April 23-24, 2016 Weekend readings

Saturday, April 23 reading: 1 Kings 19:1-21:29 “The Right and Wrong Use of Power”

Sunday April 24 reading: 1 Kings 22:1-2 Kings 2:18 “Bold Obedience”

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Have a great weekend.  See you again on Monday!

[For more reflections on these passages see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Photo by Abbey Knouff

Attack the Messenger

When the message doesn’t suit, attack the messenger.  It’s an old trick

Today’s reading:  1 Kings 16:21-18:46

It is a foolish but common ploy to attack the person delivering a true, irrefutable but inconvenient message.  A wise person will take heed to a warning and make amends quickly.  Today we meet a king who was neither wise nor godly and the prophet who delivered the unwelcome message.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days

God’s Absolute Justice

Here’s a perfect example of how God’s wisdom and justice is far above ours.

Today’s reading:  1 Kings 14:1-16:20

Baasha carries out God’s justice but also receives it.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

What Goes Around…

History.  Are we learning from it?

Today’s reading:  1 Kings 11:26-13:34

What we learn from history is that we don’t learn much from history.  But we could learn if we were wise.  Solomon and Rehoboam learned little from history, even what was recent history for them.

The Bible gives us millennia of history with God’s perspective and interpretation.  Learn from it.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

The Sad End of a Great King

“Few end well.”

Today’s reading: 1 Kings 8:62-11:25

Once again we see an example of how difficult it is to handle success and prosperity without succumbing to serious temptations and the pitfalls of sin.  The Bible shows us how to live cautiously and dutifully, before the face of God (Coram Deo).

Learn from Solomon, the great king with the sad finale.  Seek to end well.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

A Prayer for the Gentiles

Today’s reading: 1 Kings 7:13-8:61

God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel always had a global focus, an inclusion of the Gentiles (Genesis12:3).  Today’s reading gives another example of how the king of Israel, Solomon, understood this reality.  Clearly this attitude did not carry over during New Testament times and during the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Is your prayer life informed by the Word of God?  Solomon’s was in the case of his prayer at the newly opened temple.  He showed a sensitivity to God’s grace and mercy toward “foreigners”.  Heaven will include worshipers of God from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 7:9-10).  Be sure you are praying for them.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

April 16-17, 2016 Weekend readings

Saturday, April 16 reading: 1 Kings 2:13-4:19 “Prayer that Pleases God”

Sunday April 17 reading: 1 Kings 4:20-7:12 “The Golden Age of the Kingdom”

Have a great weekend.  See you again on Monday!cropped-563356_2863573884517_835129688_n.jpg

[For more reflections on these passages see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Growing Old is Not for Wimps

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 24:1-1 Kings 2:12

Here we find David nearing the end of his life and having some problems.  He makes a disastrous decision to insist on taking a census.  His health has deteriorated and he has very poor circulation.  He delays making an orderly transition of power to his son, Solomon, giving a competitor the opportunity to mount a takeover that nearly succeeded.

Certainly, it is not easy to grow old.  Those who have held high positions of power and authority can cause serious problems.  We need wise and loving people we can trust at the end of life. We need to listen to them.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Seeking Darkness or Light

Today’s reading: I Kings 21-22; John 3:1-21

25 (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. 26 He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)    I Kings 21:25-26

3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”                                                                                      John 3:3

Those who do evil avoid the light. They are not concerned about entering the Kingdom of God. They run from God, rather than seek Him.

Ahab was the worst example a man who “sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” On a whim, he had Naboth executed on trumped up charges because he had property that Ahab wanted. He worshiped idols. He was completely self-centered. Whenever he didn’t get his way he was “vexed and sullen.” He was urged on by his conniving wife, the evil Jezebel. Ahab’s death came by God’s providence, even though he had disguised himself in battle. As prophesied, the dogs licked up his blood in the vineyard he had taken from Naboth.

Jesus gave the Pharisee Nicodemus a stern warning. No one can see the kingdom of God without being born again, being born of the Spirit. Yet, Jesus goes on to say, it is not as if there are people who are desperately seeking to enter the kingdom and cannot find a way. The fact is that people love darkness, not light, because their deeds are evil. They hate the light. If they did what was true they would come to the light.

Ahab sought the darkness. All those who are not born of the Spirit seek the darkness. None of them are concerned about entering the kingdom of God.

How about you? Have you been born again? If so you will do what is true. You will come to the light. You will not love darkness. You will love the light. If you are not sure, but are concerned about making sure, that is a good sign the rebirth has taken place or is taking place in you. Pray for God to do His work of bringing new spiritual birth to your soul. I’ll see you in His kingdom.

Foolish Views of God

Today’s reading: I Kings 19-20; John 2

28 And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” I Kings 20:28

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.  John 2:23-25

A common two part error of many humans is to think they know God, but that God doesn’t know them. They attempt to use these false assumptions to their advantage, but it never works.

The Syrians under King Benhadad suffered a defeat by King Ahab and the army of Israel. Behadad’s advisers told him that the power of the God of Israel was limited to the hills and that He could do nothing if they fought Israel in the plains. God sent a prophet to tell Ahab that He would give them victory over Syria in the valleys to show His power. Although Israel’s army is described as “two little flocks of goats” and the Syrian invaders “filled the country,” God did give Israel the victory and King Benhadad was captured (I Kings 20:26, 29).

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He demonstrated His authority by cleansing the temple. Perhaps the people had heard that He turned water to wine previously. They professed to believe in Him, but Jesus saw through them. They only believed superficially. They wanted signs. They would ask for bread and healing, but they did not truly commit themselves to Him. They saw Jesus as a source of power and provision, but not their Lord and Master.

It is futile to try to manipulate God for personal advantage. It is dangerous to defy Him, believing that He is in any way limited. He is God, omniscient and omnipotent. As Paul warned the church in Galatia: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

While it is true that, to those who believe in Him, He is loving and that He has given His Son as an offering for our sins, He calls us to submit ourselves joyfully and gratefully to Him, not to mock Him by disregarding His commands or neglecting our worship and service to Him. Flee foolish views of God.  Serve Him.