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God‘s Love in Living.
How might you answer someone who maintains that it is negative or irresponsible to say that only God is able to give results?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” is a proverb from the King James Version of the Bible. Monsignor Ronald Knox of Oxford in his book Enthusiasm states; “Men will not live without vision; … If we are content with the humdrum, the second-best the hand-over-hand, it will not be forgiven us.”
Throughout the ages men have needed a vision, and have seen it, have been ready to follow it. From time to time we think we have found one – science, sociology, humanism – but because we do not weld them together with spiritual strength they alone cannot save our civilization from disaster.
We are living on the spiritual capital of our ancestors and capital unreplenished does not last forever.
We have worshipped success, humanism, politics, money, self expression. Each in turn has proved useless in a world where the thoughtful are haunted by images of ruined cities, scarred lives, and starving children. Our minds, like men and nations are divided. Many of us are haunted by the knowledge that within the next few years, world society must lay hold of a way of life that works – or perish. We must discover the purpose of our existence and go back to the basics of working towards it.
God is always there – whether you realize it or not, whether you acknowledge him or not. When you identify and integrate God’s presence and LOVE in your life, the impact of his presence on you and your life can be an empowering force. Just consider God is Good, Creator and Controller of all.
(1 Clement 15:7-8)”And above all he with his holy and pure hands, formed man, the most excellent, and, as to his understanding, truly the greatest of all other creatures, the character of his own image.”
“For so God says ‘Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness. So God created man, male and female created he them.”
1 Kings Book Overview
|1010 b.c.||David becomes king
|970||Solomon becomes king
|930||The kingdom divides|
|925||Shishak invades Jerusalem
|910||Asa becomes king of Judah
|875||Elijah begins his ministry|
|874||Ahab becomes king of Israel|
|872||Jehoshaphat becomes king of Judah
|857||Ben-hadad attacks Samaria|
|853||Ahab dies in battle|
|Purpose:||To contrast the lives of those who live for God and those who refuse to do so through the history of the kings of Israel and Judah|
|Author:||Unknown. Possibly Jeremiah or a group of prophets|
|Setting:||The once great nation of Israel turned into a land divided, not only physically, but also spiritually.|
|Key Verses:||“As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, always obeying my commands and keeping my laws and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘You will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel’” (9:4, 5).|
|Special Feature:||The books of 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book.|
The book starts with Solomon and ends with Elijah. The difference between the two gives you an idea as to what lies between.
Solomon might never have been born had it not been for the palace scandal between David and Bathsheba. Not the best of beginnings. He picked up some of his father’s traits, both Good and bad. Like his dad, he got off to a good start. But like his dad, he had a weakness for women that undid him.
You have to wonder what it was like growing up in a house where your father had several wives and your siblings wore swords to the dining table. Solomon did well at first, praying for wisdom and building a temple that would have bankrupted most nations.
He took seven years building it. But then he spent thirteen years building a palace for himself. Somewhere around mid-life he got off track. His taste for wives (he was known to have accumulated some 700 or so) led him to worship whom they worshiped. This, in turn, led him to worship whom they worshiped. This, in turn, led him to worship whom they worshiped. This, in turn, led him away from God. His nation followed suit, and even the preaching of Elijah couldn’t bring them back.
Not that Elijah didn’t try. Toward the end of this book you would have read of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In a classic my-God-is-greater-than-yours encounter. Jehovah won hands down. God was exalted. But Queen Jezebel, a leading Baal-Worshiper, was infuriated.
She ordered Elijah’s death, so Elijah ran. He ran until he was so tired and discouraged that he sat down under a bush and said, “Let me die”.
What does God do with tired servants who want to quit? In a tender moment the God who’d brought fire on the mountain sent food to the prophet and whispered his affection in a “quiet gentle sound”.
What a Father.
What a book! In between Solomon and Elijah, you’ll find it all. Rebellion, corruption, courage, faith. You’ll see that their world is much like ours. Things haven’t changed much.
And God? God hasn’t changed at all. The quiet, gentle sound that encouraged Elijah? Listen as you read. It will encourage you.
“I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to do it!” he yells at his mother as he storms out of the house. This is a familiar scene in our society. The words change, but the essential message is the same: A person is not open to advice because his mind is closed. Some advice may be sought, but it is heeded only if it reinforces the decision already made or is an easier path to take. It is human nature to reject help and to do things our way.
A much wiser approach is to seek, hear, and heed the advice of good counselors. Solomon, the world’s wisest man, urges this in Proverbs (see 11:14; 15:22; 24:6). How ironic that his son and successor, Rehoboam, listened instead to foolish advice, with devastating results. At Rehoboam’s inauguration, he was petitioned by the people to be a kind and generous ruler. The older men counseled him to “serve the people … and give them a favorable answer” (12:7). But Rehoboam agreed to the cruel words of his peers who urged him to be harsh. As a result, Rehoboam split the kingdom. Learn from Rehoboam’s mistake. Commit yourself to seeking and following wise counsel.
The main events of 1 Kings are David’s death, Solomon’s reign, the division of the kingdom, and Elijah’s ministry. As Solomon ascended the throne, David charged him to obey God’s laws and to “follow all his ways” (2:3). This Solomon did; and when given the choice of gifts from God, he humbly asked for wisdom (3:9). As a result, Solomon’s reign began with great success, including the construction of the Temple—his greatest achievement. Unfortunately, Solomon took many pagan wives and concubines who eventually turned his heart away from the Lord to their false gods (11:1-4).
Rehoboam succeeded Solomon and had the opportunity to be a wise, compassionate, and just king. Instead, he accepted the poor advice of his young friends and attempted to rule with an iron hand. But the people rebelled, and the kingdom split with 10 tribes in the north (Israel) ruled by Jeroboam, and only Judah and Benjamin remaining with Rehoboam. Both kingdoms wove a path through the reigns of corrupt and idolatrous kings with only the clear voice of the prophets continuing to warn and call the nation back to God.
Elijah is surely one of the greatest prophets, and chapters 17 through 22 feature his conflict with wicked Ahab and Jezebel in Israel. In one of the most dramatic confrontations in history, Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. In spite of incredible opposition, Elijah stood for God and proves that one plus God is a majority. If God is on our side, no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31).
Bathsheba was the unlikely link between Israel’s two most famous kings—David and Solomon. She was lover and wife to one, mother to the other. Her adultery with David almost brought an end to the family through which God planned to physically enter his world. Out of the ashes of that sin, however, God brought good. Eventually Jesus Christ, the salvation of mankind, was born to a descendant of David and Bathsheba.
David and Bathsheba’s story shows that little wrong decisions often lead to big mistakes. It is likely that neither was where he or she should have been. Bathsheba may have been rash in bathing where she might be seen; David should have been at war with his army. Each decision contributed to the beginning of a very sad series of events.
Bathsheba must have been devastated by the chain of events—unfaithfulness to her husband, discovery of pregnancy, death of her husband, death of her child. We are told that David comforted her (2 Samuel 12:24), and she lived to see another son, Solomon, sit on the throne.
From her life we see that the little, day-to-day choices we make are very important. They prepare us to make the right choices when the big decisions come. The wisdom to make right choices in small and large matters is a gift from God. Understanding this should make us more conscious of the decisions we make and more willing to include God in our decision making. Have you asked for his help with today’s decisions?
@Strengths and accomplishments
w Became influential in the palace alongside her son Solomon
w Was the mother of Israel’s wisest king and an ancestor of Jesus Christ
@Weakness and mistake
w Committed adultery
@Lessons from her life
w Although we may feel caught up in a chain of events, we are still responsible for the way we participate in those events
w A sin may seem like one small seed, but the harvest of consequences is beyond measure
w In the worst possible situations, God is still able to bring about good when people truly turn to him
w While we must live with the natural consequences of our sins, God’s forgiveness of sin is total
w Where: Jerusalem
w Occupations: Queen and queen mother
w Relatives: Father: Elim. Husbands: Uriah and David. Son: Solomon
w Contemporaries: Nathan, Joab, Adonijah
“When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was very displeased with what David had done” (2 Samuel 11:26, 27).
|A. The United Kingdom (1:1–11:43)
1. Solomon becomes king
2. Solomon’s wisdom
3. Solomon builds the Temple
4. Solomon’s greatness and downfall
|Solomon was a botanist, zoologist, architect, poet, and philosopher. He was the wisest king in the history of Israel, but his wives led to the introduction of false gods and false worship in Israel. It is good for us to have wisdom, but that is not enough. The highest goal in life is to obey the Lord. Patient obedience to God should characterize our lives.|
|B. The Divided Kingdom (12:1–22:53)
1. Revolt of the northern tribes
2. Kings of Israel and Judah
3. Elijah’s ministry
4. Kings of Israel and Judah
|When the northern kingdom of Israel was being led by wicked kings, God raised up a prophet to proclaim his messages. Elijah single-handedly challenged the priesthood of the state religion and had them removed in one day. Through the dividing of the kingdom and the sending of Elijah, God dealt with the people’s sin in powerful ways. Sin in our lives is graciously forgiven by God. However, the sin of an unrepentant person will be handled harshly. We must turn from sin and turn to God to be saved from judgment.|
|The King||Solomon’s wisdom, power, and achievements brought honor to the Israelite nation and to God. All the kings of Israel and Judah were told to obey God and to govern according to his laws. But their tendency to abandon God’s commands and to worship other gods led them to change the religion and government to meet their personal desires. This neglect of God’s law led to their downfall.||Wisdom, power, and achievement do not ultimately come from any human source; they are from God. No matter what we lead or govern, we can’t do well when we ignore God’s guidelines. Whether or not we are leaders, effectiveness depends upon listening and obeying God’s Word. Don’t let your personal desires distort God’s Word.|
|The Temple||Solomon’s Temple was a beautiful place of worship and prayer. This sanctuary was the center of Jewish religion. It was the place of God’s special presence and housed the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments.||A beautiful house of worship doesn’t always guarantee heartfelt worship of God. Providing opportunities for true worship doesn’t ensure that it will happen. God wants to live in our hearts, not just meet us in a sanctuary.|
|Other Gods||Although the Israelites had God’s law and experienced his presence among them, they became attracted to other gods. When this happened, their hearts became cold to God’s law, resulting in the ruin of families and government, and eventually leading to the destruction of the nation.||Through the years, the people took on the false qualities of the false gods they worshiped. They became cruel, power-hungry, and sexually perverse. We tend to become what we worship. Unless we serve the true God, we will become slaves to whatever takes his place.|
|The Prophet’s Message||The prophet’s responsibility was to confront and correct any deviation from God’s law. Elijah was a bolt of judgment against Israel. His messages and miracles were a warning to the evil and rebellious kings and people.||The Bible, the truth in sermons, and the wise counsel of believers are warnings to us. Anyone who points out how we deviate from obeying God’s Word is a blessing to us. Changing our lives in order to obey God and get back on track often takes painful discipline and hard work.|
|Sin and Repentance||Each king had God’s commands, a priest or prophet, and the lessons of the past to draw him back to God. All the people had the same resources. Whenever they repented and returned to God, God heard their prayers and forgave him.||God hears and forgives us when we pray—if we are willing to trust him and turn from sin. Our desire to forsake our sin must be heartfelt and sincere. Then he will give us a fresh start and a desire to live for him.|
Solomon reaps the reward of David’s military success. He inherits peace and security and so launches Israel’s “Golden Age.” Following Solomon’s death, the division of the country into the two separate nations of Israel and Judah brings an end to this era of strength. Both nations than entert45 a period of decline.
The atmosphere in the early chapters of 1 Kings is one of grandeur as Solomon’s wealth, wisdom and fame is set forth. But Solomon’s end is most pitiful, as he turns to foreign wives and their false gods. Jeroboam follows suit, as do other kings of northern Israel and southern Judah. All told, 19 kings in the North and 20 rulers in the South are alternately profiled in 1 Kings. Tracking the rise and fall of both kingdoms can be confusing, but it helps to remember that none of Israel’s kings were faithful to God during this time, while only half of Judah’s rulers showed any faithfulness.
1 The Lord hates cheating, but he delights in honesty.
2 Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
3 Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty.
4 Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living is a safeguard against death.
5 The godly are directed by their honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.
6 _ The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them.
7 When the wicked die, their hopes all perish, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
8God rescues the godly from danger, but he lets the wicked fall into trouble.
9 Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.
10 The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the godless die.
11Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.
12It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.
13 A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.
15 Guaranteeing a loan for a stranger is dangerous; it is better to refuse than to suffer later.
16 Beautiful women obtain wealth, and violent men get rich.
17 Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
18 Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
19 Godly people find life; evil people find death.
20 The Lord hates people with twisted hearts, but he delights in those who have integrity.
21 You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.
22 A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
23 The godly can look forward to happiness, while the wicked can expect only wrath.
24 It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.
25The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
26 People curse those who hold their grain for higher prices, but they bless the one who sells to them in their time of need.
27 If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!
28 Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
29 Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.
30 The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise.
31 If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, how much more true that the wicked and the sinner will get what they deserve!
“The day of judgment” refers to when we die or to the time when God settles accounts with all people. On judgment day, each of us will stand alone, accountable for all our deeds. At that time, no amount of riches will buy reconciliation with God. Only our love for God and obedience to him will count.
Proverbs 11:7, 8
These verses, like 10:3, contrast two paths in life but are not intended to apply universally to all people in all circumstances. God’s people are not excluded from problems or struggles. If a person follows God’s wisdom, however, God can rescue him or her from trouble. But a wicked person will fall into his or her own traps. Even if good people suffer, they can be sure they will ultimately be rescued from eternal death.
The mouth can be used either as a weapon or a tool, hurting relationships or building them up. Sadly, it is often easier to destroy than to build, and most people have received more destructive comments than those that build up. Every person you meet today is either a demolition site or a construction opportunity. Your words will make a difference. Will they be weapons for destruction or tools for construction?
A good leader needs and uses wise counselors. One person’s perspective and understanding is severely limited; he or she may not have all the facts or may be blinded by bias, emotions, or wrong impressions. To be a wise leader at home, at church, or at work, seek the counsel of others and be open to their advice. Then, after considering all the facts, make your decision. (See the chart “Leadership.”)
Godly people find life because they live life more fully each day. They also find life because people usually live longer when they live right, with proper diet, exercise, and rest. In addition, they need not fear death because eternal life is God’s gift to them (John 11:25). By contrast, evil people not only find eternal death but also miss out on real life on earth.
Physical attractiveness without discretion soon wears thin. We are to seek those character strengths that help us make wise decisions, not just those that make us look good. Not everyone who looks good is pleasant to live or work with. While taking good care of our body and appearance is not wrong, we also need to develop our ability to think and make wise decisions.
Proverbs 11:24, 25
These two verses present a paradox: We become richer by being generous. The world says to hold on to as much as possible, but God blesses those who give freely of their possessions, time, and energy. When we give, God supplies us with more so that we can give more. In addition, giving helps us gain a right perspective on our possessions. We realize they were never really ours to begin with, but they were given to us by God to be used to help others. What then do we gain by giving? Freedom from enslavement to our possessions, the joy of helping others, and God’s approval.
One of the greatest resources God gives us is the family. Families provide acceptance, encouragement, guidance, and counsel. Bringing trouble on your family—whether through anger or through an exaggerated desire for independence—is foolish because you cut yourself off from all they provide. In your family, strive for healing, communication, and understanding.
A godly person is a model of a meaningful life. Like a tree attracts people to its shade, a godly person’s sense of purpose attracts others who want to know how they, too, can find meaning. Gaining wisdom yourself can be the first step in leading people to God.
Contrary to popular opinion, no one sins and gets away with it. The righteous are rewarded for their faith. The wicked are punished for their sins. Don’t think for a moment that “it won’t matter” or “nobody will know” or “we won’t get caught” (see also 1 Peter 4:18).