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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

When Kings Go Bad (1 Kings 11:11-12)

 "So the Lord said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David, your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it our of the hand of your son."

God allows Solomon to remain as the king of Israel for many years, even though he grievously sins against the LORD. His promise to David prevents God from taking the entire kingdom away from Solomon.

God also allowed King Saul to remain king of Israel after he rebelled against theLORD. The Lord sends Samuel to inform him that his descendants would not inherit his kingdom; He allowed him, however, to continue reigning for another thirty plus years.

Simple truths we can learn from God's allowing both Saul and Solomon continued or prolonged service after they had not kept His covenant and decrees:
  • God doesn't always remove wicked leaders promptly. Just because God allows someone to continue in leadership doesn't mean that they have the blessing of God upon their lives. Positions are poor indicators of God's blessings.
  • God's allowing prolonged service by Solomon has more to do the promises He made to David than with Solomon's present behavior. Again, prolonged service, in and of itself, isn't a reliable metric for faithfulness or God's blessing but of promise God has made to others before us.
  • Just as God raised up adversaries against Solomon so God allows adversaries to arise in order to get our attention and bring us to repentance.
  • God promises Solomon that his son will have the majority of his kingdom torn from him. Sometimes, then, the difficulties our children face has to do with our past foolishness or failures.
  • Jereboam's inheriting the kingdom has more to do with God's rending the kingdom from Solomon than it does with Jereboam's personal character--Jereboam, a former official of Solomon rebels against Solomon. Sometimes your blessing is actually the result of another's rebuke.
God gave Saul, Solomon, and Jereboam a choice and none of them kept His covenant and decrees. Each man suffers from the choices they've made. Each man's blessings came not from their obedience but rather from God's covenant faithfulness to promises He had made before. So today, men in prominent places who have apparent success may, in actuality, be living off of the grace of others.
Questions for today's Chronological reading:
1 Kings 11:-40
  • Review the regulations regarding the choice of kings that Moses recorded in Deut. 17:14ff. How has the violation of those decrees affected Solomon's leadership and the future of his kingdom?
  • What does this tell you about the consequences of our disobedience?
  • Upon what basis does God promise to bless Jereboam?
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2:26
  • As Solomon reflects on his life what has power, indulgence, and prosperity taught him about life?
  • What does the test of pleasure teach Solomon about wine, women, and song--about life?
  • What does complete giving over to indulgence lead to?
  • How would you describe the quest of most Americans?
  • What does man need in life to experience genuine pleasure?
Turning truth into prayer:
Pray for our president, our lawmakers, and judges. How we need leaders who are more concerned about the commands and decrees of God than about having positions of power.