of the LORD.

Although the LORD never took the kingdom away from Solomon, He soon would take it away from David’s house, and the kingdom would soon dissolve.

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1 Kings 7-8

Today’s reading begins with Solomon building his palace and concludes with the sacrifices that Solomon offered up at the consecration of the temple.

David had been prevented from building a temple for the LORD because of the sheer amount of bloodshed that had come about because of his actions as a king. Although some of the acts committed by David were evil, a great deal of the bloodshed the occurred under his watch was the purposes of defending and expanding the kingdom of Israel.

David had made provision for a temple for the LORD prior to his death, but the task came to Solomon to make a place of worship to the LORD that was suitable and honored his greatness and holiness. The temple took seven years to build and the amount of wealth, time, and effort that was placed into its construction was staggering.

Obviously, I’m quite partial to the Word of God. There’s a reason that I read the Bible and one of those primary reasons is because I love Him and want to know more about him. So this is obviously coming from a biased point of view, but Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple of the LORD is magnificent. I truly love it. In this prayer, Solomon gives glory to God for all of his great works; honoring Him for his mercies to the Israelites. In addition to honoring the LORD with his prayer, Solomon also asks of the LORD a great number of items. The point behind each of them is that Solomon knows that the people of Israel will stray and that it will only be by God’s grace that the nation will be sustained.

Solomon’s final plea to the LORD is this: “Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.” 2 Chronicles 8:52-53 (ESV)

May God’s eyes and ears always be open to our pleas when we call upon Him.

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1 Kings 3-6

Today’s reading begins with Solomon’s request for wisdom and concludes with the building of the temple of the LORD.

David had been a great ruler for Israel. He expanded the kingdom and though his time in power was not without controversy and upheaval, he left a stable kingdom for his son Solomon. David had wanted to build a temple for the LORD to replace the Tabernacle that the people of Israel had used as the place of worship for the LORD during their time of wandering in the desert, but the LORD refused him this privilege. As a result of David’s battles and struggles, the LORD did not want the king with bloodstained hands building him a temple. As such, although David worked to make provision for a grand temple, it fell to Solomon to build it.

Solomon understood that as a man he lacked the wisdom to rule over Israel and that the task ahead of him was great. So in one of his first interactions with the LORD upon his taking control of the throne of Israel, Solomon asked of the LORD great wisdom so that he could be an adequate king for the LORD’s people. In response to Solomon’s request, the LORD said this:

“Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:11-14 (ESV)

Solomon was humbled by the task ahead of him and instead of asking for things that he thought he may need or want to accomplish the task at hand, he asked that the LORD grant him understanding. I for one typically don’t ask for understanding when faced with a challenge, I usually ask for something or that God would do something. As many times as I’ve read and been told of Solomon’s request, I still haven’t let it sink in that allowing God to do the work and simply asking for his understanding and how best to proceed is the best possible course of action and wins the favor of the LORD in the events to follow. Maybe I can start having that attitude. Maybe my asking for things instead of wisdom is a big component in troubles that I face in life.

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1 Kings 2

Today’s reading begins with David’s final instructions to Solomon before his death and concludes with Solomon being established as the sole monarch of Israel.

When the time of David’s rule over Israel was coming to an end there was a struggle for the throne of the kingdom of Israel. David’s son Adonijah had claimed the kingdom for himself, but the LORD had instructed that Solomon would be the heir to the throne after David. The decision that Adonijah made to claim the kingdom for himself quickly turned sour and Adonijah soon realized that he would be ousted.

This is where the text takes a twisted turn. In return for relinquishing the throne of Israel, Adonijah requested of David’s wife and Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba that she ask Solomon to grant him in marriage Abishag the Shunnamite. Abishag was David’s nurse in the waning years of his life. She tended to his needs and slept in his bed with him. It’s made explicit in the text that David never had sexual relations with Abishag, but regardless, one can imagine that this platonic relationship was an intimate one.

Bathsheba complied with Adonijah’s request and came before Solomon and asked that Abishag be given in marriage to Adonijah. This greatly angered Solomon and certainly with Adonijah’s presumption of the throne combined with this act of gross disrespect prompted Solomon to put a permanent end to Adonijah’s treachery against the throne. Solomon called upon Benaiah the commander of the armies of Israel and had Adonijah put to death.

The battle for the throne was a brief one and Solomon was now free to rule.

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