THE INTERVENTION

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DRY WATERS

PROPHET VALIDATION

We were introduced to Ahab and his queen Jezebel in the last chapter.  God has decided to confront them, so now we meet his man for the assignment.  No one can claim to be ignorant of God’s rules if a man will declare the word of God boldly.  Elijah is able to speak as he is directed by God himself.  A prophet will be known by the fulfillment of his message.  He performs an intervention in the affairs of the nation:

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.  And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,  Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.  So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  1 Kings 17:1-5

Who is Elijah to make such a bold claim to the king of Israel?  We don’t trust the weatherman today, so Ahab probably thought, “yeah, right weather man!”  John and the disciples of Jesus had this boldness, end even more so after the resurrection of Christ.  They had relationship experience motivating their excitement.  Whether he was young or old Elijah knew the creator of the weather.  He did what God told him to do, even if it seemed a bit strange.  We had a pet crow, and remember him to be more inclined to steal (shiny things) than to give charity.  He liked the shiny handle on my tricycle, and wouldn’t let me play on it!  He took a shine to the mirror on the school bus, and went for a ride down town.  He never came back from the big city lights.

And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.  And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.  1 Kings 17:6-9

Arizona creeks dry up like this every spring, and Israel is not a lot nicer than this.  Depending on a vision takes a bit of faith in the desert.  Having a woman in the supply chain represents an upgrade so it isn’t hard to move on this direction.  It will require a bit of faith for her though.

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.  And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.  And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.  And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.  1 Kings 17:10-14

This woman is hearing another faith freak begging for her last meal.  How could she be so naive?  But she really is expecting to die, and has nothing to steal.  A violent thief could at least make death faster than starvation.  Perhaps only a mother could hold out hope that this is a real intervention of God.  She has a little more faith than Ahab has shown, and acts on that faith.

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.  And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.  And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?  And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.  1 Kings 17:15-19

The word of God was fulfilled, but illness challenges this woman’s faith again.  Worse, he has stopped breathing and the crisis is stressing her out.  Elijah is prepared to act on his faith, and that faith seems to be well established.  Elijah has a relationship with the living God.

And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?  And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.  And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.  And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.  And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.  1 Kings 17:20-24

I do not relegate God to mere stories or fables of the past.  He lives, and continues to give life today.  Elijah is being established to witnesses as a voice of God.  Ahab will remember his words as the drought wears on.  But God is still speaking today.  In the news:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/19/us-israel-baby-odd-idUSLI23405020080819

Baby pronounced dead lives after hours in cooler

JERUSALEM | Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:19am EDT

(Reuters) – A stillborn Israeli baby who was pronounced dead by doctors “came back to life” on Monday after spending hours in a hospital refrigerator.

The baby, weighing only 600 grams at birth, spent at least five hours inside one of the hospital’s refrigerated storage units, before her parents, who had taken her to be buried, began noticing some movement.

“We unwrapped her and felt she was moving. We didn’t believe it at first. Then she began holding my mother’s hand, and then we saw her open her mouth,” said 26-year-old Faiza Magdoub, the baby’s mother.

The baby was pronounced dead several hours earlier, after doctors at Western Galilee hospital in northern Israel were forced to abort her mother’s pregnancy because of internal bleeding. Magdoub was 23 weeks into her pregnancy.

“We don’t know how to explain this, so when we don’t know how to explain things in the medical world we call it a miracle, and this is probably what happened,” hospital deputy director Moshe Daniel said.

The baby was then taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit for further treatment, but doctors were not sure how long she will live.

Motti Ravid, a professor of internal medicine, told Israel’s Channel 10 that the low temperature inside the cooler had slowed down the baby’s metabolism and likely helped her survive.

Aborted babies live in Israel, and Israel will again live as the children of Abraham.  The long dry season of Israel will end.

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.  Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.  Ezekiel 37:3-8

VILE SEEDS

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Cholla pods kill animals for fertilizer...tread lightly!

THE PARADE

The parade of failure goes on in the leadership of Israel and Judah.  It descends into violence and idolatry.  When you think it can’t get worse we meet Ahab and Jezebel.  We will hear a lot about these leaders in books and chapters to come.  So enjoy this summary because the detailed accounts need this basic understanding of the chain of events.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,  Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;  behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.  Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.  Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  1 Kings 16:1-5

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.  If God gives you a gift, remember to acknowledge the one who gave the gifts and the warnings that come with them.  Again the account is related to the times of Asa, the ruler of the other kingdom, Judah.  It can be confusing to find one event timed by the reign of the opposite kingdom.

So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead.  And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him.  In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.  And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.  And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 16:6-10

What a government!  An assassin is made king as a reward for this crime.  But then kings don’t live so long, so perhaps this was a death sentence.  Elah only had two years to rule, so what could Zimri expect?  Zimri expected resistance, so he slew as many of the former king’s heirs as possible.  All this did fulfill prophesy, but it was still murder. 

And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.  Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet.  For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.  Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  1 Kings 16:11-14

Of course they are (written in Chronicles); we have coverage of the news from multiple witnesses.  And more news will come as people begin to realize that a felon is sitting on the throne.

In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.  And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.  And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.  And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died.  For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.  Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  1 Kings 16:15-20

The military commander of Israel was in a campaign against the Philistines when he heard about the murder of Elah.  They crowned Omri and besieged their own royal city.  Zimri got a preview of hell in his own house.  Now he is history, like those before him.

Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.  But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.  In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.  And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.  1 Kings 16:21-24

We solve one crisis and invent another one…this sounds familiar.  Tibni never had a chance to sit on the throne before they ended his reign.  Omri has twelve years, but they are not to be so great either.

But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.  For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.  Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 16:25-28

Everyone is in a hurry to become history.  Omri left his legacy with his son Ahab, who will go on to break records for rebellion against God.  He does as Solomon and finds an idolatrous wife too.

And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.  And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.  And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.  And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.  And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.  In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.  1 Kings 16:29-34

Ahab is going for a record, provoking the wrath of God more than any before.  He will meet the prophets with opposition in coming events.  At the same time another leader, Hiel, was fulfilling a prophesy left by Joshua many years before. 

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.  Joshua 6:26

All the warnings and promises of prophesy live on today.  As we are surrounded by similar rebellion, we will also find a remnant who are faithful.  Stay tuned for the deliverance of the faithful, it is coming.

LACKLUSTER LEADERSHIP

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NEW NAMES, SAME GAMES

Are we weary of sin yet?  Be glad this is just an executive summary; the digested history of the failures of leadership.  The Old Testament will offer different accounts of the same events, as does the New Testament.  The good news is that God shows a few people the way to spiritual prosperity while the rest of the nation is circling the drain.  Come to think of it, he is still doing that today.  Take notes when you read about an occasional prophet or other godly soul in these passages.  The best part of the book is just manifesting around us today!

Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.  Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. and his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.  And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.  Nevertheless for David’s sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:  Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.  1 Kings 15:1-5

So while Jeroboam has been ruling up north in Israel, Abijam is now king of Judah.  The sins of Solomon and his sons are still manifesting, but so is the blessing of David. 

And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.  Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.  And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 15:6-8

The kingdoms continue in warfare through all these lifetimes.  But Judah is not cursed with unending sin among all of its leaders.  Asa made a few things right again. 

And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.  And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.  And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.  And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.  And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.  But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.  And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels. 1 Kings 15:9-15

Asa still had to deal with the ongoing strife with Israel though.  He took a good step to lessen this strife.

And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.  And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.  Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,  There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.  So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.  1 Kings 15:16-20

So the Syrian king Benhadad tipped the balance of power to keep Judah safe from the larger armies of Israel.  Asa moved assets and fortifications, and prospered in peace for his season.

And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.  Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.  The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.  And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 15:21-24

Change is also coming to the leadership of Israel under Nadab, son of king Jeroboam.  But no real change of methods, which brought him enemies.

And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.  And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon.  Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.  And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:  Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.  1 Kings 15:25-30

Baasha does fulfill some prophesy against the house of Jeroboam, but he does not follow a godly path in any other way.

Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.  In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.  1 Kings 15:31-34

If we have an enemy, we can expect him to infiltrate our ranks.  His best place is when “religion” gets power in government, instead of Jesus having power in our lives.  Do we want to open the door to cults in power?  These kings installed idolatry in place of truth, and everyone paid the price. 

Our nation seems to be under similar leadership at times.  I don’t worry much about the president because I am holding out for a king.  The kingdom of God is without boundaries, and we have allies in China, Iran, and Israel.  In world news, remember to watch with spiritual eyesight, not natural.  We are of Israel, and Israel will be of us in God’s time.  They will need their (our) Messiah Yeshua.

Have you offered him a better way in Yeshua?

THE BIG CHILL

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Winter in Indiana

HARD TIMES ALL OVER

In the northern kingdom of Israel it is not going well for king Jeroboam.  His son is ill, but he remembers a prophet of God when it is convenient.

At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.  And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh:  Behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.  And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.  And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.  1 Kings 14:1-4

Jeroboam remembers that his is a prophet because of the fulfilled prediction.  He does not have enough faith to ask for a healing, but knows that the prophet will predict the boy’s fate.  The prophet may be blind, but he still has spiritual vision.

And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.  And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.  1 Kings 14:5-6

So God gives his prophet a warning of a VIP visitor, and how she will pretend to be someone else.  He lets her know that the gig is up, and she is due for some bad news.

Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,  And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;  But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:  Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.  Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it.  1 Kings 14:7-11

Because of sin Jeroboam was given the kingdom, and yet he did the same evil himself.  He did not respect the God who gave him the prophesy and the kingdom, so he is to lose it all now.  All the men of his family will lose their lives because of this sin.  Ahija continues to instruct the woman.

Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.  And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.  Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.  For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.  And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.  1 Kings 14:12-16

One son only will see an honorable burial for having faith in God.  Worse, Israel will be scattered for idolatry under Jeroboam.

And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;  And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.  And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.  And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 14:17-20

Meanwhile in Judah and Jerusalem Rehoboam was also running this kingdom into the ground.  Being the son of an Amonite woman may have introduced him to the gods of Canaan.

And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.  And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.  For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.  And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.  1 Kings 14:21-24

Rehoboam was 41 years old, enough to know a little.  Yet he let young advisors misguide him into sin.  Idolatry and homosexuality made them just like the inhabitants who had been driven out before them.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:  And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.  And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.  And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.  Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.  And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 14:25-31

The same king that had sheltered Jeroboam invaded his enemy Jerusalem now.  He was no friend of the Jews of Judah.  Now the treasures of the temple were gone.  The ark was gone to Egypt according to this, unless it was hidden?  The gold was gone, and a cheap imitation of brass was put in its place.  The way is old and cold, and there is no gold.

Brrrrrrr...

NON-PROPHET

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Stay ON the road!

THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW WAY…ONLY

God’s ways are mysterious but our way is to be clearly understood.  We must go God’s way, not the way of man.  One prophet comes to an altar to declare God’s word boldly in the presence of the king himself.

And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.  And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.  And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.  And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.  The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.  1 Kings 13:1-5

The king got the warning, and was offended enough to try to stop him.  But God had another message for the king; not to harm a man of God.  The king had reason to respect the power of God manifesting at this scene now.  He had a bit of respect now.

And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.  And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.  And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:  For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.  So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.  1 Kings 13:6-10

Before the king the man was courageous to resist temptation.  God gave him instructions, and he was carrying them out.  So he returned to his own home town.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.  And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.  And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,  And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.  1 Kings 13:11-14

OK, a prophet hears about another prophet who delivered a bold message to the king.  Cause for some curiosity?  He wants to socialize a bit perhaps, so he offers an invitation.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.  And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:  For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.  He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.  So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.  1 Kings 13:15-19

A prophet who is a liar?  You don’t think so?  Was not Saul one of the prophets?  For a season he prophesied, and he lied.  He also turned to a witch because his prophetic gift was gone.  So we can not trust a prophet to be any more than flesh.  Oh but the word of God can come back to them though.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:  And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,  But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.  And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.  And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.  And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.  1 Kings 13:20-25

The old prophet already knew the story, and claims the body.

And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.  And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.  And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.  And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.  And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!  1 Kings 13:26-30

Is this getting weird yet?  Wait; the worst is still coming.

And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:  For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.  After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.  And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.  1 Kings 13:31-34

The old prophet asks to share the same grave after he caused the young man to fall.  Is he expecting some righteousness to rub off on him?  I hope I rise to the resurrection from beside my late wife.  I sure don’t want to find this guy in bed with me! 

With men of God like this perhaps it made little difference that Jeroboam made priests of the low-lifes in town.  Could they be any worse?  Government is not equipped to protect our souls. 

THE GREAT SLIDE

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End of the Trail; last hike with my old dog before she died. Old ways are fading and new things seem to be getting harder.

MORE DÉJÀ VU BOO BOOS

The changing of the guard will proceed as the Lord has spoken.  Solomon’s son expects to take over the kingdom.  God had warned Israel what to expect from a king:  taxation and servitude.  Now they want to complain about what they had asked for.

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.  And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)  That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.  And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.  1 Kings 12:1-5

We will elect you president if you lower taxes and raise our benefits.  Does that sound familiar?  A wise candidate will promise the world, and then break those promises when he has job security.  A foolish one will be an honest crook, tell the truth, and run into a wall.  How could Solomon’s son be foolish?

And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?  And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.  But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:  1 Kings 12:6-8

If the old can be unwise, they share that gene with their children.  So how do rebellious youth come from wise parents?  Perhaps just from the seed of our smallest mistakes.  Those are the ideas that offer the taste of forbidden fruit.

And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?  And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.  And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.  So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.  And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;  And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.  Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.  1 Kings 12:9-15

So Rehoboam offered no economic recovery, and a bonus check for the CEO.  Kings could do that, but their kingdoms might shrink a bit.  Israel has no special love for Judah and David’s family now. 

So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.  But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.  Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.  So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.  1 Kings 12:16-19

Wow…they killed the tax collector, and Rehoboam got the message.  It’s time for armored limousines and lots of bodyguards.  While he went into self imposed house arrest, Israel initiated a change of leadership.

And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.  And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.  But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,  Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,  Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.  1 Kings 12:20-24

Rehoboam is ready to go to war over this rebellion, but God has another word for him.  The prophet told him that God had ordained this division, and that they were not to war against their brethren.  Today we are warned not to judge God’s other servants, as they are not ours to rule over.  The church and Israel are divided but we have our own business to tend.  God will use other Christians and Jews to achieve his purposes.  Jeroboam is a little unsure of this purpose of God though.

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.  And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:  If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.  1 Kings 12:25-30

So to keep his popular support, Jeroboam creates his own (false) religion.  This is what happens when the politicians take over the church.  Our government can’t even balance the budget.  Can you imagine if they ran the universe?

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.  And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.  So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.  1 Kings 12:31-33

It’s hard for parents to watch their children start down a wrong road.  As Christians, we have all the wisdom of two covenants to guide us.  We may agonize over reading this part of the bible, seeing the inevitable suffering that is coming.  Come to think of it, not one hero of the Old Testament has a perfect life, except possibly Enoch.  This is hard to watch.  But then we too have failed; where is our hope?

We need to remember that the line and presence of Messiah is not missing from the Old Testament.  He was before Abram, and will always be “I AM”.  Watch for his mark on all the events of this great drama unfolding here.  Faith is not what we see or measure, but rather what we trust to have from a greater but invisible source.  If he were tangible, the unbelievers would have access to heaven by logic.  It is his choice to know our heart, not to be known by our mind.  This is your entrance exam; do your homework.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

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MINI STONEHENGE has been on the EJ PEak trail for years...why?

SLIPPING

The Rocky Mountains divide our continent, with rivers flowing east or west from that high place.  Once you pass the great divide, it’s downhill all the way from there.  Solomon has found a place to slide to his injury at his high point too.

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:  Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.  1 Kings 11:1-6

Here in Arizona we see evidence that age does not bring wisdom in every case.  Some seniors drive long after they can no longer execute judgment or coordination for safety.  Some consider age a license to park anywhere, or run red lights.  We know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom though.  Solomon ignored the wisdom of his own proverbs and of the Law as well.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.  And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.  1 Kings 11:7-10

Beyond the Law, God made personal appearances and instructions, knowing well where Solomon was going.  Solomon built temples and worshipped in the high places of idolatry.  The road will get hard now, but it is not a dead end road.

Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.  Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.  Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.  And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.  1 Kings 11:11-14

Only one male of Edom escaped the slaughter of Joab, and he happened to be the son of the king.  He will return with a vengeance.

For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;  (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)  That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.  And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.  And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.  And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.  1 Kings 11:15-20

The Pharaoh seems to befriend everyone, David and Hadad alike.  He may not have realized the mischief intended by Hadad for Solomon.  Others will gather to continue the resistance.

And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.  Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.  And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:  And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.  And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. 1 Kings 11:21-25

So Solomon will have troubles on two fronts, coming from Egypt and Syria.  It sounds like Israel today.  And Israel is divided between leaders as it was being divided in Solomon’s time. 

And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.  And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.  And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.  1 Kings 11:26-28

Solomon began to notice a good worker in his service and put him in a leadership position.  Others will notice his leadership, as the prophet will reveal.

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in  he field:  And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:  And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:  (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)  1 Kings 11:29-32

God continues to detail the plan.

Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.  Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:  But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.  And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.  And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.  And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.  And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.  1 Kings 11:33-39

Jeroboam is aware of the promise of God now, and Solomon also finds out about it.  He responds like Saul did to David’s anointing.

Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.  And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?  And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.  And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.  1 Kings 11:40-43

Pharaoh has been a friend to Solomon and to his enemies again.  While Solomon’s death is recorded here, his story is not yet fully told.  Did he die as a lost soul, or was there yet redemption for Solomon?  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Egypt has played a role in keeping peace with Israel, but it also hosts enemies today.  Israel is again divided, now between secular and Messianic Judaism.   We know that Israel will be reunified in the time of Messiah.  God is like a glacier, moving slowly because nothing can stop him.  No need for haste, his will be done; it is finished.

It's a long way down...

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