Day 98 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue First Kings and Psalms.
1 Kings 14 – This final account of Jeroboam’s life is terribly tragic, a lesson in the destructive power of sin. His apostasy resulted in the death of his son, the annihilation of his dynasty, and the promise of destruction and exile for the ten northern tribes of Israel. Jeroboam’s sin spread like a cancer though the northern tribes. We are reminded once again that the faithfulness of the king and the faithfulness of the people are inseparably linked.
The issue of Jeroboam’s disobedience and sin is a complicated matter. For example, consider the origin of his kingship. Back in chapter 11, Jeroboam was chosen by the Lord to reign over the 10 northern tribes of Israel because of Solomon’s disobedience. The Lord showed great favor to Jeroboam and set before him grand promises: “And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. . . . I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you” (11:37–38). But Jeroboam forfeited these promises by his disobedience.
As Believers we learn two important lessons from Jeroboam. First, the ability to respond to God’s grace and rest in his promises requires the miracle of conversion. We cannot force this reality upon ourselves, our spouses, our children, or our friends. Without a new heart, the sinner remains unaffected by the gracious promises of God in his Word.
Second, we must remember the connection between kings and their people as presented throughout the Bible and pointedly highlighted here. The disobedience of Jeroboam resulted in the disobedience and destruction of his people. As Christians, however, we have been transferred into a kingdom where Jesus is King—the ever living and ever faithful King. Because of the close connection between king and people, we have the treasured assurance that the faithfulness of Jesus will impact our own Christian living, shaping our affections and producing the fruit of obedience. As went Jeroboam, so went the people—to destruction. But as goes Jesus, so go His people—to salvation.
How does this truth lead you to worship?
1 Kings 15 – From the reign of Solomon in 1 Kings 11 to the final reigns of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah in 2 Kings 24–25, the history of Israel’s kings represents a tragic downward spiral into disobedience and destruction, with only brief glimpses of faithfulness and zeal for the Lord. Given such a history, we might wonder why the Lord waited more than three hundred years to bring judgment on the land and its people. Or, to put it another way, why does the Lord not always treat us as our sins deserve?
The author of the book of Kings is well aware of this tension, and, on several occasions, he tells us why God works in this way. It is an important theme running through the book of Kings, beginning, once again, with Solomon and working its way through Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20. In short, the Lord continually extends mercy to His people “for the sake of David”, that is, “because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” In other words, the Lord is treating subsequent generations of Israelites with mercy because of the obedience of one man, David.
Of course, even David’s obedience was only partial. Moreover, the Lord’s mercy to Israel as a nation in the Promised Land expired with the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile (2 Kings 25). Nevertheless, it is remarkable to consider the impact that this one man, David, had on the lives of so many people hundreds of years after his death. Because of David’s obedience, the Lord actually treated people differently, in a way that they did not deserve. This same principle becomes very important for our understanding of the person and work of Jesus in the New Testament.
While the obedience of David was partial, the obedience of Jesus was full, or complete (Romans 5:19). The impact of David’s obedience was temporary, but the impact of Christ’s obedience is permanent, without end. So the Christian is equipped with every confidence. Our standing before God is secure “for the sake of Jesus.” Because of this one man’s obedience, we stand righteous before God, treated in a way that we certainly do not deserve.
How does this incredibly great news lead you to celebrate Jesus today?
1 Kings 16 – Throughout this chapter, hope steadily builds for a king who will not fail as one king after another does here. The subtle but ever-heightening question the reader is brought to ask is, when will a real king show up? How will Israel ever get on the right track in light of the miserable moral record of its leaders? That King would one day come (Matthew 1:1; Luke 19:38–40).
Being on this side of Jesus (the King) coming, how does this story help you see how much we needed Jesus to come?
Psalm 98 – God will utterly save His people (Romans 11:11–12). The new song announced in this Psalm is “remixed” here with a reminder that Israel is an essential partner in God’s missional expansion to the Gentiles (Psalm 67:1–2). God reiterates that He is conducting a great international campaign of redemption. He will make His salvation known even to the Gentiles, while remembering His loving kindness to the Jews. As Paul the apostle would later say, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).
Their mission strategy will be unconventional. God will conquer the nations through the worship of His people. As others see the enthusiasm, energy, and sense of expectation, they will be attracted to God’s reality (1 Corinthians 14:24–25). But if they are going to be convinced of God’s greatness, the redeemed must worship with glad enthusiasm. The shouts of Old Testament worshipers could sometimes be heard far away (2 Chronicles 29:25–30; Ezekiel 3:10–13).
Not only do God’s people testify to the reality of the fall and redemption, the creation does as well. The world was crafted by God to be the arena of redemption (Ephesians 3:9–10). Nature then helps tell the story and will someday announce when it is complete (Romans 8:19–23). God will fully restore this fallen world, all through the work of his Son.
How does knowing your future is secure help you trust Him today?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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