1 Kings 11

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So the nation has divided.

How disheartening it is to watch God’s chosen people – the 12 Tribes of Israel – begin with such hope and promise, overcome the many obstacles that King David faced, only to fall into sin and rebellion and end up divided 10-2. But that is exactly what happened in history. (Many of the conquests we will read about in the books of Kings and Chronicles are detailed in other national writings such as those of the Egyptian Pharaohs and the Babylonians/Assyrians).

After David – his son Solomon began witch such promise. But 1000 foreign women in his life led to him turning his back on God and rejecting the Promise. From Solomon things go from bad to worse. His sons – Rehoboam and Jeroboam end up at each others throats and the once peaceful and prosperous nation set up by David and established under Solomon has digressed into two step-children at constant war with each other and their opportunistic neighbors.

Oh the wages of sin…

We now are entering into a tedious time of Israeli Monarchs. For the next 260 years the (now divided) nation of Israel will experience heartache and bloodshed. Although the occasional king will arise who will obey the Lord and make attempts to reform the sin-plagued nation… most will be indifferent to the ways of God – leading the people into rebellion and idolatry.

The evil kings will be numerous and depressing. Mostly coming from the northern 10 tribes (with a few in southern Judah) – they continued to lead God’s people in a spiral of sin which eventually led to their complete destruction by the enemy.

33 kings will reject God and lead the people into sin:

      1. Saul (1 Chr. 10:13)
      2. Solomon (1 Chr. 11:6)
      3. Jeroboam (1 Chr. 13:35)
      4. Rehoboam (1 Chr. 14:22)
      5. Abijam (1 Chr. 15:3)
      6. Nadab (1 Chr. 15:26)
      7. Baasha (1 Chr. 15:34)
      8. Elah (1 Chr. 16:9)
      9. Zimri (1 Chr. 16:19)
      10. Omri (1 Chr. 16:25)
      11. Ahab (1 Chr. 16:30)
      12. Ahaziah (1 Chr. 22:52)
      13. Jehoram (2 Kings 3:2)
      14. Jehoram (2 Ki. 8:18)
      15. Ahaziah (2 Ki. 8:27)
      16. Jehu (2 Ki. 10:31)
      17. Athaliah (2 Ki. 11:1)
      18. Jehoahaz (2 Ki. 13:2)
      19. Jehoash (2 Ki. 13:11)
      20. Jeroboam (2 Ki. 14:24)
      21. Zachariah (2 Ki. 15:9)
      22. Shallum (2 Ki. 15:15)
      23. Menahem (2 Ki. 15:18)
      24. Pekahiah (2 Ki. 15:24)
      25. Pekah (2 Ki. 15:28)
      26. Ahaz (2 Ki. 16:2-4)
      27. Hoshea (2 Ki. 17:2)
      28. Manasseh (2 Ki. 21:2)
      29. Amon (2 Ki. 21:20)
      30. Jehoahaz (2 Ki. 23:32)
      31. Jehoiakim (2 Ki. 23:37)
      32. Jehoiakin (2 Ki. 24:9)
      33. Zedekiah (2 Ki. 24:19)

In exact opposite of that list… only 9 kings obey the Lord:

  1. David (1 Chr. 11:33)
  2. Asa (1 Chr. 15:11)
  3. Jehoshaphat (1 Chr. 22:43)
  4. Jehoash (2 Ki. 12:2)
  5. Amaziah (2 Ki. 14:3)
  6. Uzziah (2 Ki. 15:3)
  7. Jotham (2 Ki. 15:34)
  8. Hezekiah(2 Ki. 18:3)
  9. Josiah (2 Ki. 22:2)

Buckle up my friends… it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

1 Kings 6 – Solomon’s Temple

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As we have read – have you noticed God’s heart throughout the history?

In Genesis – God creates – and longs to dwell in the garden, among his creation. In Exodus God instructs Moses to build a tent for Him to live in among His creation. Now, God is ready for a more permanent place to dwell among His creation.

That has always been God’s heart… to be with us.
So first David – the mighty King of Israel – has the desire to build God a permanent house. But God tells him that he cannot because he had a different purpose.

David was a man of conquest – a man of blood. (1 Chron 22:8).

But Solomon (David’s son) would have a different purpose. He would be a man of wisdom and peace. It would be Solomon’s responsibility to build God a house.

So in 1 Kings 6 we see that happen. David has brought peace to the region – and his son Solomon seals the deal to usher in a time of peace & prosperity for God’s people.

(That is how it was always supposed to be…)
So Solomon calls upon an the son of an old friend of his father – King Hiram of Tyre. Tyre is famous for their cedar trees. (Conquering enemies for generations would use these famous trees for the masts to their ships because they were straight and tall… and although scarce today – these trees still grow on the mountains of Lebanon). Solomon employs 150,000 men to cut and transport both wood and stone from the mountains of Tyre, for the payment of food.

The foundation for the Temple is laid on Mount Moriah (remember Abraham and his son Isaac… coincidence?). The huge trees and stones were cut and shaped in Tyre – to ensure no tool sounds were heard at the actual Temple site (1 Kings 6:7). These shaped cedars and stones were carried westward from the mountains in Tyre to the coast, where they were loaded onto rafts and transported southward to Joppa. From there they were carried 40 miles inland into Jerusalem. No small feat!

To make this even more amazing… one must understand the size of the typical stones that were hewn from the Tyre quarries. While most of the stones were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587 BCE – there are still some of the original stones that Herod used to rebuild it under the same methods. The biggest of these stones is measured at 38 ‘ 9” long and weighs about 100 tons! (Pictured above). To move those massive blocks across that distance is almost hard to imagine for the technology back then – but that is how it was done. (Today one can still see the chisel marks from the original cutters – showing how they were cut and by whom).

The entire project took 7 years to complete – and once finished it was marveled as one of the Wonders of the World! No Temple could compete with it’s massive size – beautiful wood engravings – and golden veneer. Solomon spared no expense to glorify his Lord.
But as in all cases – God is first interested in the heart and obedience. As with His father, God makes a promise to Solomon:

Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, execute My precepts, and keep all My commandments to walk in them, then I will fulfill to you My promises which I made to David your father. And I will dwell among the Israelites and will not forsake My people Israel.” 1 Kings 6:12-13 Amp

God had spoken a word to David years before – that his family lineage would never fail to sit upon the throne of Israel and that He would dwell among them and never leave them… but that promise was based upon their continued obedience to His ways. This promise is repeated to Solomon – and yet, as we shall see, Solomon rebels against the Lord – ushering in destruction from the north and causing God to withdraw from His people… leading to the eventual division of the nation of Israel.

…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”Joshua 24:15

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

1 Kings 1-2

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As the books of 1-2 Samuel pass into the books of the Kings – we see as well the life/reign of King David pass into the life/reign of his son Solomon.

As in Samuel – 1 & 2 Kings was originally one book entitled “kings” in the Hebrew Scriptures. It wasn’t until the 3rd century BCE. that the book of Kings was divided into 2 books during the translation from Hebrew into Greek in the Septuagint. The records we find in these books were probably taken from the writings of scribe and prophets – whose duty it was the record the events of the royal thrones they served under at the time. Although there are some disagreements – most scholars believe these court records were combined into this collection by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah around the 7th century.

The books of 1 & 2 kings follows the content as it’s name suggests. It begins with the death of King David – follows the life and reign of his son, Solomon – then continues through the kings of both Israel & Judah (after the kingdom divided) – ending with the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar and the removal of the Israelites into captivity in Babylon (a total period of 413 years).

Along with the intrigue of easily verifiable historical accounts within the scroll of Kings – we see several interesting beginnings and endings which seem to wrap up this section into a nice package. For example: the books begin with a record concerning King David (representative of the righteous Messiah) and ends with a record concerning the King of Babylon (representative of Satan). As well – the books open with the building of the Temple of the Lord by Solomon – and close with it’s destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

All of what we will read in these books reflects the devastation int eh lives of God’s chosen people due to their rebellion and sin. Their continued choice to ignore God’s laws and rebel against Him in sin was the direct cause tot he devastation throughout the countless generations we will follow. It will be apparent (as we read) that God is patient and merciful – tenderly longing for His people to return to Him and follow His way of life… even sending prophets to warn and implore them in this!

King David – with all of his faults – was still a man who loved God and did his best to obey Him in all things. He was recorded as a man blessed by the Lord and a righteous king. It is through his ancestral line that the future Messiah would come – and so David would forever be revered by the nation of Israel as the greatest king of their people. For us – David represents all of humanity in our weakness – as well as the powerful love God has for us. David was quick to repent when wrong – and God was just as quick to forgive.

 

A verse tucked away in the final words of this wonderful king does well to set our perspective in line with what will transpire in the pages to follow:

Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walk in His ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may do wisely and prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,”1 Kings 2:3 AMP
This was David’s warning to his son Solomon (and to us all)… yet, as we shall see, even Solomon failed to follow this wise counsel…

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

2 Samuel 16

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How disheartening it is to watch this threat against David’s kingdom take hold in 2 Samuel 16. As we read through the life of David there are times when we are brought to tears as he demonstrates his great love for his Lord… and there are other times when we want to jump up and shout as he is victories over the enemies of God’s people. Through all of the ups and downs – I think there are times when many of us can relate to David as a man. Reading the results of his mistakes could perhaps be one of those times.

David has gone from hiding in a cave – to establishing his throne over all of Israel – to now, once again, running for his life (this time not from Saul – but from his own son). Nathan had spoken in prophecy that the things we are seeing happen in David’s life are the direct result of his choice to sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:10-14). In fact – one example of a direct prophecy fulfilled is from the following of Nathan’s foreboding declaration:

Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.” 2 Sam 12:11 AMP

Now (as we have already discussed) – just because it reads “I will take” does not mean we can literally attribute these acts as directly from the Lord. This prophecy from Nathan is God’s way of explaining to David what is going to happen as a result of HIS choice. In Chapter 16 we see this come to pass as Ahithophel counsels Absalom to desecrate David’s wives. It was Ahithophel who brought this to pass (not God). Coincidentally – Ahithophel is the grandfather of Bathsheba – and perhaps he was seeking revenge against David for destroying his daughters life and killing her husband? Either way – this is another clear example of sinful actions causing heartache.

Obviously we can know that God is not orchestrating these consequences as punishment for David’s sin with Bathsheba. We know this because God has already said He has “put away David’s sin”(12:13). Instead what is happening is that the natural results of sin have been unleashed by David’s unwise decision – all of which God knew was going to happen – and spoke it to David through His prophet, Nathan.

Taking it further – the place where Absalom does his evil deed is in a “tent upon the top of David’s house” (16:22) – which is exactly where David first lusted after Bathsheba to start this mess! Right out under the very same sun for all of Israel to see (just as Nathan predicted).

Another example of things happening that God knew (but did not actually cause) is what happens next to this distraught king. As David fees Jerusalem – with all of his mighty men – he is suddenly accosted by a weak elderly beggar – who curses him and throws dust at him. (Throwing dust at another was an ancient way of showing anger and contempt, of wishing trouble and grief to come upon someone so that they would feel like covering himself with dust and dying of sorrow – as in Acts 22:23). This man “of the house of Saul” held deep contempt for David and took this opportunity to show it.

When some of David’s mighty men asked to be allowed to correct this situation – David wrongly attributed this act to God. Yes, David was humbled and extremely repentant for his sin – but he was also heaping condemnation upon himself that God had already stated He wasn’t doing to David. Furthermore – it says in the Law that no one shall “curse the ruler of they people”; so in order for God to be behind this cursing He would have to violate His own law (of which He would never do).

Much of the “bad theology” that people walk around with is based on this type of incomplete knowledge of the Word of God. As we have seen numerous times throughout our study of the OT – not everything that is attributed as “from God” actually originates with Him. The Bible records both the good and bad actions of people – along with their faulty thinking in regards to certain situations. (This is what verifies it’s authenticity!). One thing we can see as a constant though – is that sin brings death… every time.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

2 Samuel 11-12

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There are consequences for sinful choices. Even for those of us who have been forgiven of our sin – consequences still exist. As painfully demonstrated by David – our choices cause rippling effects throughout the cursed environment in which we live… wrecking havoc in various ways. In 2 Sam 11-12 we see David – beloved of God, highly favored, placed by God as King over His people, a key member of the ancestral line of the future Messiah – and yet as flawed as any human being. In this sordid account of a good man gone bad, David’s choice to sin with Bathsheba was not his first mistake. His first mistake was not being where he should have been in the first place.

In the spring, when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab with his servants and all Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites [country] and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.2 Sam 11:1 AMP

David should have been out at war with his army (as King’s did back then) – but instead he remained in Jerusalem. With idle time on his hands, he entertained a glance – which started him on the slippery slope to outright sin.

But then, instead of repenting and making things right, David attempted to manipulate the situation to cover his sin. (I know – none of us have EVER don’t that before!). By bringing Uriah home, David was attempting to get Uriah to spend time with his wife (and in effect cover up the illegitimate pregnancy by David). When this didn’t work – David continued his downward spiral by resorting to murder.

Sad how that works. Such a short ride from being in the wrong place – to murder.

Being the King, David had the power and authority to manipulate the situation before men… but God was a whole different story! As chapter 12 opens up we see the prophet Nathan confront David with his “hidden” sin. (Nathan proved he had guts by doing this!). Once it was brought out and exposed – David was quick to repent of his sin (which is why he is referred to by the Lord as a “man after my own heart”).

A couple of things that stand out here:

      1. God doesn’t mess around with sin. He tells David (through Nathan), For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. – 2 Sam 12:12 AMP Most sin is conducted in secret, in the dark – but eventually it will catch up to us and be exposed in the daylight. (Luke 12:2).

      2. David’s love for the Lord comes out in his repentance. Yes – David made a bad decision which cost him dearly… but that didn’t mean his love for the Lord didn’t exist. Once his sin was exposed (and his head cleared) – David repented with all his heart toward God. (He wrote Psalm 51 at this time… read it to see the pain he went through). It wasn’t the retribution from man that David feared – but his relationship with God.

      3. Sin removes the Blessing. Through Nathan – God informs David of what will now happen due to David’s decision. (Notice David doesn’t blame God for the circumstances that follow… he knew who was the cause of this!). The result of this is that God withdrew His protection from over David’s household and the baby born out of this union died. While in obedience, David had enjoyed the fruit of the Blessing… but out on his own – the Curse invaded his peace.

      4. God was quick to forgive. “And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”2 Sam 12:13 AMP. Remember – this is BEFORE Jesus came… so the rules were different. But still – God was quick to forgive the repentant heart as David had. This repentance restored David back into relationship with God – but it did not halt the unfortunate consequences that followed (as we can see by the first word of the very next verse… “But” or “Howbeit” or “Nevertheless”).

      5. Sin has a far-reaching wake. The devastating effects of this decision are laid out in 2 Sam 12:10-14. As we continue reading we will see these effects come to pass in David’s life – bringing with them much heartache. David’s children will be dysfunctional – murder and bloodshed will taint his heritage – and eventually his own son will betray him and seek to take his father’s throne. A lot to pay for a momentary thrill.

David made a choice… and that choice cost him dearly. As we continue reading through his life – keep in mind this fateful day. It isn’t God who brings the next calamities upon David… it is a mixture of decision (both David’s and others) which all are conducted outside of God’s desire.

It says in Romans that these things are written for us so that we can learn from others mistakes and have hope. “For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” – Rom 15:4 AMP. May we all learn from David’s mistakes!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

 

2 Samuel 9

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Lo-debar. A tiny village on the outskirts of the Jordan which you would not even realize was there without a map. Dirty – small – insignificant – forsaken. The very name means “A place without a pasture”. There is nothing there. No one of importance ever goes there – let alone lives there. But there is someone… a small crippled man named Mephibosheth. He doesn’t know it – but he is attached to a promise.

Remember when David was fleeing King Saul back in 1 Sam 18? It was at that time when he made a covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathon. “And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, even his sword, his bow, and his girdle. “– 1 Sam 18:4. A prince gives a servant all that he has of value. A promise is made between those two friends. Jonathon requests of David “you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever—no, not even when the Lord has cut off every enemy of David from the face of the earth” 1 Sam 20:8.

Two friends – making a promise – never to see each other alive again.  Do you remember that?

David remembered…

So in our chapter reading today from 2 Sam 9 – we see the now fully established King David seeking to find out if anyone from the “house of Saul” is still alive so that he can fulfill that long-ago promise and provide for that individual “for Jonathon’s sake”.

For Jonathon’s sake. Because of him and a promise.

So the only member alive is a lone son – crippled as a young boy – now living in the slums of the kingdom – Lo-debar – a place with no pasture, no future, no hope.

King David (true to his promise) has Mephibosheth brought to the palace in Jerusalem. He bathes him – dresses him in fine robes of purple (royalty) – and sets him at his own table to eat. He give shim provision for the future – never to starve in the mud again.

From King David – Mephibosheth received:

    • The PEACE of Jerusalem in exchange for the filth of Lo-debar.

    • The POSITION of family in exchange for that of an enemy.

    • The PROVISION of royalty in exchange for poverty.

    • The PRIVILEGE of the King’s table in exchange for scraps.

    • The PROMISE of a future in the castle in exchange for hopelessness in Lo-debar.

All for Jonathon’s sake.

Which brings us to you and I. Once we lived in Lo-debar. Wallowing in mud – imprisoned and condemned by our past – crippled by life’s circumstances. But God lifted us out of that “place with no pasture” and brought us to green pastures (Psalm 23). He bathed us in water (Eph 5:26) – washed us clean (Rev. 7:14) – put a purple robe on our shoulders (Isaiah 61:10) – and seated us at His table (Luke 14).

We have all been offered:

    • PEACE instead of fear. (Prov. 1:33)

    • POSITION as adopted children of God. (Eph 1:4-5)

    • PROVISION in abundance. (Jer 29:11)

    • PRIVILEGE at the King’s table. (Luke 14)

    • PROMISE of a successful future. (2 Peter 1:4)

All for Jesus’ sake.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK