1 Kings 14:1–15:24
King Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, was severely ill, so he asked his wife to disguise herself and travel to Shiloh, where the prophet Ahijah was, to find out the fate of their child (he may have even hoped that he’d pray for their son). Ahijah was the prophet who had predicted to Jeroboam that one day he would be the king of Israel (a prophecy that came true – 1 Kings 11:29-31). Jeroboam was acutely aware that the religion he had established in Israel was fake and fabricated, so in order to genuinely hear from God, he must send his wife somewhere else.
When Jeroboam’s wife arrives, although Ahijah’s eyes are nearly blind, his spiritual senses are keen – he not only knows who it is, but he announces that he has been sent to her…with bad news.
The child would die upon her return home, when she stepped into the city, but that was only the beginning. The house of Jeroboam (his male descendants) would be extinguished, slaughtered as judgment for the sins of this king who had been given such an amazing privilege and opportunity. In establishing a new religion he was the root cause for the sin of the nation and the eventual carrying away of Israel into captivity by the Assyrians. As to Jeroboam’s descendants, the dogs would eat the dead bodies in the city and the birds would eat the dead bodies in the field, none would get a proper burial except this child – for God saw good in him.
Jeroboam blew it, big-time! God had given him such a wonderful promise woven within the prophecy – the prophet Ahijah made it clear:
1 Kings 11:38 (NKJV) “Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you.”
But Jeroboam valued the kingdom more than the King of kings. He was not loyal in the least and forfeited his opportunity. God help us not miss out on the life He has for us.
While Jeroboam was reigning in the Northern Kingdom, Rehoboam was reigning in the Southern Kingdom. This son of Solomon also did evil in the land worshipping idols and setting up altars wherever he could. We even read of “perverted persons” in the land at that time.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The high hills and spreading trees were favorite locations for these cultic shrines. Male shrine prostitutes (sodomites) were used in pagan worship. The same practices that moved God to purge the land of the moral cancer that plagued it in Joshua’s day were those to which the Israelites returned under Rehoboam’s leadership.”
It’s tragic to read of the swift fall of God’s people. The gold shields that Solomon had made were taken away by the Egyptians. King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze. We not only see the decline economically, but also spiritually – in the Bible gold symbolized deity while bronze symbolized judgment.
Rehoboam reigned for 17 years and was followed by his son Abijam’s brief stint as king (3 years) – he also walked in the sins of his father. We’re not told how he died, but his son Asa reigned after him. By God’s grace Asa was a good king in Judah who reigned for 41 years (longer than Saul, David, or Solomon).
1 Kings 15:11–12 (NKJV) “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David. 12 And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.”
One of the things I’ve learned in life is all that matters is that we strive to do what is right “in the eyes of the LORD.” The standards of the world and the applause of any man are not to be our goals – God is our goal – His approval is all that matters!
Asa banished the perverted people, he even demoted his grandmother, for she had made an obscene image of Asherah – Asa’s heart was loyal to the LORD…all of his days.
We’ll see when we study Chronicles that Asa wasn’t a perfect king, but his prayer life and trust in the Lord, especially in the early years, are a blessing to read of.
As we study the kings of Israel and Judah we will see that there were no good kings in the Norther Kingdom of Israel (not one). But there were some good king in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, and Jehoshophat, the son of Asa, was another one of those “good kings.”
In Acts 10, God not only obliterates Jewish misconceptions regarding the Gentiles, He also takes away the dietary laws – from now on it would be okay to eat non-kosher food. Later Paul would write in:
1 Timothy 4:4 (NKJV) “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.”
God was doing new things and Peter struggled with it initially, “Not so, Lord…” (Acts 10:14) would be considered an oxymoron. “You can say ‘Lord,’ and you can say ‘Not so,’ but you cannot say, ‘Not so, Lord.’” – W. Graham Scroggie
It’s significant to me the way both of these men were prayer warriors. Peter was praying at noon, and Cornelius was praying till 3PM. It also appears that both of them were men who fasted. Cornelius was a devout man, who feared God and whose generous alms had risen as a “memorial before God.” The Lord spoke to Cornelius in Caesarea and to Peter in Joppa leading them together so that Peter could share the Gospel with him and his family.
Pastor Chuck comments, “It’s interesting to me how God brings His purposes to pass. On one end, He was working in the heart of Cornelius; on the other end, He was working in the heart of Peter. God works on both ends.”
This breakthrough to the Gentiles would be huge, epic. We’ll see that in the next two chapters. Make no mistake about it, God wants the whole world to be saved (John 3:16), all men and women (1 Timothy 2:4), He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Peter would be used by God to open the door to the Gentiles, and then we’ll see Paul and others will be used to God to open the floodgates.
Usually when we consider the concept of unity, we speak of strength. If I were to bind together 20 twigs, what’s weak individually is then strong corporately.
But this Psalm speaks not necessarily of strength, but of the blessing of unity, even the fact that it’s “pleasant” for brethren to dwell together in unity. Pleasant is defined as, “Giving the sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment.” When we’re not in it for ourselves, there’s no “I” in team, when we love one another, esteem others better than ourselves, when we know the flow of a family, the organization, or even a church, it’s an atmosphere of joy…it’s pleasant.
David describes this unity as poured out oil on Aaron the priest, and dew descending on Mount Hermon. Clearly these are indications of blessings from above. We look to God as the source of unity and we know our God blesses unity.
May we all have that heart to be one, especially among the brethren (the church) (John 17:11, 21-22).
V. 7 – Excellent speech may refer to eloquent words, but it primarily refers to true words, spoken according to God’s will, and in line with God’s Word (a fool wouldn’t talk like that.)
Lies are not fitting for a prince, or leader.
V. 8 – The NIV calls this precious stone “a bribe.” Of course the Bible does not condone bribery, but there may be something said about prosperity to those who learn to be givers – generous people.
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.