Spiritual Rants: June 7 “Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Kings 2:1-3:2 Acts 5:1-42 Psalm 125:1-5 Proverbs 16:25

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Old Testament:  1 Kings 2:1-3:2

Evil men no matter how they grew, in the end will get their final due.

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1 Kings 2:1-9  Final Instructions

David gave Solomon his blessing as he was dying.

He also reminded him to “take care” of a few people that had wronged him during his life.  Joab was first on the list.  David had already cursed him but he had several times killed people David wanted alive, specifically, Abner, Amasa, and his own son, Absalom.

On a positive note, David told Solomon to be kind to the relatives of Barzillai the Gileadite who provided for him while he was in exile fleeing from Absalom.

David also wanted a “hit” put on Shimei.  He was the one who walked alongside David sprinkling dust on him and cursing him.  If this was a movie, I’d be cheering when he gets it.  He only got off the hook because he approached David on a day of rejoicing when David was coming back into Jerusalem.  David told Solomon that he was a “wise man” and he’d know what to do.  Stay tuned.  He did know what to do.

1 Kings 2:10-27  Adonijah Dispatched

David reigned forty years, seven were in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.  Solomon took over.

Adonijah approached Bathsheba, Solomon’s mom.  Bathsheba said, “You’re not going to kill me, are you?”  Adonijah said, “I just want to talk to you.”  (I love the KJV here, “I have somewhat to say unto thee.”  Why don’t we talk like that now?)  Bathsheba said, “Let’s hear it.”  (KJV:  “Say on.”  See what I mean?)  Donny asked Bathsheba to talk to King Solomon on his behalf and ask if he can have Abishag, the concubine who had been tending to David, as a wife.”  Bathsheba said she would.

Bathsheba went and asked Solomon for a “small request” (v. 19).  “I’d do anything for you, mother,” Solomon replied.  Bathsheba said, “What would you think of giving Abishag to Adonijah as a wife?”  “Oh, sure,” replied Solomon.  “Why don’t we also give him the whole kingdom and throw in Joab and Abiathar, the priest?”  Then Solomon said, “I cut that creep some slack and then he throws it all back in face!  Goshdarned if I don’t off that sleazebag before the sun goes down tonight!”

You see, it was all a trick!   Since Adonijah was Solomon’s older brother (v. 22), he actually had first dibs on the kingship, especially if he was married to one of David’s concubines who counted as being a wife.  Solomon sent Benaiah out to take care of things right then.  And he did.

Solomon told Abiathar, the priest, to take off to Anathoth to his home area.  Solomon said he deserved to die but he had carried the ark for David and suffered along with David when he suffered.  But Solomon relieved Abiathar of his priestly duties.  This completed the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning Eli that none of his descendants would continue in the priesthood.

1 Kings 2:28-35  A Final Joab

Joab knew he was in trouble for attaching his cart to Adonijah though he didn’t support Absalom.  He took off for the horns of the altar and it was reported to Solomon.  Solomon again sent Benaiah out to do the “job” on Joab.  “Come out . ..  the kings says . . . , ” Ben said to Jo.  “Nope.  I’ll just die here, thank you,” said Jo.  Ben told Solomon who said, “OK.  Do what he says.   He killed two men that were better men than he was and he did it without cause.  Remove the blame from our household and do him in.”    So he did.

Solomon replaced Joab with Benaiah as the commander of the armed forces and he replaced Abiathar with Zadok as the high priest.

1 Kings 2:36-46  Shimei Is Dust

Solomon called for the dust-thrower, Shimei.  Solomon told him to  build a house in Jerusalem and not to leave it.  If Shimei ever left home, he would be offed.   Shimei said that that sounded like a good plan.

Guess what Shimei did.   He left his home.  Two of his servants left and were hanging out with the king of Gath.  So Shimei saddled up and went out to bring them back.  When he got home, Solomon asked to see him.  “I thought we had a deal,” Solomon said.   “You know you were an evil guy and what goes around comes around, didn’t you?”  Solomon had Benaiah do a number on Shimei, too.

The kingdom was now firmly in the hands of Solomon.

1 Kings 3:1-2  Life at Home

Solomon married the Pharoah’s daughter to align himself with Egypt.  He brought her to Jerusalem until he had his own palace finished as well as the Temple.

New Testament: Acts 5:1-42

It’s not a good idea to the church cheat, the Holy Spirit you can never beat.

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Acts 5:1-11  Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe

There’s a car show on the radio and they talk about a law firm called Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe.  A couple in the early church will go down in history as an early version of that firm.  They’re named Ananias and Sapphira.  Notice no one names their kids Ananias or Sapphira?  There’s a reason for that.  They tried to fool the Holy Spirit.  Not a good idea.  Especially in the early church.

As we already saw, everyone was so excited about knowing Jesus and being in church together that they pooled everything they had.  They even sold their possessions and houses to give to the church for the common good.  But A and S thought they could look good to everyone and keep some of their money, too.  So they sold some of their property and conspired together to keep some of the proceeds for themselves.  They wanted to look good to everyone so they said they were giving the whole amount to the apostles.

Through the Holy Spirit, Peter knew what they had done.  He asked them, “Why did you lie to the Holy Spirit about giving the whole amount to the church when you know you held some of it back for yourselves?  Satan inspired you but you could’ve just kept the property or been truthful about what you done!  You haven’t pulled a fast one on us but you can’t pull a fast one on God!”

After Peter finished speaking, Ananias keeled over . . .  dead!   That scared everyone.  The younger guys in the congregation covered him and up and hauled him out and buried him.

About three hours later who traipses in but Ananias’ wife, Sapphira.  She was clueless.  Peter asked if she had sold the land for the price Ananias had stated.  She said she had.  “Really?” Peter asked.  “You guys tried to put one over on the Holy Spirit?  The guys who just carried out your husband are now going to carry you out.”  And she keeled over and gave up the ghost.  They buried her beside her husband.  Then everyone really got scared.

Acts 5:12-16   The Shadow Knows

Lots of miracles were occurring amongst the apostles to show that what they were saying was from God.  Everyone else was afraid to hang out with them but they had a lot of respect for them.  Crowds were streaming in to see them so much so that they were having to pile up the sick on the alleys.  They were hoping Peter’s shadow would fall on them so they could be healed.  People were even hauling the sick in from the areas around Jerusalem and they all were being healed, too, and demons were absconding.

Acts 5:17-32   Always Room For Jail-O

The High Priest and all his buds were really getting jealous.  They again “laid hands” on the apostles, not in a good way, and put them in jail . . . again.  They didn’t count on an angel of the Lord coming during the night and opening the latch.  The angel told them to go preach in the Temple and give the gospel.  So they went into the Temple when the sun came up and started at it.

When the HP got there, he called the council into session and had even invited all the leaders from all around Israel.  Then he sent to the prison for the apostles.  The officers of the court went out to get them but found the jail all locked up, the guards standing outside but no apostles!  The HP and his guys were confused.  Then they got more confused when they found out that Peter and the gang were in the Temple giving the Gospel!  The captain of the officers went down to get them but was nice to them this time because he was afraid of being stoned by the people.

The apostles were brought before the council and the HP asked them,”What are you doing?  We told you not to keep teaching this stuff but you keep blaming us for that Man’s death.  Peter answered him,”We work for God not you.  Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead but you were the ones who hung Him up.  Now He’s sitting at the right hand of God and is the Prince and Savior.  He would forgive you all if you’d let Him.  We’ve seen what’s going on.  So has the Holy Spirit and now He is living in those who have obeyed God by trusting in Jesus.”

Acts 5:33-42   A Cooler Head Prevails

When the HP and his boys heard Peter saying all this they were under tremendous conviction (v. 33, “cut to the quick,” cf. John 16:8).  There was a Pharisee there who was properly labeled in this case because he was actually fair.  His name was Gamaliel.  He taught the Law of Moses.  He asked that the apostles be put outside for a few minutes.  He told the council that they need to chill out.  He said that not that long ago a guy had risen up with a following but was killed and all his followers took off.  Nothing came of it.  Then, Gamaliel said, another guy started getting a following and the same thing happened to him.  Gamaliel suggested that the council just leave these guys alone:  if they’re bogus, they’ll dissipate but if they are from God, they shouldn’t be messed with.  They could even find themselves on the wrong side of things.

The council decided to take his advice . . . kinda.  They flogged the apostles and again told them to shut up about Jesus.  But then they let them go.

You’d think maybe the apostles would be sore about the whole thing.  Well, they were sore but spiritually they were ecstatic!  They were actually happy that they could suffer for the cause of Christ.

They ignored the advice of the council and every chance they got, every day, wherever they went, they explained the true meaning of the Old Testament and told everyone how they could have life in Jesus.

Psalm 125:1-5    A Song Of Trust By Anonymous

Trusting God is like Mount Zion as tall as the sky, the experience is a definite high.

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Psalm 125:1-5   A Peak Experience

Psalm 125 is another of the song of ascents (Pss. 120-134), recited as the Jewish pilgrims approached the upward climb toward Jerusalem.  They are traveling there for the feasts of Pentecost, Tabernacles, and Passover.  They can now see Mount Zion, another name for the capital city (v. 1).  They consider the city immovable, which it is.  It’s been there for thousands of years.  We would consider Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore pretty much the same way.

Believers are like those peaks (v. 1b), they can’t be moved (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).

When a believer trusts the Lord, that person is immersed or baptized in the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13).  The Holy Spirit also comes inside of that person and lives there (cf. Rom. 8:14).  So the Lord is in us and surrounds us.  The people felt the security of the Lord as they were traveling.  The Lord’s presence was felt in and around Jerusalem, the holy city.

The psalmist knew that Yahweh would protect Jerusalem (v. 3).  He wouldn’t allow enemies to ultimately destroy it.  And it’s still there now! And it will be there in the future and forever!  It will be Jesus’ home during the Millennium and beyond into eternity.

Deuteronomy 28 is seen by some as the centerpiece of the Old Testament.  It says there will be blessing for those who obey the Lord and cursing for those who disobey.  Verses 4 and 5 of this psalm are a microcosm of that chapter.

The psalmist closes by praying for peace for the Jewish state (v. 5).  That hasn’t happened yet but it will!

Proverbs 16:25   You Turn

Maybe you should’t do what you think is right, the end thereof could be all blight.

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I used to think people really didn’t understand salvation, that it really had to be explained to them, and they needed to be persuaded, and even some of their questions really needed to be answered.  I don’t believe that anymore.

I think when people hear the gospel and they hear about Christ, they know.  They know there is something different about Him and about that name.  I think when there is a Christian around unbelievers, they know there is something different about them.  I think that is often why they insult Christians, because they want them to move away from them and not be bothered.  In other words, I believe unbelievers are immediately under conviction in their souls as soon as they encounter Christ or one of His representatives.

I could be wrong, of course.  But I don’t really think so.

Proverbs 14:33 says, “Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, but in the hearts of fools it is made known.” I may be reading too much into that verse but along with John 3:21, “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God,” I think unbelievers know inside that Christ has to be trusted for salvation and to get to Heaven.  I think they know that was why they were put on the earth and the only thing they need to do before leaving.   My daughter uses an expression, “You had one job!”

There may be a way that seems right to a person and they want it to be true (v. 25).  But I think they know better.   If they don’t repent, which literally means, to change your mind and make a U-turn, they will end up spiritually dead, eternally.  So that’s like dead, dead.  Doubly dead.  Or as Scripture puts it, they will end up enduring the “second death” (cf. Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).  Second death means they will die physical when they give up the ghost on earth, and then die again when they are judged and tossed in Hell.

Don’t get tossed.  Do what you know is right and trust Christ (cf. James 4:17).  Don’t make it hard.  It’s easy.

Choose Life: Scripture:   Acts 5:42    NASB    “Smart Guys”

“And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”    Acts 5: 42

Christianity began as a small cult.  I’m not kidding.  They were technically a cult of Judaism.  God blessed the leaders of the movement with the gift of doing miracles and healings that proved that their message was from God.  As Paul later taught, it isn’t emotions that should lead us as much as our minds (cf. Rom. 12: 2).  So some may center on the miracles in the book of Acts but look at this verse to see what really moved the Church along and caused it to grow.  It was teaching.  You could add prayer to the mix as well (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:31; 6:4, 6; 8:15; 9:11, 40, etc.).

The apostles were teaching “every day”!  Churches build buildings and some are open every day but how many have teaching every day?  They not only taught in the temple but also in homes!  Teaching.  Teaching.  Teaching.  But what do churches today major in?  Music?  “Feel-good” sermons?  (Yeah, I know I like them, too,  . . .  but . . . .)

Are you attending a church that teaches the Word like the apostles used to teach it?

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

Fun Application:   

A good church should be first and foremost giving out the clear gospel of the Bible (cf. blogs David Denied and The Gospel).  Children should be taught Bible basics along with the famous stories.  Adults should be taught Biblical theology, the books of the Bible, Bible content from Genesis to Revelation, and how to study the Bible.  A good church should hold to basic doctrines like the deity of Christ, His bodily Resurrection and Second Coming, the Virgin Birth, that Jesus died in our place, and absolute perfection of the Scriptures.

Is your church teaching all these things? Can you find one that does?  If not, maybe you should consider starting a church in your house.  That’s where the early church met.  It may take some intestinal fortitude, but you can do it.

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:  Dewey, Cheatham, And Howe

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