Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Ahaziah, the son of Ahab is now on the throne. Remember, the last week of our study we glimpsed the death of Ahab. Ahab had a moment of repentance but not a complete turnaround. He did not give his whole heart to God. Yet, because of his moment of repentance God delayed judgment. We will see it come to pass as we study the next two sons of Ahab.
Read 1 Kings 22:51-53
“Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, because he walked in the ways of his father and mother and in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.”
Ahaziah had a reign of only two years. Reading more about Ahaziah in 2 Kings chapter one we find out that He had a fall that eventually caused his death. His reign is summed up as doing evil. He walked in the wicked ways of those before him. His Baal worship was apparent because in his moment of crisis, after his fall, he sent servants out to inquire of Baal-Zebub. He went to this false God to inquire of his future. Like a fortune teller in our day.
God is the only one who knows the number of our days. He is the only all-knowing one. God was upset that Ahaziah inquired of false God’s rather than the one true God. Was there no God in Israel, God asked him.
Because of his actions Elijah met the servants on their way to Baal-Zebub and told them what God says the outcome would be for Ahaziah. The future for him was death. He would die in the bed he was resting in from his fall and die.
Ahaziah had no children to take his place so his brother was the next in line to take the throne. It is important to note that Moab, a bordering nation, tries to attack after each king’s death. That is so true of our enemies today. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan knows when we are weak and will hit us at our most vulnerable times. Just like Moab and their attacks. They were strategically planned to hit when it hurt. That is how the enemy works.
Jehoram now takes the throne of Israel in turbulent times. Judgment is coming we know from God’s word to Ahab. The question is when? This is a chance yet again for true repentance on Jehoram’s part. But he didn’t quite hit the mark. He is a little better though then those before him in his family line. He reigned 12 years. Yet he still did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He however, did not sin like his mother and father because he put away the sacred pillar of Baal. He however persisted in the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 3:2-3).
Because of their unwillingness to repent, a new king named Jehu will take this families place. We will read about him next week.
1-Like the Moabites, hitting someone hard when they are weak and vulnerable is playing dirty, can you say that you have seen this same kind of hit in your life from our enemy? Explain.
2-God is so patient with us. He waits for us to repent. He will not force us. Jehoram did do less evil in the eyes of the Lord but still didn’t give his full heart to God. Good deeds are not enough to get us right with God. We can never earn it. Coming to accept His free gift of salvation and His invitation to walk with Him is the only way we can become right before His eyes. Can you share a personal testimony about your walk with God?
3-Why do you think Ahaziah inquired of the false god instead of the one true God? Have you even skipped going to God about something first when you really should have? What were the results?
Thank for keeping up with this. You all are doing great. I am loving growing in the word with you!Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Well, today we are off to see the premiere of High School Musical 3! Following the picture we are having a house full of girls for a sleepover. They are all so excited. To be honest, I am too. We are creating fun memories for them. Despite the sacrifice the memories are most important.
Last night I got to participate in a community awareness group for Lyme disease. There is a wonderful documentary called "Under Our Skin" that portrays the illness well. I have been Lyme free for over three years now. At first I was a little worried about that when others there were so sick but I know it gave them hope to see that you can recover in God's perfect timing and plan. I was also amazed at how all the people I spoke with could relate to how this illness does bring you closer to God than you ever expected. Because of its devastation, God is really the only one you can lean on during those dark times. He is the only one who can truly understand.
I asked them if they could trade this trial and go back to "normal" would they? The answer was no. I told them that I felt the same way about it too. There is just something that God does in those hard times. We had many people in the community come together and make connections. It was a beautiful thing. Please pray for those who are suffering. That is the most important thing to do for them.
We also are off today to the kidney specialist for my oldest daughter. I fear bad news because her tests came back worst than before but she and I both know that God is in control. If He sees that surgery is best then that is what we will have to do. She has such a precious heart for God too, nothing like I have seen before. I know that part of that reason she has such a heart for God is because she has learned the same thing, the importance of leaning on God through her trial.
The girl's Bible study is coming along really well. Thanks for praying. I am so missing your blogs but I am hoping to make a stop in soon. Maybe during the slumber party sometime! :) Hope you all have a great weekend and I will update on our doctor's visit later today.
*******UPDATE. Hey y'all I just am praising God for His goodness. Kaitlyn does not need surgery! The initial report given to us showed her in the danger zone so as Kaitlyn prayed for healing, I half-heartedly did. I could not figure out how God could change what was already read on the films. I believed He could heal but the doctors would go by the test so what they saw was important. Well, God showed me. After a study of the films today she is NOT in the danger zone. It is still borderline. So with some practical things to continue doing we have a follow-up appointment to do an ultrasound to check the kidney and bladder again. If that looks well then we are in really good shape. God never ceases to amaze me. He is always able. Thanks for your prayers.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A Very Wicked King: Ahab
Ahab was the next king in line. He reigned for 22 years. He was the most wicked king yet. This is the word of God describing Ahab, “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him (1 Kings 16:30-33).
God looks at our hearts. Whether we outwardly express it or not, God sees all things. Ahab considered it trivial to commit the detestable sins of Jeroboam. It didn’t even make him flinch. Also, he married a very wicked woman, Jezebel. Ahab went as far as setting up an altar for the false God Baal in a temple he built for him. He also made another idol Asherah. Both things were extremely detestable in God’s eyes. Yet the thing that scares me the most is that Ahab considered it trivial.
The Bible is clear about things being black and white. Isaiah 5:20-21 states, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
It is dangerous ground to call those things God calls bad good. That is why when appointing a leader we MUST know where they stand on moral issues. They will lead our nation down a slippery slope if they do not agree with God’s law. As we have been reading these past few weeks about these kings it is important to note that each one went a little further away from God. We cannot allow that to happen in our country.
There is so much wickedness to cover that is recorded about Ahab’s reign. Most of the accounts are listed in 1 Kings 16 to 1 Kings 22. It is a good read if you have the time. The great prophet Elijah enters the scene here as well. Since there is so much I wanted to point out another thing about God.
Although Ahab was the most wicked king, God still wanted to reach him. Is it possible to reach those who seem unreachable? Even the most wicked? You bet! That is why Jesus desired to come and die. That is why He defeated sin and death to reach us sinners. A free gift that we just have to accept and receive. His love is amazing. 2 Peter 3:9 states it like this, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Ahab had his moment of repentance. I want us to take a look at it. Elijah is told by God to go and deliver a message of judgment to Ahab. Pay very close attention to Ahab’s response.
“Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me, my enemy!"
"I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. 'I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.' "And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.' "Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country."
(There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son" (1 Kings 21:20-28).
Though Ahab repented on this occasion which I believe was sincere because God sees the heart. God delayed the judgment. What a patient God we serve. But again, Ahab’s behavior quickly returned to following his own way instead of God’s. Because of this his life was ended in a battle.
1-History repeats itself. A leader will only lead a nation morally by his belief system. How does that make you feel as a nation going through a tough election year? Does it influence how you vote?
2-Is anyone on this earth beyond the hope of Christ? Why or why not?3-List a few ways we can be sure our repentance is true and not temporary
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Monday, October 20, 2008
*********Update:Per DH's request I had to take his adorable picture off of here. He is too cute but I respect his wishes. :(
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
King Baasha reigned over Israel for 24 years. He also did evil in the eyes of the Lord like the kings before him. He took the throne by force. You see a pattern of decline here? It is so obvious that when God is taken out of the center of a place it goes downhill. Evil prevails. That is not what God desires for us. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Again, God raises up a prophet to speak against this evil. The prophet Jehu declared the word of the Lord saying, "I lifted you up from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins. So I am about to consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country" (1 Kings 16:2-4).
We have to understand. We serve a God who is compassionate and slow to anger (Psalm 145:8). God is good. God is also just. He is the perfect balance. In these times of the kings there was a huge amount of sin. Generation after generation of decline in morality. It makes me stand in awe of God who is so patient with His children. He desires that all will come to Him in repentance but it is our choice (2 Peter 3:9).
As the prophet stated, Baasha’s family will fall like Jeroboam’s did. Again, he had a chance at making a difference. A chance for turning the people back to God but he failed. Consequences follow disobedience.
Baasha’s son takes the throne. His name is Elah. He is a man who also lacked judgment. He was killed by a commander of some of his chariots. His killer was named Zimri. Zimri comes into a situation where he finds Elah drunk and murders him. He then takes the throne by force.
Zimri was also a man who lacked judgment. As soon as he took the throne read what he did.
“As soon as he [Zimri] began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha's whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu- because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols” (1 Kings 16:11-13).
This act, though evil, fulfilled the prophecy spoken over Baasha’s family. A very sad ending. Remember these are choices that wicked men make. God is sovereign and knows what choices will be made. God does not make this evil happen. God cannot tolerate wrong (Habakkuk 1:13).
The people did not like what Zimri did. So they appointed Omri, the commander of the army, king and went after Zimri. Zimri then locked himself in the citadel of the palace and set it on fire all around him. This was his end. He also did evil in the Lord’s eyes.
Now Omri has a chance to do right in the eyes of the Lord. Let’s see what happens during his reign.
Unfortunately the northern kingdom was split over a new leader. Half of them wanted Omri and the other half wanted a man named Tibni to reign. Because Omri’s group was stronger than Tibni’s, Omri became king and Tibni died.
The things Omri did are listed here:
“He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.
But Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him. He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols” (1 Kings 16:24-26).
So we see a horrible cycle of sin. It seems that each generation gets worse. Each king falls further away from God. It is such a sad thing to watch. Next week we will look at Omri’s son, Ahab. He will turn out to be the wicked king of all.
1-Looking at our nation, do you see a pattern of decline? Yes or No. Explain.
2-If we chose leaders who morally disagree with what God’s law states we are setting ourselves up for judgment. Just like the people of Israel. Remember Romans 15:4 tells us that the things from the past were written to teach us. What can we learn from their patterns and apply to our lives today?
3-Like father-like son. Generational patterns are showing here. The things we do will greatly affect our kids and the next generation. Are we making choices with this in mind?
4-Like the times during Omri’s reign the nation was divided. Does that sound familiar? We are called the United States of America yet we are far from united with this election coming up in three weeks. Any thoughts about this?
5-When men make choices separate from God they are wrong choices. Can you testify to any decisions you have made without consulting with God and the outcome?
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I begged her to let me make cupcakes, which I can pull off, but she wanted a cake. So here is my attempt at a cake! :) Just wanted to share. I am so not domestic. At least it will still taste good!
Monday, October 13, 2008
That is why I have not been to your blogs as much lately. I will be back around soon. Thanks!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Today I was getting a few grocery items while my girls were at their art class. The Walmart is pretty close so that is why I chose to go there. When I was ready to check out I was cutting it really close to the time I needed to get my girls from their class.
The line I finally got into had a sweet older couple in it already but they only had about as much stuff as I did. We were both slightly over the 20 item mark. Plus they seemed so sweet so I just got in line behind them. Once the belt moved up showing some space for my items I started loading them up.
Behind me comes two guys while I am loading my groceries. They had already purchased something it seemed because one guy had a Walmart bag already. He had one other item that perhaps he forgot to get? I am not sure why he didn't just hit the fast lane. But they had this scheme.
They came up behind me and were acting really interested in the baseball cards. They passed by me and the other older couple and then as the one friend just left, the other with the item slowly came back and parked himself between me and the older couple who were almost finished with their order.
I just stared at him in disbelief. He was going to "cut" line in front of me! What is this, elementary school?! I realize he only had one item and I had over 20 but his intention was a "sneaky" cut-in-the-line. And get this, he had to be at least 45! I am not talking a young guy here. He should have known better for goodness sake.
When the older couple was finishing up their payment he went ahead and handed his prilosec to the cashier. She set it down while she was finishing up with the couple. I just chuckled to myself. Is this really happening?
Then he intentionally cut in and started checking out without looking at my solid stare into the back of his head. I think I could have burned a hole in it. I prayed about how to handle this and this is what I did.
I said to him, "Sir, you could have just asked me and I would have let you go first. I understand you have one item and I have many. But you should have asked. I have kids I have to pick up and am running behind. But if you just asked I would have let you go in front of me."
Do you know he had the nerve to cuss me. He said he was there first which was a bold face lie. Then he said some other mean things and went on.
It was the principle of the matter. Because I look so "sweet" people think they can take advantage of me. I felt like this was one that needed to be called out. I did it in love. Of course this is the kind of thing that continues to happen to me at Walmart.
Everyone else around our exchange tried to pretend they didn't see a thing. That is the most unhealthy thing I have seen. Anyway, bless his heart, his heartburn must go deeper than he even thinks. Please lift a prayer for him. He needs heart repair.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
A New Reign
Jeroboam reigned 22 years in the northern kingdom. God sent a prophet to cry out against the corrupt altar that Jeroboam built, instead of repentance anger filled Jeroboam. He did not turn back to God.
Jeroboam’s son gets ill at this time and he sends his wife in disguise to inquire of the prophet Ahijah about his son’s outcome. This is the same prophet who brought the first word from God to Jeroboam. The very word that told him that God hand-picked him to be king of most of Israel. I imagine he probably sent his wife in disguise because his pride left him unable to humble himself. That is what it seems anyway. Jeroboam had a great opportunity but because of his failure to follow God, he lost his chance. Instead he used his influence to lead the people away from God. He knew the consequences because God told Jeroboam what He expected from him in the beginning of this assignment. Jeroboam did not prove faithful.
Ahijah has bad news for Jeroboam. His wife goes back to tell him this is what the Lord says:
“7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.”
-1 Kings 14:7-9
Now Jeroboam was deemed the one who did more evil than all before him. I shudder to think of what that means? Remember God wiped out the world because of all the evil in Noah’s days. Was Jeroboam even more evil than all of them? Those people in Sodom and Gomorrah where there were none righteous but Lot and his family. Was Jeroboam more evil than all of them? There was great evil in the world yet Jeroboam surpassed it.
Jeroboam looked like he had a great start but the end was disastrous all because He did not seek the One who established his rule. Is there anything we can learn from this for today? Our country will not prosper until we humble ourselves before our holy God and turn back to Him. The economic crisis, energy crisis, and the other devastation is a way to get our attention. Will we turn back to our King? Oh I hope so with all my heart.
Here are just some of the consequences of Jeroboam’s disobedience as listed in the rest of chapter fourteen. If you have the time I encourage you to read it all. The consequences are very serious. We must take our God and obedience to Him seriously. He is good but He is also just. His ways never change.
1-Because of Jeroboam’s sin, the kingdom will be torn away from his family line.
2-The ill boy will die when his mom steps into town.
3-Disaster will come to Jeroboam and his family.
4-No one in Jeroboam’s family will have proper burial except the young son who dies because he is the only one God found any good in.
Now those are some serious consequences. But Jeroboam did some pretty bad things. I think the key to understanding God in regards to his treatment of Jeroboam is knowing and remembering that God sees our hearts. Not one of us is perfect. We all sin. God sees the intentions of our hearts. David committed sins as well but God knew his heart. God also knew Jeroboam’s heart. God is the only righteous one to judge because He does see straight into our hearts.
The next in line for the kingdom is Nadab, the son of Jeroboam. We know the kingdom is torn from this family though so it will not surprise us that he only reigned for two years. He persisted in the evil his father did in the Lord’s eyes.
During a siege against the Philistines, one of Nadab’s brother Israelites from the tribe of Issachar struck him down. His name was Baasha and he becomes the next king of Israel. He also killed all of the rest of Jeroboam’s family fulfilling the prophecy given through the prophet Ahijah. Next week we will take a look at Baasha’s reign.
1-We have a great influence in the world around us. Do we use our influence on it or does it influence us?
2-Above all else my heart’s desire is to prove faithful to God. What about you? Is there anything you can say you have not been faithful to do up to this point? If so why not do it now?
3-Any thoughts you want to share about our country, our distance from our God, and the state we are in?
4-What is the condition of your heart? Will you spend some time asking God about what He sees? Remember there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Listen to the Holy Spirit and His guiding. If there is sin then confess it and move on. If it is clean then hear God say well done, my faithful one.
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Monday, October 6, 2008
K-Do you believe in the Lord Jesus?
K-Do you want to get baptized?
K-Okay, I baptize you in Jesus.
H-Let's do it again. Now let's baptize Zelda.
Phrases repeated again.
H-Let's watch the baptism DVD and copy it okay?
K-Okay. MOM, where is my baptism DVD?
Now they are going to watch and copy and baptize all the people they can think of in their pretend water! :)
It makes a mom's heart happy to hear this kind of play. It was their choice and they could chose many things today. What sweet hearts and passion they have for the Lord Jesus. Thank You Jesus for drawing them to You.
"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Join others on this topic for Marriage Monday here.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I have learned so much from my precious baby. I am still in the elementary school of my studies but God started preparing me beforehand for this precious gift.
My heart was drawn to the study of psychology. I was fascinated with the mind and how it worked. I was interested in child psychology. I could not get enough of it. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. It fascinated me in a new way.
After graduation I ended up working at a children's home with children with some of these behavioral issues. It was great hands on experience. I got to see first hand that the only true help for any one was Christ. Everything else was just a temporary fix.
Moving forward a decade, God chose a precious child to entrust us to raise up for Him. I consider this a great privilege. Though things were not easy from the very beginning. She is sweet, friendly, bright, and beautiful child. Yet with all of these qualities there was something that was not quite "right." I could not really put my finger on it but a mother knows. Deep down I knew something was not right but I prayed that it would go away.
Today was a tough day with our child. She has good days and bad days. Today was a particular difficult day. These days are rare. It is hard to know what is best for her on these days. It is hard to know what works. It is easy to feel like a failure of a parent. It is easy to feel discouraged. But I hang on to the hope that God knew what He was doing. He gave us the perfect child and He is teaching us all things.
What is exactly wrong at this point we are not completely sure. The doctor gave a few suggestions of disorders. He confirmed her behavior is outside the "normal" functioning range. He confirmed that that what we are doing with her is exactly right. He also confirmed that home schooling her is the best option for this time. God knew. God had me prepared for this precious child. He has great plans for her. We are working it through together as a family.
The best lesson I have learned and continue to learn through it is love covers. If I just pour love in her no matter what the situation looks like it covers the sin, the bad behavior, the obsessive thoughts, and the misunderstandings. Love softens the heart. Hers and mine. Loving the unlovable breaks through the barriers. This is loving like Christ. This is how Christ loved me to draw me to Him. This is what true love looks like and I am blessed to get a chance to sit in the classroom of life in this crash course.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Here we are sitting on an oceanfront cafe. It was so beautiful.
Here is a fun pic of friends and food.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
A Look at Jeroboam-Part Two
Now Jeroboam makes the worst decision of his career. He is still living in fear and does not realize he is God’s appointed servant. He doesn’t realize that he can make a great kingdom for the people of Israel if he does it God’s way. God hand-picked him for an amazing task, he should have known whose he was.
Maybe deep down he did realize this but his actions tell us differently. Jeroboam chooses to turn from God’s way and establish his own way. This is where any one of us could so easily fall. This is why we must always be on guard. Jeroboam will end up making one of the worst decisions of Israel’s history. These decisions have an impact that causes generations to follow the way of sin by moving away from the one true God.
The people of Israel were required to make regular pilgrimages to the house of God. God established this sanctuary in the city of David. In Jerusalem was where God wanted this place to be. This was His holy place. The only place to go to God’s house.
Read 1 Kings 12:26-27
“26 Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam."
Jeroboam should have known better. Remember what God spoke to him, “37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever"(1 Kings 11:37-39).
How easy it is to forget the promises that God gives us. That is why it is so important to read the word of God daily. God’s promises are in His word. We must live by those in complete confidence or we will go our own way. God’s ways are best. Jeroboam was told to keep God’s statutes and commands. He was told God would be with him.
Fear creeps in again or maybe it is pride. Either way he does not want to lose his kingdom to Rehoboam. He thinks that when the people make their pilgrimages to the temple in Jerusalem that God requires in His law they will turn against him and return their allegiance to king Rehoboam. Yet, he had a promise from God. How is it that we so easily forget? God is forever with us. He establishes our works. He is in control. Yet, we like to intervene and help God where He clearly does not need help. When we step in for God we create problems.
Read 1 Kings 12:28-30
“28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.”
Now I would like you to look at a map here-http://www.bible.ca/maps/maps-divided-kingdom.htm
Make a note of where Dan, Bethel, and Jerusalem are in comparison to one another.
Jeroboam took it on himself to make gods and place them in two cities in the Northern Territory to make it “easier” for the people to worship “God”.
What in the world? He was not seeking advice from God even though it was God who established His kingdom. He did not trust God to protect his kingdom though God promised this as well. He decided to rule his way instead of God’s. He made the kingdom his own instead of God’s. He lost sight of God. This was a very dangerous place to be.
Jeroboam’s influence leads God’s people to sin. Though we are each personally responsible and accountable for our own decisions, it is important we have a leader who leads us in the right direction. This situation is very similar to when Aaron made a golden calf for the people to worship in Moses time. Jeroboam had to have known the stories. Yet he did not learn from the past. Instead, he did what seemed right to him. Even though the stuff that Jeroboam did to this point was against God, he did things far worst.
Read 1 Kings 12:31-33
31 “Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.”
Now Jeroboam has fallen way out of line. He is now “helping” the people worship even more conveniently by establishing shrines on various high places. He starts appointing priests from whoever he wants which God only reserved for the Levites. He also appoints a festival different from the ones that God has already appointed. It seems that Jeroboam is playing God.
It is important to note that all of these things spiraled from the emotions of fear and pride. Things are now completely out of control. These events lead the people of Israel into great sin. God’s appointed went bad. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. How grieved this must make God yet God is sovereign and patient with us. He never gives up on us as far gone as we get.
Though sin abounds in the northern kingdom, there were still some God-fearing people. Some people who believed God and took a stand.
Read 2 Chronicles 11:13-17
13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD. 15 And he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.
Now I want you to note the importance of these events. The priests and Levites took a stand. They refused to stay in the place where true worship of God did not exist. They left everything they had to come and stay in the southern kingdom. The lay people who had their hearts set on God followed the Levites and priests example. They too came down to the southern kingdom. Land was a big deal during these times. God gave this land of promise to each tribe. These tribes willingly left their God-appointed land to be in the place where true worship of God was happening. This is a big deal.
It makes me ask myself, how much am I willing to give up in order to truly worship God? I admire their stand.
1-Have you ever tried to “help” God in a situation but your “help” just made the situation worse?
2-Name one promise from the Bible that you need to cling to this week. Write it on a note card and carry it with you this week as a reminder.
3-Are you easily influenced to follow people even if they are leading you in the wrong direction? Why or why not?
4-Has God given you a responsibility to lead anyone? Perhaps it is a family or children or workers? If God has given you this position then it is important you are aware of your influence and how you use it.
5-Like the godly left in Israel, have you ever had to leave something dear for the sake of following Christ?
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley