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Friday, June 10, 2016

Crisis Religion (2 Chronicles 12:14)

"He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord."

Ecclesiastes 12 begins with the challenge to seek God in your youth and ends with a call to fear God with your life, "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Sadly, today's reading ends with a summary statement on Rehoboam's life, "He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord."

The simple fact is that Rehoboam sought the Lord only when there was a crisis. He did not have a daily habit of seeking the Lord. Like many today, Rehoboam lived a life totally focused on the here and now. Only when God overturned his world with calamity or judgment did Rehoboam wake up from time to time and seek the Lord. His was a crisis religion. It didn't help that his mother was an Ammonite, whose religion centered around Milcom (1 Kings 11:5), a pagan religion.

There are three types of seekers:
Casual seekers - those who don't have a true relationship with God but who are interested in religious things. These are comfortable people seeking to live comfortable lives and religion makes them feel good about themselves.
Crisis seekers - those who may know the Lord but, like the children of Israel, they know His works but they don't know His ways. These are clingy people who use religion as they would any other quick fix in life.
Consecrated seekers - those for whom seeking the Lord is a way of life. These are committed believers whose way of life is defined by seeking the Lord. They set their hearts to seek the Lord. They are intentional and disciplined in their pursuit.

At several crisis points in his life Rehoboam sought the Lord but because seeking the Lord wasn't the habitual pattern of his life he wound up doing evil. He was a crisis seeker.

Many who sit in the pews of our churches are casual seekers. They are nice people living passionless--but nice lives. God looks for consecrated seekers, for those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Be a diligent seeker. Diligent seekers after the heart of God don't quickly fall into sin.

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:14; Psalm 73:1-28; Psalm 88:1-18; 1 Kings 11:41-43; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31; 1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13-14

Eccl 11:1-12:14
  • What shift is taking place in Solomon's mood or mind as he concludes Ecclesiastes and what does he say that reveals this shift?
  • Death bed confessions have always been held to be true. What then, does the conclusion of Ecclesiastes say about Solomon at the end of his life?
Psalm 73
  • What does the Psalmist do that helps him put the prosperity of the wicked into perspective?
  • What does the Psalmist say about God that reveals his hope when he is tempted to despair?
Psalm 88
  • What does the writer of this Psalm communicate about his circumstances and about who God is for him in his circumstances?
1 Kings 11:41-43; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31; 1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13-14
  • Who succeeds Solomon as king and how is he described?
  • How did Solomon's marriage affect the future of his kingdom?
Turning truth into prayer
Pray Psalm 42:1-2 to the Lord.