Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 1 June 18:
1. 1 Kings 11:1-3 — “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.” Solomon was granted unsurpassed wisdom by God. However, even in his superior wisdom, he did not “guard his heart” by obeying God’s simple, clear commands. His lack of self-control and obedience destroyed him and set the stage for the ultimate destruction of the kingdom of Israel. Our problem is not the gap between ignorance and knowledge but rather the chasm between knowledge and commitment. It Isn’t that we don’t know what God wants; it is that we refuse to do what God wants. It isn’t that God hasn’t adequately empowered us to obey; it’s that in our hearts we really don’t want to obey. There is a part of us that doesn’t want our Savior to be our Lord and Savior. It takes humility to truly examine our hearts and an attitude of repentance and continual re-submission to walk with God day by day. Daily Bible study gives us course corrections and is used by the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts — if we are receptive to the Holy Spirit. Do not quench the Spirit by ignoring that conviction. When God convicts you, you stand at a crossroads. What you do next is absolutely vital. Loving God is not an intellectual choice; it is an issue of the heart.
2. 1 Kings 11:14 — “So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD.” 1 Kings 11 is one of the scariest chapters in the Bible: Solomon was the wisest man in the Old Testament. God had blessed him with all that he desired. Yet this wisest man chose to directly disobey God even though God had appeared to him twice! This chapter shows how powerful sin is. All the wisdom in the world, even miraculous encounters with God won’t enable a person to obey God within his own power. The power of the Holy Spirit is required as is much grace. Sin is powerful and its consequences severe. Solomon’s sin resulted in the division of the tribes of Israel. The wisest king permanently divided the kingdom because he refused to simply obey God.
3. 1 Kings 11:14 — “And the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon.” God punished Solomon by giving success to his enemies. This is a pattern in the Bible. How does God deal with your disobedience?
4. 1 Kings 11:38 — “And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” Solomon “did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely.” Therefore, God tore the kingdom away from him and gave it to Jeroboam. For Jeroboam, God set the same conditions of obedience. Jeroboam, however, will also sin terribly against the Lord. The sins of these individuals will have a ripple effect on the rest of Israel’s history and will cause pain and suffering for generations. Proverbs offers a warning to those who would follow their bad example: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will… fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
5. 1 Kings 11:40 — “Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam.” Solomon wasted his energy trying to kill Jeroboam, an adversary sent by God. Solomon should have spent his energy pursuing his relationship with God.
6. 1 Kings 12:1-12 — “But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him.” Rehoboam refused to accept sound, godly counsel, and he ruined his hope for success. Rehoboam had an opportunity to reconcile with his opponents and to restore unity, but instead, ignoring wise counsel, he chose to respond to his opponents pridefully and harshly. In so doing, he lost all hope for peace and prosperity for generations. As Christians, as we read yesterday, we have been given the mission of reconciliation. We must seek reconciliation in all of our relationships.
7. 1 Kings 12:27, 28 — “’If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.’ So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold.” Fear drove Jeroboam to turn to idols, and others followed Jeroboam’s lead. Fear and pride seem to be the primary motivators for sin. Fear, pride, and rebellion are at the root of church splits and false doctrines.
8. Proverbs 1:4 – “…to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth….” God’s word is not hard to understand. You don’t need a seminary degree to be the priest God has called you to be. The simplest faithful person is protected by God’s word.
9. Proverbs 1:8, 9 — “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” If you were to write a letter intended to pass along to your children, your children’s children, and all generations to come essential wisdom for meaningful, prosperous living, what would you write? The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man who had ever walked the earth, and Proverbs is, at least in part, his letter to his descendants, inspired by God. So, how valuable are the Proverbs to us? And what is the first major point that Solomon wants to leave behind: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).” Is your pursuit of knowledge grounded in the fear of the Lord, and does your pursuit for knowledge begin with a deep meditation on God’s word? It is amazing how much we take the Word of God for granted.
10. Proverbs 1:20 – “Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice….” Wisdom is not hard to find if you are willing to listen.
11. Proverbs 1:24, 25 – “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity….” Sinners simply want to sin more than they want to honor God. We don’t take sin seriously enough. Sin is dethroning God in your life for that moment. It is cosmic treason! It is trampling on the blood of Christ. We need to learn to see sin the way God sees it.
12. Proverbs 1:28 – “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.” There comes a time when it is too late to call upon the LORD.
13. 2 Corinthians 6:1 — “Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Will you be working with God today, totally in HIs service spreading the Gospel?
14. 2 Corinthians 6:1 — “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” You can receive the grace of God in vain. Grace affords you the opportunity for sanctification. Don’t waste the opportunity.
– From Oswald Chambers: “The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. ‘…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses’— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, ‘Oh well, I won’t count this time’? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, ‘I will endure this until I can get away and pray.’ Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer. ‘…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…’ (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace. ‘…having nothing….’ Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. ‘…and yet possessing all things’ — this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).
15. 2 Corinthians 6:4 — “…but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger…” Maybe you don’t have it so bad after all. Maybe you can handle that difficult, insulting person today with grace.
– From Oswald Chambers: “When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel. Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1-17.”
16. 2 Corinthians 6:6, 7 — “…purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.” Are you fully armed for the battle today?
17. 2 Corinthians 6:6, 7 – We appeal to unbelievers not through clever arguments, great music, dynamic speaking, and great marketing, but rather through “genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God.”
18. 2 Corinthians 6:10 — “…having nothing, yet possessing everything.” If you are a Christian who has nothing in this world, you still have Everything — Jesus! Nothing plus Jesus is everything. Do you truly believe that?
19. 2 Corinthians 6:12 — “You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.” People believe what they want to believe. You can’t change those who are not convicted by the Holy Spirit no matter how hard you try or how clever your arguments. Do your best to proclaim the Gospel from your heart, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
20. 2 Corinthians 6:14 — “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” We have largely rejected this guidance out of comfort and expediency. Your close relationships should be with others who intentionally journey with you through life to draw closer to Jesus. If your best friends are unbelievers or “carnal Christians,” (as if there could be such a thing) you are not where you should be with God. You are also in great danger of being enticed into additional sin. Learn from the lesson of Solomon.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 1 June: Confidently speak truth to others today in love, trusting God in the situation. (1 Corinthians 6:6, 7)