Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 29 May 21:
1 Kings 14:22 — “Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.”
Rehoboam the son of Solomon was given by God a tremendous responsibility – to be king of Judah, “the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there.” Rehoboam was a terrible king who defiled the land and led the people into the same sort of idolatry and sexual sin practiced by the pagans around them – “They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.”
Under Rehoboam’s leadership, the people had lost their light and were now pure darkness. How could the son of Solomon allow this to happen on his watch? The Bible, in 2 Chronicles tells us: “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 12:14) This simple statement is worth repeating — Rehoboam did not “set his heart to seek the Lord.”
You too have been given a tremendous calling that comes with salvation. You are called to love, serve, and glorify God; to be “salt and light,” an Ambassador for Christ, a priest within a priestly kingdom, a witness. You have been called to go into to the world and make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, under the authority of Jesus Christ. With such and awesome calling and responsibility, have you “set your heart to seek the Lord?”
- Deuteronomy 6:5, 6 — You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
- Deuteronomy 10:12 — And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart.
- Deuteronomy 10:16 – Circumcise… your heart, and be no longer stubborn.
- Deuteronomy 11:16 — Take care lest your heart be deceived.
- Deuteronomy 11:18 — You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart.
- Deuteronomy 15:9 — Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart.
- Deuteronomy 30:10 — Obey the voice of the Lord your God…. Turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
- 1 Samuel 12:24 — Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
- Psalm 40:8 — I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
- Psalm 40:10 — I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
- Psalm 86:11 — Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
- Psalm 119:7 — I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.
- Psalm 119:32 — I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
- Psalm 119:112 — I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.
- Proverbs 3:1, 3 — My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments… Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
- Proverbs 3:5 — Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
- Proverbs 4:23 — Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Our readings today in 1 Kings 13 and 14 tell us about two terrible kings, Jeroboam and Rehoboam, and God’s judgment upon them. However, 1 Kings 13 primarily focuses on a somewhat puzzling account of an unnamed prophet sent by God to prophecy against Jeroboam. God uses this prophet in an amazing way, complete with signs and wonders, but then God judges the prophet, seemingly more harshly than he did wicked Jeroboam, for what might appear to us an understandable mistake.
The prophet was commanded by God, “You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came,” and, therefore, the prophet refused Jeroboam’s offer to feed him. (1 Kings 13:9) However, another prophet lied to this prophet saying, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (1 Kings 13:18) The first prophet believed the lying prophet and ate and drank in opposition to God’s command, and the Lord said, “Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, ‘Eat no bread and drink no water,’ your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.” (1 Kings 13:21-22) Shortly thereafter, the prophet is killed by a lion on the road, and he is buried in the lying prophet’s grave. What in the world are we to take away from this story?
We must not deviate from the Lord’s calling for any reason, and we must not deviate from His clear, unchanging word. Though many people in the name of God might tell us God has changed His word or has given them a new or updated revelation from God (supposedly more relevant for today or enlightened), He has not changed His word, His will, or His plan. God expects us to be faithful, and He holds us to a much higher standard than He does others. (1 Peter 4:17) Be faithful with what God has entrusted to you, and don’t let anything or anyone distract you or deceive you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 May 21: Guard your heart and set you heart on seeking and serving the Lord. Do all things today to the glory of God, and don’t deviate from your calling as an Ambassador for Christ.