1 Kings 12:20–13:34
It’s tragic to see the division in the nation of Israel, but that’s what sin does, it divides. Satan’s plan is to divide and conquer. He knows we’re weaker when we lose our oneness (Mark 3:24). Much of this division is due to the sins of Solomon.
Jeroboam is crowned the ruler of the Northern Kingdom – Israel, while Rehoboam is crowned the ruler of the Southern Kingdom – Judah, ultimately consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
In the get-go Rehoboam wants to go to war. He musters up an army of 180,000 chosen warriors, but the Lord sends a godly man his way commanding him not to do this: We read in:
1 Kings 12:24 (NKJV) “Thus says the LORD: ‘You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.’ Therefore they obeyed the word of the LORD, and turned back, according to the word of the LORD.”
Solomon’s sin led to God’s discipline, something Rehoboam had to accept.
Jeroboam’s wheels immediately begin to turn. He knows the people will travel south to Jerusalem to sacrifice at the Temple, and he’s aware of the fact that this might turn their hearts back to Rehoboam. So what does he do? He invents his own religion. He holds on to God’s covenant name, but he fashions golden calves as idols, sets up a couple of fancy altars, ordains his own priests, and devises in his own heart, certain feast days (religious holidays). As we read through the Kings and Chronicles we will find that the Northern Kingdom never left the worship of these calves. I have actually traveled to Israel and I’ve seen the northern altar – you can still sense the tragic darkness when you’re there.
This leads us to the bizarre story of the man of God who traveled from Judah to Bethel to pronounce judgment upon this altar, that one day a child by the name of Josiah, a descendant of David, would sacrifice pagan priests upon this altar (it would be God’s judgment upon this religion – fulfilled 290 years later in 2 Kings 23:15-16).
The man of God also mentioned a sign to prove this prophesy would certainly come to pass – the altar would split and the ashes would pour out. When King Jeroboam heard the prophesy, he stretched his hand against the man of God, his hand went limp, and the altar was split. Jeroboam asked the prophet to pray for him – which he did, and he was immediately healed. You would think that this would bring Jeroboam to repentance, but it didn’t. Hardness of heart, and the dabbling with the demonic makes a man religiously unreasonable, even to something so obvious to others.
What happens next to the man of God is a heavy lesson for us all. May we never believe or follow anything ANYONE else may tell us (even if it’s an old prophet) if what they tell us contradicts the Word of God. Because he believed the old prophet over God’s Word, the man of God, who had been used by God in such a miraculous way, was killed by a lion (symbolic of Satan – 1 Peter 5:8).
Can you imagine the challenge it must have been for the church in Jerusalem to forgive and trust Saul? He had arrested Christians; some had been put to death, and now, all of a sudden he’s on their team? It was hard for them initially, but Barnabas stepped in and vouched for Saul. This definitely lines up with the character of Barnabas, the name given to him means, “Son of Encouragement.” What a wonderful ministry!
Wherever Saul went he was “too hot to handle,” and the Hellenists tried to kill him. So the church sends Saul home to Tarsus, for his own protection, but God would be preparing him for the office of an Apostle.
Acts 9:31 (NKJV) “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”
As the church spreads geographically, and multiplies numerically, they’re also growing spiritually. Peace, edification, the fear of the Lord, the comfort of the Holy Spirit – all beautiful benefits of being a part of the Body of Christ.
God uses Peter, not only to heal a lame man, but to raise a dear sister from the dead. Wow! As a result of these miracles people turned to the Lord (Acts 9:35) and “many believed on the Lord” (Acts 9:42).
O Father, I see what happens when the Spirit uses the Scriptures and Saints who are surrendered – signs will follow. Please Lord, reignite the book of Acts in our hearts today…please Lord.
What an amazing Psalm, not just about the Temple, David wanted to build a house for God, but the house that God built for David. There was this promise to David regarding his descendants, culminating in the Messiah, who would one day, rule from Jerusalem – forever!
Zion eventually became another name for heaven…and this Psalm definitely has heavenly hues.
There in heaven will be the “temple” of God, the tabernacle of God; there in heaven will be the throne of God, the saints of God, the bread of God, the priests of God – clothed with salvation, “…and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.” (can you imagine the joy in heaven?)
Jesus, the Anointed One will have the “horn” of all power. His enemies will be judged – and His crown will flourish, forever and ever.
I’m not there yet, but I know – – I’ve heard the absolute blessing of being a grandparent, of having grandchildren. I spoke to one couple yesterday who has been married close to 62 years, they have 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Truly they’ve been “crowned” by God.
And there should be mutual appreciation – in both directions; to have grandchildren is glorious, and to have your parents or grandparents, is glorious as well!
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.