I know it's been a while, but I should have taken my NLT Bible with me while I was in Orlando this past weekend. It never gets old, there is so much going on in Orlando you could do so much without doing the same thing twice. Anyway, I had left off in 1st Kings, after Solomon had built the temple...it had just been dedicated.
This is why you need to keep track of your devotions, because you will very easily fall behind with them, even if you don't intend to do so...
The following covers Chapters 9-22 of 1st Kings (basically the entire book)
One thing I wish I could find, (If i knew what it was and how to find it is this book)
THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF SOLOMON
it's like extra-Biblical material, in that it is not canon of scripture but it is substantial information that could give someone insight to the life of a certain person, like Solomon. HOWEVER, be cautious about books about Jesus that aren't cannon, because you could be dealing with stuff that was made up. (It is mentioned in Chapter 11 of 1st Kings) and it caught my attention.
Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 discuss how Solomon was building up his kingdom and laying the groundwork for what would eventually become his downfall, his desire to love any woman he could possibly get his hands on. However, as a result of the wisdom that Solomon does ask the Lord for, he is able to succeed in everything that he does.
As of now, he has made all of these alliances with people, and pledged himself to God saying that he would follow in his ways. But then all of the trouble starts happening. Solomon begins to marry women who worship Gods other than Elohim, and because of that, Solomon's devotion to God faltered and God said that he would divide Solomon's kingdom among his enemies.
It is no secret that in layman's terms, Solomon was a LADY'S MAN. He had 1000 women in his life (700 wives and 300 concubines). It was made very very clear to Solomon by God that if he were to marry other women from other countries with false deities, that he would end up following after them and wouldn't be truly devoted to Jehovah. That is exactly what happened because Solomon's devotion to his wives caused him to build altars to these gods around Jerusalem. Solomon then has enemies that were raised up around him. It was also foretold that Solomon would still reign over Jerusalem, but because he hadn't been completely obedient to God, the kingdom would be divided among other tribes.
Here is where all of the trouble starts for Solomon's family because it is here that you see his son Rehiboam rejecting counsel from higher authorities (elders) and looking for the advice of people his own age. It's really funny because after talking with these young advisers, there was a time when they suggested to make golden calves!!!!! (Much like the ones the Hebrews had made in the wilderness CF. Book of Exodus) Sin is a great corrupter. Take it from those who have made thousands of years worth of mistakes because of it. It ruins people and ruins their judgment, and end up making poor choices as a result. Rehoboam is over thrown and Jeroboam becomes king.
Years after Solomon, we encounter Jeroboam. He is the one who has his dynasty destroyed because Josiah would become king next. There were prophets who saw his downfall, and said that he had completely disobeyed God. The sins of the father as some people call it. This all had to do with David, not only Solomon, but David. David's descendants would be destined for a life of rebellion, and it was made very clear through all of their circumstances. Someone else had taken the throne from the son of Solomon, and then prophets saw someone else who would take the throne, (Josiah) and gave him what he needed to have.
Just listen to how his end came about:
Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth. (v. 33-34)
Sin runs deep and it ruins things. This is an example of what happens. In this chapter, Jeroboam wanted to try and push things in Israel so they would go in his favor. His son Abijah had fallen ill. So his wife went to see Ahijah (replace the B with an H) to plead for her son, disguised as someone else. But the Lord had warned this prophet about the oncoming deception and gave him words to speak to Jeroboam's wife. She was told that the boy would indeed die.
Rehoboam was king over Judah during this time (Solomon's son) and he had done what was evil in God's eyes, but because he was the son of Solomon, God chose to allow members of Solomon's family (like descendants to remain as leaders)...Abijah becomes the king of Judah after Rehoboam.
THE BOOK OF THE ANNALS OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL
It is going to be interesting for me to find out where these books are. If they even exist anymore. I have been to Israel twice and there is this place in Jerusalem called the temple institute. If there were ever such books or records (I mean if they are replicas) maybe they would be there. Most of the records of Israel were destroyed during the Roman siege in 70AD. It would just be great to see how much history there is to this magnificent country.
It wasn't always a magnificent country. There was much to be told about the rulers considering that there were now 2 kingdoms because of Solomon, in previous chapters we read about Jeroboam's family and how there was divisions and how they had fell. Well in this chapter, his family is done away with, and you hear the famous name Jehoshaphat. As always in these books of history you see that there is intense warfare and such...
There must be something tainted in the waters around Jerusalem because we are seeing multiple people become king over Israel. But Israel would have been the northern kingdom. The lands were divided. This all happens while Asa is king over Judah, the northern lands have been dealing with such turmoil that there are several different people reigning over the land during this time. You don't see much of the positives coming out of this area, because the whole time, Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is the one who is rejoicing in God's goodness because they are the obedient people who trust in all that God does for them. Now though, the story of 1st Kings takes a dramatic shift in the person who becomes the next major prophet.
Elijah's Ministry Begins
-It's amazing to see how God is using the prophets over again. In the books of Samuel, it was Samuel who was the big shot prophet, and now we are taking a look at the life of Elijah, another major player in the grand story of history.
Elijah is an exciting example to me to see how God works. He provides for just about everything we could possibly need. God commands ravens to give Elijah food, and then he comes across a widow woman and her son, and he asks of her to provide food, and much like the New Testament where we see Jesus perform miracles that provided food for thousands of people, Elijah had the same thing happen to him. This woman said she had a jar filled with flour and with oil, and was able to cook food for Elijah and her family, and even though there wasn't that much, it lasted until rain came upon the land. How amazing and Great is our God!
Here we are presented with the problem. Elijah has been commanded by God to go to King Ahab (of Israel, the north kingdom). Ahab has a prophet of God working for the palace, Obidiah. He has been secretly helping prophets escape from a plot that Queen Jezebel had to kill them. It succeeds because Elijah later has the opportunity to prove God's greatness by bringing down fire from heaven.
I remembering hearing some pastor friends tell me that 1st Kings 18 is the best example in Scripture of trash-talk. Elijah is saying that maybe Baal is sleeping or maybe he doesn't care about you, provoking the people that followed Baal to make their pleas louder, but to no avail. It was only when Elijah declared to be a follower of God that the fire came down from heaven and the truth was set straight, the God of Israel was the God that needed to be worshiped, and that He is Who He is.
Here is where we see God deciding to call people into his work. Elijah has been successful in what he had been doing to serve the Lord, and God is deciding to start doing things a little bit differently. He sends Elijah signs of turmoil like earthquakes and fire, just so he can get it across that he wants this Elisha (again replacing letters for name changes), so now he will serve the Lord as a prophet, and he was obedient to what God had told him through Elijah, and became Elijah's attendant.
Going back and forth from character to character and location to location has proven to be the norm in scripture. I find it sort of confusing but it helps show the great picture of the overall book. Here we see what is happening again with the disobedience of the people of the North, and the people start receiving warnings about what would happen to them. Ahab's downfall is prophesied in this chapter as we see what will transpire in the finale of this book, but he is still very disobedient to God and as such, he doesn't understand the consequences for his actions, but he will, very soon!
Ahab has issues. That is the truth that I drew out of reading this chapter. In similar ways, David decides to take away something from someone else. Ahab wants the vineyard of a man in Samaria, and didn't want to back down from this desire, so his wife helped him out. She tricked people into bringing Naboth (the owner of the vineyard) to a dinner, and accused him of wronging the king and had him stoned to death. He was doings o much wrong because Elijah later confronts Ahab in the vineyard about this. When he warns Ahab of what is to come, he humbles himself before God and is spared from any harm, but Elijah said that Ahab's descendants would suffer because of his actions.
HERE WE GO, THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK!!!!
A great battle is about to begin. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah is debating whether to attack Ramoth Gilead, he had prophets talk about the outcomes of the battle and what would happen if the attack were to occur, needless to say; God is on the side of the people that serve him and Jehoshaphat becomes the victor. He was in disguise during the battle but everything that the Lord had prophesied in previous chapters came true! Dogs licked up Ahab's blood after he was buried. The Bible is not a pleasant book at times, there is gore, there is violence, and there is important truths in the middle. Jehoshaphat had followed what God had wanted him to do, and was obedient, and his reign was one that God looked down upon, meanwhile the kingdom of Israel in the north was always having problems and were being disobedient.
So in conclusion, the things I have drawn from kings is how to be obedient to what God is saying in your life and realize that you must trust that God knows what he is doing even when it doesn't seem popular to do what is right.
GRACE AND PEACE!