Spiritual Rants: June 15 “Things Going South” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Kings 14:1-15:24 Acts 10:1-23 Psalm 133:1-3 Proverbs 17:7-8

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Old Testament: 1 Kings 14:1-15:24

They may have had a lot of things but Israel and Judah had a lot of bad kings.

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1 Kings 14:1-20   A Fool Who Couldn’t Fool Anyone

Jeroboam’s son got sick so he sent his wife to Shiloh to find out from Ahijah, the prophet who had anointed him king, what would happen to their son.  She disguised herself so the prophet would not realize she was the wife of the reprobate king.  But Yahweh tipped him off.

When Jeroboam’s wife arrived, Ahijah said, “Come in.  I know who you are.  Here’s the word for you.  Your husband disobeyed and so all his descendants will drop dead and be eaten by dogs and wild birds.  Go ahead and go home.  When you get there, your son will die and be mourned by Israel because he’s the only one of your clan that Yahweh found to be somewhat righteous.”  Everything the prophet said happened.

Jeroboam reigned for twenty-two years and then his son, Nadab, took his place.

1 Kings 14:21-31   Things Going South

Meanwhile, down in Judah, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem.  He was forty-one when he became king. During his reign, the Israelites also sacrificed in the high places.  Things got so bad that there were actually male prostitutes used in worship.  They were doing all the things that the pagans had done in that area years before.

After five years, King Shishak of Egypt came and took all the gold and wealth out of Rehoboam’s palace.  He even took the gold shields that Solomon had spent so much money on.  Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields.

Jeroboam and Rehoboam fought all the time.  After Rehoboam died, his son Abijam took his place.

1 Kings 15:1-24  Abijah (bad), Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good) of Judah

Abijah only reigned three years but they weren’t good years.  He committed all the same sins as his father, Rehoboam, and grandfather, Solomon.  He didn’t follow David’s example.  Yahweh let his line continue because of the promise He had made to David.  Abijam fought all the time with Jeroboam of Israel.  His son, Asa, took over after he died.

Asa began his reign in Jeroboam of Israel’s twentieth year.  He reigned for forty-one years.

Asa did a pretty good job.  He removed all the pagan sacrifice sites and removed the male prostitutes.  He even had his mother put away from his palace because of her pagan worship.  He had all the holy instruments put back in the Temple that were needed for worship.

There was a war between Asa and the king of Israel, Baasha.  Asa took all the valuables out of the Temple and his palace and used them to bribe the king of Damascus, Ben-hadad, into making a treaty.  The plan worked and Ben-hadad conquered Baasha.  Asa sent out his men to break down all the fortifications of Baasha and use the material to fortify his own town in Geba in Benjamite territory.

When he got older, Asa’s feet were killing him.  Then he died and Jehoshaphat, his son, took over.

New Testament:  Acts 10:1-23

Peter got an important message, for good things the Gentiles a fortunate presage.

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Acts 10:1-23   Twenty-twenty Vision

There was a centurion in Caesarea named Cornelius.  He was part of the Italian cohort and loved the Lord.  One day about 3 in the afternoon, he had a vision of an angel who appeared to him to tell him to go and find Peter.  So he sent out three of his men to get Peter in Joppa.

Peter was up on Simon’s housetop praying the next day about noon.  He was waiting for lunch to be served and was hungry but “fell into a trance” (v. 10) and saw the sky open with a big sheet dropping down by its four corners.  In it were all kinds of animals and creatures in it that were unclean for Jews to eat.  In the vision, God told him to kill them and eat them.  Peter said, “Are you kidding?  You know I don’t do that!”  A voice came to him, “It’s all clean now.”  The whole thing was repeated again and then again.  Then the sheet went back to Heaven.

Peter was a little confused but then the men from Cornelius showed up at the front gate of the house.  While Peter was still contemplating the vision, the Holy Spirit told him to go down and open the gate for the three men.  So Peter went down and opened the gate for the men and said, “Hey, what’s happenin’?”  They told Peter that their boss had sent them to retrieve him so they could hear his message.  So Peter invited them in to stay overnight.  The next day he went back to Caesarea with them with a few other of the disciples.

Psalm 133:1-3   A Wisdom Song By David

Whenever the righteous together cling, to God it is fellowship and a good thing.

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Psalm 133:1-3   Sloppy Agape

Life Together was the name of a book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  One of the most profound thoughts in the book was that Christians do not always have the privilege of fellowship with each other.  Circumstances can preclude that blessing.  Later in life, he found that out.  He was imprisoned for standing up to Hitler in Germany during World War II.  He was executed right before the Allies entered Berlin and would have freed him.  I doubt he had much fellowship in the German prison.

The Jews certainly had fellowship as they approached the hill of Mount Zion, their destination as pilgrims.  Remember that psalms 120-134 were the songs of ascent, recited as they marched uphill toward Jerusalem.  When you can find genuine fellowship, it is a great thing (v. 1)!

The fellowship was compared to the anointing of the first high priest, Moses’ brother, Aaron (v. 2).  That would have been a sloppy mess.  A gallon of olive oil mixed with about 50 pounds of dried and powdered spices (cf. Ryrie).  Sounds like quite a mess to me!  As it dribbled down off Aaron’s beard, it would have flowed over his breastplate that had the twelve names of the tribes inscribed on it.  That would further signify the unity of the entire nation.

Hermon was about two hundreds miles from Mount Zion in the north (v. 3).  But the dew that fell on both mountains, north and south, was heavy enough to water all the vegetation for the agriculturally-based Jews.  It was life for them just as the Spirit is life for us in this dispensation and the glue that holds all Christians together.  If the Spirit is not present, there is no true Christian fellowship.

We are refreshed when we admit to God that we have done wrong (cf. Acts 3:19).  If we walk in the light of purity and confession of sins, we will have fellowship with one another (cf. 1 John 1:7).

Proverbs 17:7-8   American Heritage

A bad person may use persuasive talk for buying but be careful when leaders are lying.

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Fools, aka unbelievers in Proverbs, usually don’t care what comes out of their mouths (v.7a).  Go to a comedy club some time.  Wait.  Don’t.  You won’t enjoy most of what comes out of comedians’ lips in most modern clubs.  Things didn’t used to be that way in America.

It is not fitting for leaders to lie (v. 7b).  Hey.  Do our modern politicians read Proverbs?  Probably not.

One of the best ways to schmooze someone is to offer them something in exchange for what you want.  A quid pro quo, as it were.  I don’t think Solomon is really suggesting someone do that.  Though it is a very practical thing to do.  I think he’s saying that someone who does business that way is a crook.  Bribes are condemned in Exodus 23:8, Deuteronomy 16:19 and 27:25.  It is also clear in Proverbs 6:35; 18:16; and 21:14 that bribes are effective.  But that is not to say that they should be used.  Practicality is not morality.  And our country is quickly falling into a state that no longer remembers her heritage and principles.  And that is not a good thing.

Scripture:   Acts 10:14   NASB    “Holier Than Thou”

“But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’”   Acts 10:14

God was doing a new thing.  He was sending the gospel outside Israel to the Gentiles.  Paul, who was saved in Acts 9, would be the apostle to the Gentiles (cf. Rom. 11:13).  But I view Peter as God’s “point man” (cf. Matt. 16:18) in leading the new Christian movement.  He was in on the scene every time the gospel advanced to a new group of people (cf. Acts 2:14; 8:14; 10:32; 11:12-14).

Have you ever known anyone who knows more than God?  Have you ever fallen into that category? (I probably have!)  Peter fell into that category.  God gave him a direct order to eat food that Jews considered unclean.  Since Peter was so righteous, he refused God.  God had to tell him three times to eat what he considered unclean (cf. Acts 10: 16).

People have a tendency to try to please God in their own power.  The Bible calls this our “flesh” (cf. Rom. 7:5, 14, 18, 25).  Our flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:6-8).  The only way we can please God is to rely on the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 7:25; Rom. 8:14; Heb. 11:6).

Do you know more than God?  That’s not a good thing.  Trust only God’s Word.  Rely only on Him.

If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Whoever teaches you should be relying on the Word of God.  The best teachers still get things wrong.  Test everything by God’s Word (cf. 1 Thes. 5:21).

Are you trusting any particular teacher or church more than the Word of God?  Check yourself out.  God, the Holy Spirit, will help you (cf. Ps. 19:14; 139:23-24).

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   A Fool Who Couldn’t Fool Anyone

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