“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.”
(2 Chronicles 16:9)
June 9 – 16
The readings this week were rich with life lessons and once again, I am left shaking my head at the faithfulness of our God. I know full well that I do not pass the test any more than kings or paupers or the widow we met this week, but it is reassuring to know, He will not desert me or take His love away from me. We started the week by saying goodbye to King Solomon and see God hold Solomon’s hand even when he’s convinced everything is worthless. The Lord reassures us, despite our bad attitudes and not following Him, “Yet I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23)We also see why God allowed Israel to be divided in the first place, meet a series of kings who mostly disobeyed the Lord, and welcome Elijah as a breath of fresh air, amid the destruction of Israel. This was a week full of blessing and warning for God’s people not to worship anything but God Himself. Idols or riches will not save us. We must come to the breaking point of our selfish often pessimistic selves and conclude as King Solomon:
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
THE BOAMS. I don’t know if you had trouble keeping everyone straight, but I kept getting Rehoboam (Solomon’s son who ruled Judah) and Jeroboam, king of northern Israel mixed up. When I did Bible Study Fellowship a few years ago, we highlighted the Northern Israel kings in blue and southern Judah kings in red. I was longing for that old Bible this week, as I read my Scriptures online. To be honest, there were several confusing things that required more study than I gave it, especially the story in 1 Kings 13 about the man of God from Judah. What I grasped from a cursory read was even men of God can be led astray by people falsely professing to know what God is saying. I think God held the man of God more accountable because he didn’t do the right thing than the false prophet. The man of God could have asked God to know the right thing to do, Who gladly gives wisdom to all who ask. (James 1:5) I think I’ll just say I don’t know on this one, though, and God knew their hearts.
BECAUSE OF THIS…The Lord has spoken. 1 Kings 14:9-10 “You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back. “Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam.” Making idols to regain power for himself, Jeroboam had caused many to sin. And there were dire consequences in the loss of his son and the destruction of his household. 2 Chronicles 12:2 also reminds us that the Lord does not allow sin to go unpunished, as He allows Judah to come under attack by Shishak in King Rehoboam’s reign. ”
THIS IS WHAT THE LORD SAYS, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’ (2 Chronicles 12:5) The Lord also says, “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) 2 Chronicles 15:2 sums it up in saying, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” There was a long period when I didn’t hear from God. He did not abandon me, but I grieved the Holy Spirit inside of me as I didn’t pray, didn’t seek His Word, abandoning Him. As I returned, He revealed Himself again mightily. I’ve heard it said that the Lord is a gentleman. He only goes where He’s invited. I cling to the verse in Joel 2:25 that says, “He will restore the years the locust has eaten” even though it was I who squandered those years.
And I give thanks this day for Psalm 89:33 “but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” Like a good parent, the Lord punishes as He deems necessary for our benefit, but will never remove His love from His children.
A REMNANT IS PRESERVED. 1 Kings 15:3,4 – He (Abijah) committed all the sins his father (Rehoboam, grandson of King David) had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong.” The Lord continued to preserve a remnant of the House of David through Abijah’s son, Asa, (who originally did right in the eyes of the Lord, then forsook Him) because of His promise to David, not because of their actions. The Lord is faithful even when we are not.
IN A WHISPER. (1 Kings 19)Right when we are so ready for a breath of fresh air, not in a whirlwind, an earthquake or in a fire, but in a soft whisper of God, Elijah blows into town. (1 Kings 17) We first meet him warning King Ahab of the drought, then see how the Lord provides food and water for him through ravens and a stream. Elijah follows God’s provisions by asking the widow for a drink and some bread. She is somewhat distraught at his request because she doesn’t even have enough for herself or her son. But together, they trusted that God would provide and that He did. One day at a time, God provided for Elijah and the widow. Elijah and the widow couldn’t see where the oil and flour was going to come from. They just had to trust that each day somehow there would be enough. They didn’t put their trust in what they could see. That would be easy, (and in my experience, not that much like God, who asks us to have faith.) Instead, they learned to put their trust in what they couldn’t see. Like Elijah and the widow, God alone provides our needs. We must not put our faith in the storehouses of plenty or worry for lack thereof, but in God, claiming Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
A CONTRAST OF TWO MEN. Elijah on Mt. Carmel-(1 Kings 18) Without any rain, God had King Ahab’s attention. Now, King Ahab blamed Elijah as he went to meet with him, but Elijah reminds him that it is his own sins that had brought about the drought. At the Lord’s command, he showed the people who the Lord was, by having the other false prophets do everything they could to get their sacrifice accepted by their gods. And finally, Elijah called upon the Lord to consume the sacrifice made unto Him, and in front of all of the people, the fire of the Lord fell upon the sacrifice and consumed it. And the people saw the true God and fell prostrate before Him. Elijah did this so that the Lord’s glory could be revealed. He wanted them to know that the rain came from God, not anything any of these other false prophets had done. The Glory of God was revealed that day as the rains came, and Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel, and bowed low with his head between his knees unto his Lord. This is the difference between a man of God and a man who lives for his own pleasure, as we see in verse 42, “So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.”
May we each bow low, face between our knees in gratitude and reverence as the One and Only true God of the Bible reveals Himself unto us in all His Glory. Join me with others who are reading the Bible chronologically at Bev’s
site to see other briefer and more profound accounts of what lingers this week walking through His Word.