Tuesday, April 17, 2012

1 Kings 12-14

Daily Reading
Daily Thought

There are three ways to rule.

By faith. By the word of the prophet Ahijah, Jeroboam was to be one king of a divided kingdom, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes'" (1Kings 11:31). The servant of Solomon, not the son, would be king of the northern tribes of Israel. 

By force. "To his son I will give one tribe" (1Kings 11:36). Rehoboam would rule the south. The son of Solomon the wise, Rehoboam preferred strength, and said to his people, "My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions" (1Kings 12:10-11). Little wonder many rebelled and turned to Jeroboam.

By fear. Anointed by God, Jeroboam nevertheless was afraid that "if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah" (1Kings 12:27). The Temple was in the south at Jerusalem, so Jeroboam made religion convenient to the north. Rather than travel to the Temple, he brought God to the people in the likeness of two golden calves, placed close to home in Bethel and Dan. Pleasing the people, he set up altars throughout the land and chose priests from any tribe, not God's chosen tribe of Levi. By convenience and accommodation, faith was made weak.

By faith, Israel would be one nation under God, but Rehoboam ruled by force and Jeroboam  by fear, "and there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually" (1Kings 14:30).

Daily Prayer

God, may You always be first place in my life. May You be my first love, my full devotion. With all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, may my love never waver or cease. May I seek Your Word, Your ways, Your will. 

Keep me from fear. May I live not for position or popularity or power, but for Your pleasure. 


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