1 Kings 16: “More Kings”
During Asa’s reign, we see the rise and fall of 6 kings in Israel, including Nadab & Baasha who we saw yesterday. Of course, as we learned from chapter 15's overview, all of the kings in Israel were evil. This chapter is really a continuation of that chapter, leading off with Baasha & the Lord speaking against him and his house because of his evil ways. Elah reigned in his place, but Zimri, one of his servants, killed him in his sleep & took the throne. His rule wasn’t long, however, lasting only 7 days before he was run out by the people of Israel. Omri was then appointed king. But Omri also had an adversary, and half of Israel followed Tibni, but this didn’t last very long either, and Omri ruled as king over Israel. Verse 25 tells us that Omri was more evil than any of the kings before him. Finally, we get to Ahab, known to be one of worst kings in Israel. He actually took the title away from his father (Omri), as the worst over all the others before him. He married Jezebel, who, according to commentator Matthew Poole was, “a woman infamous for her idolatry, and cruelty, and sorcery, and filthiness”. He built and altar for Baal, and worshiped him. He led the people into idolatry. We've seen this story over and over all throughout the Old Testament, and obviously this spills into the New Testament & our current age.
What has been interesting in these two chapters, is that the mother is named with each of these kings, along of course with thier fathers. What we see is that many of these kings followed after thier father's footsteps, and we see that thier mother's are also listed by name. Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee suggests that this adds some responsibility to the mother, as well as the father for how thier children are raised and how they will end up. If this is the case, then we must learn and apply Biblical principles in the home. Proverbs 22:6 teaches us that we must train up our children. Hebrews 12:5 teadhes us that we must discipline our children. These "children" lacked the training & the discipline, the same training and discipline that you and I need. How are you doing in this part of your life?
Witnesses for Jesus
For me, the main idea from Acts chapter 1 is found in verse 8:
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus gave this humanly impossible task to His disciples and then ascended to heaven without giving them any specific instructions on how to accomplish that task. So these disciples returned to Jerusalem - the place where Jesus had told them to start. And while they waited for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon them, they didn't just sit around and do nothing, they spent time in prayer and they made practical preparations for their task by selecting someone to replace Judas.
Today, nearly 2,000 years later, we are still called to be witnesses for Jesus and that task still requires a balance between depending on God in prayer and making practical preparations for bringing the kingdom of God near to others who are not yet part of that kingdom. Will you take time today to pray and to prepare?
Jesus is Alive!
This week, we will be digging deeper into the text by "capturing the big idea". In today's reading in Mark 16, that is actually pretty simple. The big idea is: Jesus is alive.
All of Christianity is dependent upon that fact. If Jesus did not rise from the grave, then as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 15, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. So in his gospel account, Mark is careful to record the wide variety of people who were eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus: the angel at the tomb. Mary Magdalene, two disciples on the road and finally the eleven remaining disciples. We know from what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that this was just the tip of the iceberg as Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after His resurrection.
So the resurrection of Jesus is one of the most witnessed and attested to events in history. And what makes the testimony of these eyewitnesses even more believable to me is the fact that almost all of them ended up dying to defend their faith. Not many people will do that for a lie.
Do you believe that Jesus is alive? Have you entrusted your life to Him?
1 Kings 15: “Good and Bad Kings”
Here we are introduced to two kings of Judah, and two kings of Israel. This chapter is sort of a rapid fire area that covers some 44 years of rulers on either side of the kingdom. The first king we are introduced to is Abijam, the son of Rehoboam. Abijam rules for 3 years and is labeled as a bad king, because he followed in the footsteps of Rehoboam. Even though Abijam was evil, the Lord allowed it because of His promise to David. We then see the reign of Asa, the son of Abijam over Judah. This the first good king since David. Immediately, Asa got rid of all of the idols and temple prostitutes. He even went as far as to remove the queen mother, as she made an idol. Nadab is the next king that we are told about, another bad king of Israel. His reign was followed by Baasha. We read in this chapter that there was war between Baasha and Asa.
You see, even though there was finally a good king in Judah, there was still bad in Israel. This constant back and forth will continue through the end of captivity. Evil is a direct result of the fall. David confessed his sin, which again is why we see in verse 5 that he was declared righteous, despite his sins, just like you and I have available through Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we desire to be more like Him, and are more likely to follow His principles and laws because our hearts are changed. David, Asa, and a few more good kings in Judah, also had their hearts pointed towards the Lord which is why they are declared good. You see, God is the one who declares you as good, or righteous. How would He classify you? Have you been saved by the blood of Jesus, thus being declared righteous? He is the only way.
1 Kings 14: “The End of Jeroboam and Rehoboam”
Jeroboam’s son was very ill. He wanted to know the fate of his son, so he sent his wife to see Ahijah, the prophet, to tell them what’s wrong with their son. He had her disguise herself when she entered the room to see him. Before she arrived, the Lord already told the old, blind prophet who was coming and the message to leave with her regarding her son, Jeroboam and the nation. Notice how neither Jeroboam or his wife prayed. Notice how she tried to conceal her identity when she went to a man of God. They didn’t want God’s advise or council, they were more interested in the prophet who can “see the future”. The word from God through the prophet was not good. First, they were told their son would die. Next, they were told that Israel would be judged because of the sins of Jeroboam. We see that when his wife returned, and crossed the threshold, their son died. We are then given a quick overview of his reign, and his death is recorded. Nadab, his son, is named as his successor.
We are given another short overview of Rehoboam’s reign as well. There are a few details that are very important. First, we see that Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord (14:22). Next, we see that Judah was also involved in idolatry and abominations. Next we see that due to an attack by the Egyptian king, Judah was left weaker, as thier gold shields were replaced by bronze. Finally, we see that there was constant war bettwen Jeroboam and Rehoboam. He was succeded by his son, Abijam.
The words "they did evil in the sight of the Lord" are words that will become very familiar to us as we continue in these books. The measuring rod was David himself, as we know was not perfect. Because of this, we must recognize that it was through David’s faith (see Hebrews 11:32-34,39-40) that he was marked as “good”, just as we are forgiven today through Jesus. Jesus makes our sin white as snow. Where is your faith?
- Pat Damiani published a newsletterReadThornydale Family ChurchKnow Jesus. Grow & Serve. Go & Share. January 21, 2019
The last couple days have really reminded me of the importance of community within the body of Christ. After spending time with many of you in the Bible Roundtable yesterday and then being part of the men's Bible study this morning, I'm really grateful for the way that I get to learn from all of you each week. Every week I get new perspectives on the Bible and on living it out that I would never get by studying the Bible on my own.
So I hope you'll take advantage of the opportunities we provide each week to study the Bible with others. If you need some help finding a group that works for you, let me know and we'll help you get plugged in.
Walking with you toward Jesus,
1 Kings 13: “A Man of God”
Every once and a while a light will shine in darkness. We see that here when a man of God (not identified by name) called Jeroboam out while at one of the altars. He prophesied that God will raise up a king, named Josiah, who will restore God’s Word and tear down these altars. What an amazing and specific prophecy that we see here that we know to be true because of the Scriptures. In 2 Kings 21-23, we read about this event which occurred some 300 years after this man of God spoke them. Immediately, Jeroboam raised his hand to motion for his men to seize him and have him killed, but the Lord intervened and his hand withered. Evidently, at a prior time, it was commanded to him not to break bread with Jeroboam or his prophets, likely because of their association with idols. We see later that this man was deceived by another prophet, and was killed by a lion on the road for disobeying God. The role of the prophet, particularly in this case, was to warn the people of their shortfalls to the standard of God. The man was put there at that specific time to warn Jeroboam about his idolatry and how he was moving people away from the Lord, not towards Him. But, we read in verse 33 that he did not turn from his evil ways.
Have you ever been warned about something, but carried on anyway? Well, allow me to give you an example. If you have heard the Gospel, you have been warned. If you have not responded to this Gospel, then you have chosen, just like Jeroboam, to follow other gods. You’ve been warned. Now, you must respond. Are you ready to do that today?
- Good morning - we have some opportunities for service starting in February for refreshments. The refreshments time is always a great time of fellowship, so this act of service is really impactful. If you can serve in this area, follow the link below to sign up. Thanks!!SignUpGenius - Mobilem.signupgenius.com