November 23, 2022
Thank you for your participation in prayer each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival among us. As we pray and wait for God to work, our character is developed.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character” (Romans 5:3-4).
F. B. Meyer said, “The prosperity of the nation rises or falls according to the character of the ruler and his people, illustrating for us the important principle that obedience is the condition of blessing.”
1 & 2 Kings were considered one book in the original manuscripts but were separated due to their length. The two books embrace a period of four and a half centuries – from the rise of Solomon in B.C. 1015 to the captivity of Jehoiachin in B.C. 562.
Each king was assessed from God’s point of view. Depending on their character and resulting behavior, they are recorded as doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD or doing what was right in the sight of the LORD.
1 Kings begins with the last days of David. David was not flawless, but his heart was positioned toward God. He loved God; therefore, he loved what God loved: His house, His city, His people, and His honor.
Solomon had a good start, and he too gave God a place in his life. When God offered him his desires, he did not choose fame, wealth, power, or pleasure. Solomon asked for discernment and wisdom to lead God’s people (1 Kings 3:5-9). That pleased the Lord.
God gave him a desire to build a temple, and he did this with all his heart. You can read the full story from 1 Kings 5-10. These were the happy days of Solomon.
His heart was drawn away from God by the love of foreign women, and things changed. He likely took these wives to make political alliances, but in the end they captured his heart. “Solomon clung to these in love” (1 Kings 11:2). As a result he brought idolatry into his realm and it displeased the Lord.
As we pause and reflect on this historical figure, it is good for us to ask ourselves if there is anything vying for our love for God, seeking to displace Christ from the throne of our hearts.
From chapter 12 onward, the book records the tragedy of a divided kingdom. It presents the reigns of both Judah to the south, and Israel to the north. The division was led by Jeroboam, who led God’s people further in idolatrous sin.
God in His goodness sent spokesmen to His people in the form of prophets. They gave instruction, warning, and direction, with the purpose of turning hearts back to God.
The life of Elijah is highlighted from chapters 17-22. He lived during the reign of wicked King Ahab, who did what was evil before the Lord (1 Kings 16:30).
Elijah’s life was governed by the following phrase, which he spoke to the king: “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand…” (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah lived with awareness that the face of God was before him. Everything he did was done in the presence of God.
One of the high points of Elijah’s life was the showdown on Mt. Carmel when he stood firm with God against 850 false prophets. He challenged the people by saying, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). That day was a huge victory for Elijah and for the work of God in His people.
Chapter 21 tells Naboth’s story. He owned a vineyard near to the palace of King Ahab. The king wanted the vineyard, and yet Naboth was unwilling to part with it because it was his inheritance from the Lord. God valued the inheritance of His people and told them to hold onto their inheritance and never let it go. Naboth’s obedience cost him his life; the queen had him killed and seized the land for the king. But even after his death, God called the vineyard Naboth’s and brought judgment upon the wicked king and queen (1 Kings 21:18-24). Naboth was a man of true integrity.
Each life, regardless of position, power, or prominence, is lived in the presence of God, whether or not a person lives with this awareness. May God help us to always remember that we are in His presence. And as He seeks to mold our character into maturity, may we allow Him to do His perfect work in us.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel