Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Knew and Refused to Learn

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Daniel 5:17-23

Steps: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Daniel tells the next king spoken of in the book of Daniel that Belshazzar could have learned from the experience of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar but he did not because of his pride and arrogance. Because he would not humble his heart before God, and would not learn the lessons of humility that Nebuchadnezzar learned and because of his audacity in drinking out of the cups from God’s sanctuary and praising the false gods of life, that his judgment had come, he had failed, and would be destroyed that night. What a tragic story to have to convey to a person. What a sad story of failed opportunities. O that we might learn.

Prayer for Today: Thank You again God. You have given us this story that we to might learn about how You think. You have granted us many opportunities to learn the lessons of life and many of them we have wasted. We pray that in Your great mercy that you will give us more opportunities to learn. We acknowledge that we have not followed Your teaching but today we want to learn these lessons before it is too late. We know that You did not tell us this story to try to intimidate us. We also know that our pride is very fragile and we are likely to take any confrontation by love as an assault against us, but today we want to learn and not rebel. Thank You for another opportunity, and help us to grab it because You love us, not because You are trying to get rid of us. Thank You for Your love.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nebuchadnezzar Chooses to Follow God

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Daniel 4:34-37

Steps: 11, 12

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, goes through a long 7 year experience according to Daniel 4. At the end of this time the king is ready and desirous to accept God as his Lord and Saviour. When he had learned the lessons that God wanted to teach him he, in turn, is willing to share his experience, strength, and hope with all of the then known world. We to can profit from his experience and learn the lessons he learned at such a price.

Prayer for Today: God, thank you for teaching King Nebuchadnezzar such a precious lesson and we pray that You will help us learn the same lesson. Thank You for being willing to take him through that experience and then sharing the story so that we too can profit from it. Help us to decide before such extreme measures are needed to get through to us. Thank You for Your messages of love.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Satan’s Attempted Counterattack

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Daniel 3:14-20

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Satan recognized that God was getting a lot of good publicity in Daniel 2. So he moves upon Nebuchadnezzar’s heart to take the central symbol of the dream of Daniel 2 and alter it and make it entirely out of gold, thus symbolizing Nebuchadnezzar’s desire to have his kingdom never come to an end. He wants his kingdom to be like God’s kingdom. God uses three faithful recovering people to stand up to the king and get his mind refocused. The command of the king is to build an actual image, make it out of gold, and make all of the leaders of his land bow down to it in worship. These three men refuse to do for they have purposed in their hearts to not defile themselves with idolatry. As a result of this decision the king throws them into a furnace. When in there the king is surprised that there are four people rather than three and they are walking around unharmed. The king recognizes, from the stories that Daniel has told him, that the fourth person is the Son of God – the pre-incarnate Jesus. Nebuchadnezzar calls the men out of the furnace and the focus has completely left the image and is now on the servants of God. God again gets great publicity throughout all of the then known world.

Prayer for Today: God, teach us to trust in Your power, wisdom, and grace. Help us not to fear when put in tight places and help us to trust You that You can help us and even if You don’t help us in the way that we desire, help us to know that even then You love us and what You are doing for us will be a blessing to all involved. Thank You again for Your love.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

God Rules in the Kingdom of Men

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Daniel 2:24-30

Steps: 11, 12

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, is wondering what will happen to his kingdom in the future and God chooses to reveal the future of Babylon, and the following kingdoms, to him. When the king wakes up in the morning he can not remember what he dreamed but he knows it was important to him. He seeks help from the wise men but they can not answer his questions. Finally God brings Daniel to the front and reveals the future to Daniel in the context of the king’s dream. God reveals the future in the form of a symbol of a great image made of Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, and Iron and Clay. Then God reveals that in the future all of these kingdoms will be destroyed and God will set up His kingdom which will remain forever. God reveals that the kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Papal Rome. He, the God of the future, knows what is coming, and He reveals it to whom He wishes. Daniel was God’s messenger for 70 years and was as faithful to God at the end as he was at the beginning.

Prayer for Today: God, it is amazing to us that You know the end from the beginning. We have to believe that You know our beginning and ending as well. It is fearful for us for You to know us that well, but help us also to believe that You do not want to harm us in anyway. That Your goals for us are good and helpful. Help us to trust Your knowledge, Your power, and Your love. Thank You.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daniel Refuses to Defile Himself

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Daniel recognizes that he is a captive slave in a foreign nation. He knows that at any time someone from Babylon could choose to kill him, just because he was a slave. Knowing all of this Daniel still decides that it would be better to die than to turn away from God. So Daniel decides that whatever happens to him he will not eat food that has been dedicated to the gods, nor will he eat anything that God forbids. He knows that God forbids eating certain foods, see Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, because it is harmful to God’s people and that it will interfere with the ability of the person to think about God and to hear His voice. Because Daniel chooses to put God first, God opens a way for Daniel to stay true to Him and as a result of staying true, God blesses Daniel with gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and the interpretation of dreams. He also blesses Daniel because Daniel, using his gifts wisely, studies and trains to the point that the king of Babylon judges him to be ten times wiser than any of the other people taken captive. God prepares Daniel, and Daniel chooses to cooperate with God’s preparation.

Prayer for Today: God help us to choose to learn from Daniel’s success. Help us to believe that Your word is always truthful and that You are never trying to trick us, harm us, or embarrass us. What You tell us is true, and that if we will follow Your truth we will profit in the things of God. Help us also to trust that You know how to take care of us today. You are just as wise today as You were in the time of Daniel. Help us to put Your words to the test and not accept Satan’s perversions of truth as truth. We need You help and ask for it again today. Thank You for Your love.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

God Gave Judah Into the Hands of Nebuchadnezzar

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim King of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. Daniel 1:1-2

Steps: 12

This text clearly conveys the idea that when Judah had so thoroughly rebelled against God that there was no remedy that God then gave Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon. This concept states that God is always in control and He allows things to happen for His own purposes as well as for the blessing and or discipline of a specific group of people. It is also clear that if God had chosen to not allow Nebuchadnezzar to conquer Judah that it would not have happened as God had protected Judah from Assyria in II Chronicles 32. So we must remember that God is always in charge and our first responsibility is to serve Him above anything else that we can do.

Prayer for Today: God, please help us to remember that You are always there and that You will not allow anything to happen to us that You can not control. It is difficult for us to see disaster as a blessing to us and yet for it to happen it must be allowed by You. Help us to spend enough time with You that when disaster, or blessing, comes our way, we may recognize these things as a testimony from You. Please help us to remember that all of these things are working out Your holy will in our lives and when seen as such brings great relief and comfort for these things are not random but they are all under Your control. Thank You for Your gift of involvement in our lives. Help us to read the book of Job and to observe Your care and Your guidelines in the lives of mankind. Help us to learn to trust you just as Job did, and that Daniel will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zedekiah – The Last King Before the Captivity

Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
II Chronicles 36:11-17

Steps: 1

God had been warning Judah for over a hundred years about what would happen to them if they did not change. God had let them see what happened to the northern tribes when they were captured by Assyria in II Kings 17. He had sent prophet and messengers to warn the people and the leadership but they all refused to be warned. Since they refused to be warned then God would use stronger measures to get their attention and hope that a remnant would come forth. God told Judah that after 70 years they would come back to Canaan if they wanted to. Jeremiah 25:1-14. But there is one thing for sure, when God speaks to us we need to listen to Him lest terrible things happen to us. God does not want to harm us but there comes a time that God, in His love for us, will take whatever means necessary to help us.

Prayer for Today: God help us to learn from Zedekiah and the evil that he did to the nation, to Nebuchadnezzar, and to You. Help us to not be hard hearted and stiff necked when it comes to You. Help us to grow strong in You and to believe You and obey You. Thank You again for granting us this great mercy to learn from this lesson and to obey You always.

The Last Good King of Judah – Josiah

Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again. II Chronicles 34:21-28

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Josiah is the last good king of Judah before the Babylonian Captivity. He follows God, he took out the idols, he brought God’s people back to a right relationship with God. When he read the book of the law he saw how deep into trouble God’s people were and he asked God’s prophet – Huldah, to seek God for him. God answered Josiah’s prayer and talked directly to him and told him what would happen – Josiah would die before seeing Judah taken into captivity. Josiah accepted this feedback and still did the best he could do to cooperate with God and hold off the punishment as long as he could.

Prayer for Today: It is so comforting to see You interact with people. We pray that as we see these stories unfold that we will believe that You would do the same for us. Help us to seek You out in prayer and ask for big things from You. Help us to know Your will and to cooperate to the best of our abilities. Thank You again for Your love.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Manasseh Repents and Goes Into Recovery

Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast themout of the city. And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are writtenin the book of the kings of Israel. His prayer also, and how Godwas intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they arewritten among the sayings of the seers. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead. II Chronicles 33: 11-20

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

The story of Manasseh tells us of the power of God to make a change even in someone as evil as Manasseh. Manasseh repented, he was willing to submit to God, and through God’s power and love Manasseh was willing to change. As a result of his heart changing then his life changed as well and people were able to see that a change had occurred. This story is one of those wonderful stories that gives us hope that we can change and our loved ones can change as well.

Prayer for Today: God, it is awesome to see that You can change even one as hardened as Manasseh. Since You can do that there is hope for us and for our loved ones and friends. Help us to not give up hope but to trust in Your power and love. We know that not everyone will change but at least there is hope. Thank You for these wonderful gifts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hezekiah’s Son Manasseh

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which wasevil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. II Chronicles 33:1-10

Steps 4, 5

Manasseh is one of the clearest testimonies of a person who has gone crazy with evil. He did everything he possibly could to show contempt for God and to do harm to God’s people. The list of sins that Manasseh willingly participated in is amazing. He killed his children, when he caused them to pass through fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and he killed so many others that the Bible says in II Chronicles 33:16 it says “Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another…” All of this evil came from a man whose father was blessed by God. Thus is testified to the power of evil.

Prayer for Today: God help us to see that evil can happen to any of us, and for those of us in recovery has happened to us. Help us to learn from the sins of others and to recognize that without Your help we are likely to go back to our old ways. Help us to be willing to surrender unto You and to walk in Your paths. Thank You for Your love toward us.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

God Protects Hezekiah and Israel

And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth. II Chronicles 32:20-23

Steps: 4, 5, 11, 12

The King of Assyria decided to try to do to Judah what he had done to Israel many years before. They surrounded Jerusalem with the most fearsome army in the history of the world. The blasphemed God and proclaimed to the people that the God of Israel was like the gods of every other nation and would not be able to protect them from the Assyrian Army. King Hezekiah brought all of this before God and in faith asked for help. God answered the prayer of Hezekiah and God sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian Army in one night. As a result of this deliverance Hezekiah, Judah, and God were all magnified in the sight of all of the nations of the world.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to bring You all of our problems. Each and every problem looks insurmountable to us when we are by ourselves. Yet, like Hezekiah, when we look to You everything looks possible. Help us not to look to our defeats but to look to You and You victories. Thank You for the possibility of having victory over our defects, each and every one of them. Help us to keep studying You, and to ask why it is that You help sometimes and sometimes it appears as if You do not help us. Help us to grasp how You think and how You respond, and then help us to come into harmony with Your thinking. Thank You for Your love.

Friday, August 20, 2010

King Jehoshaphat’s High Point of Experience

And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. II Chronicles 20:20-22

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Jehoshaphat was one of the good kings of Judah. He was faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem and that three armies had gathered against him. He did not know what to do but He knew Whom he should pray to. He asked God what to do and God gave him a seemingly impossible task. If he wanted to have victory over these three large armies what He and Israel were to do is walk to the top of a specific hill near the battle site and sing praises to God as they went up the hill. They were told to do this by a prophet and they chose to believe what the prophet said and since they believed it they chose to do it as well. As they were climbing the hill singing praises to God, God was at work on the armies and when all was said and done they turned on each other and killed everyone in the three armies. When Israel reached the top of the hill there was no army to fight, for God had defended them. God’s Word had been true and they were blessed with the task of picking up all of the wealth and resources found on the dead army. Israel was blessed.

Prayer for Today: God thank You for the gift of prophecy and thank You for the gift of belief. Help us that when it is our turn that we will be willing to trust You and believe You when You send us prophets, in the Bible or otherwise, and when that prophet speaks to us help us to recognize that it is You who sent the prophet and help us to listen, trust, and obey. Thank You for Your mercies to us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good King Asa

So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest. II Chronicles 14:1-6

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Asa was the third king of Judah after the great division. Asa did well in his relationship with God. Like all men he had his ups and downs. In the closing years of his reign he got into trouble because a prophet reproved him in II Chronicles 16:7-10. He did not repent of this stubbornness and got into trouble. This is the pattern that began to develop in Judah. A king would be raised up by God, do well, and then his son would do better or in some cases worse. Then the next king would hopefully profit from the experience and then repeat the same story over and over again. God raised up many interesting and faithful kings like Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. God also allowed some interesting scoundrels to reign including Rehoboam, Jehoram, Athaliah – the one female king, Manassah, and Zedekiah. God wanted to give us a good cross sample of these men so that we in turn can learn what it was that pleased God and what it was that displeased Him. Now it is our turn.

Prayer for Today: God, we appreciate Your patience in giving us so many examples, and so much data. We praise Your name for Your willingness to share these things. We also thank You for seeing enough of this data to even ponder about how You conduct business on the plane of mankind. Help us to see enough of You that we want to be with You and worship You. Thank You for Your love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rehoboam – King of Judah

So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mothers name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. II Chronicles 12:13-14

Steps: 4-5

After David and Solmon the kings of Judah began a roller coaster ride. Each new king would decide whether to follow God or to follow Baal. Solomon had been wonderfully devoted to God and then lost his hold on God and then in the end repented. Solomon’s son did evil because he had not prepared his heart to seek the Lord. Rehoboam’s father Solomon did not help his son much, and Rehoboam’s mother was one of those who helped turn the heart of Solomon away from God, and she did the same for her son as well. Judah did not look good during the reign of her first king after the great schism.

Prayer for Today: God help us to learn the lessons we read about in Your Word. We see characters like David, Solomon, and now Rehoboam and we see many characteristics that remind us of ourselves. Help us to learn the lessons that these men learned, or failed to learn, and help us not to repeat the errors but to hold on to the truth. Save us from ourselves.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Hundred Years of Rebellion

In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. II Kings 17:6-12

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

After the division of the tribes, the northern tribes – called Samaria or Israel – chose to accept Jeroboam’s idolatrous influence and it infected the thinking of the people for about 200 years. Not one time during this history did God ever state that there was even one king of Israel who did right. All of these kings rebelled against God, and against the prophets that God sent to them. They rebelled so thoroughly, and followed the ways of the heathen so thoroughly, that God finally allowed them their desire and He sent them to live with the Assyrians and never called them back home again. During this time God allowed Judah – the southern two tribes, and all of the people from the northern ten tribes, who had left Samaria and joined themselves to Judah – to observe the events of Samaria and decide whether to follow God or to follow Baal. This same opportunity has been granted to us so that we to can decide whether to follow God or to follow the ways of the heathen and reap all of the rewards of our decisions.

Prayer for Today: God, You know how easily we follow others, especially popular people. Help us to be able to see and compare these people with You and help us to trust that the history You have presented in the Bible is true and applicable to us. We tend to think that somehow we are different and wiser than all of the people who have gone before us. Help us to see how history repeats and that the same issues come up over and over again. Help us to be humble enough to learn from You and to choose to follow You in all things, for our recovery depends upon it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jeroboam’s Fear

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. I Kings 12:26-30

Steps: 4, 5

Jeroboam was made king according to the prophecy of Ahijah – God’s messenger. But after becoming king Jeroboam began to reason with himself, rather than talking to and trusting in God. He reasoned that if Israel, the 10 northern tribe continued to go to Jerusalem to worship that they would turn on him and kill him. To protect himself, from his own fears, he discounted the counsel of God and made golden images to keep the hearts of Israel focused upon himself rather than to trust in God. He made images of calves, just as the calf that Israel worshipped at Sinai in Exodus 32. He caused Israel to sin thus incurring his own guilt and the sin of thousands of God’s people. Thus he turned Israel against their God.

Prayer for Today: God, You know how many times we have tried to outthink You, and You know how many times we have gotten into trouble because of our thinking. Help us today to read what You have written to us and to trust that You know what You are talking about. Help us to have faith in Your counsel rather than to have faith in our paranoid thinking. Help us to believe that You love us and You are fully able to care for us in all things – great or small. Thank You for not giving up on us.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Solomon’s Son Divides Israel

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. 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. I Kings 12:12-17

Steps: 4, 5

Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was not willing to listen to the needs and concerns of the people he was appointed to rule over. He answered them roughly. As a result of this God’s prophecy concerning Rehoboam was fulfilled and the ten northern tribes rebelled against the rulership of Judah and formed the nation of Israel, while the two southern tribes – Judah and Benjamin- formed Judah. Rehoboam reigned over Judah and Jereboam reigned over Israel. The prophecy of I Kings 11:27-40 came to pass.

Prayer for Today: Since You can see the end from the beginning You know what will happen to each of us today, and all of the rest of our lives. Please help us to learn how to trust You and when You give us counsel help us to be willing to obey You. Thank You for Your love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Solomon’s Repentance and Change

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Steps: 11, 12

Solomon’s testimony of his insanity is written about in the early chapters of Ecclesiastes. He readily admits that he was full of vanity and confusion when exploring the ways of the world and of life. Whatever he wanted to do he did until he was ready to admit that there was nothing left in the world that had value except God. When Solomon came to this position he had made a full circuit and was ready to listen to God again. What a waste of time, energy, and life. What a wonderful life, and a wonderful example was available to Solomon but he wasted it by seeking to do what God had warned him not to do. Now we can profit from Solomon’s failures or we can follow in his footsteps and have to learn the same lesson the same hard way. It is our choice.

Prayer for Today: God, thank You that You were able to find a way to reach Solomon. Help us to be open to Your call when You find us again. Help us to not give up hope that You love us and want to work with us again, even if we have failed You. Help us to trust in Your love and Your care and to accept Your offers of grace again this very day. Thank You for Your love and patience.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Solomon Attempts to Persecute the Lord’s Anointed

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. I Kings 11:40

Steps: 1, 2, 3

Solomon’s heart was so far turned away from God that he attempted to kill the man appointed by God to take over the 10 northern tribes of Israel after Solomon’s death. God had chosen this man, and sent His prophet to tell him that he was appointed by God to rule over the people that God would take away from Solomon’s son. God prophesied that after Solomon died the nation would divide into two from the evil things Solomon had initiated. This attempt at murder completes the list of behaviors of the beast of Revelation 13. Solomon trusted in wealth, he trusted in horses from Egypt for military success, Solomon was inundated with heathen concepts through his wives/churches, and finally he began to persecute those who did not agree with him. Solomon, in his rebellion, displayed the same qualities as the beast power of Revelation 13.

Prayer for Today: Lord, help us to remember how easy it is to get off the beaten track. When someone as wise as Solomon can off the deep end we pray that we will not have to follow him. Help us to learn from his lessons and help us to not do all of the things that Solomon did. Help us to make the changes necessary to remain in harmony with You. Thank You for Your mercies.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Solomon’s Ecumenical Movement

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. 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, I Kings 11:1-9

Steps: 1, 2, 3

In this section of Scripture God reveals that Solomon’s heart had been turned away from God by all of his heathen wives. God had warned Solomon of this in Deuteronomy 17:17, yet Solomon thought he was wiser than God and could handle these things on his own. Solomon did not realize that he was conducting his own ecumenical movement by getting involved with so many women of different belief systems. In the Bible a woman is equated with a church as seen in Jeremiah 6:2 “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” This concept is also seen in the New Testament as well in II Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous over you (God’s New Testament church people) with Godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” This concept is also seen in the pure woman of Revelation 12 and the impure woman of Revelation 17. When Solomon brought all of these women together he felt he could turn their hearts to God but God’s prediction was true for they turned him against God. This same warning is given to us.

Prayer for Today: Help us to recognize again that Your ways are better than ours. Help us to surrender to You and trust Your ways over our own.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Solomon’s Exposure to 666

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold. I Kings 10:14

Steps: 4, 5

In Solomon’s case he was being blessed by the presence of God. But when he began to deviate from God’s will as expressed in Deuteronomy 17 he was stepping outside of God’s blessing. It is most interesting that in Solomon’s experience he had a text written about him that contains a number used in only one other place in Scripture – Revelation 13:18. In Revelation 13:18 this number is used to describe the number of the name of the beast. This numbering concept is to show the number of a system of man rather than a system of God. The beast in Revelation 13 is clearly a system that is in rebellion against God. Sadly this same number was used to describe Solomon while he, and his government, was in rebellion against God. God told Him what He wanted and Solomon trusted in his wisdom apart from obedience to God. Solomon revealed what rebellion looks like.

Prayer for Today: God please protect us from ourselves. We know that You have given us Your Bible so that we can know what You want from us and what You want us to do and what You want us not to do. Help us not to trust in our own thinking for we know from experience where that will take us. Help us also to learn from the mistakes that Solomon made so that we don’t have to learn the hard way. Rescue us and teach us Your will and give us a heart that wants to obey rather than wants to rebel. Thank You for Your love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Solomon Begins to Violate God’s Prophecy in Deuteronomy 17:14-20

Thank you all for being patient. I have just been able to get internet connection and hopefully it will last for awhile.

And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price. I Kings 10:27-28

Steps: 4, 5

Solomon had been instructed to not accumulate the gold necessary to make silver as stones. He had also been instructed in Deuteronomy 17 not to return to Egypt to get horses. Horses were considered the tanks or planes of the Old Testament times. Those who had many horses were often tempted to go to war because of the amount of military might that they had. God wanted Israel to depend upon Him to be their defense and not on horses and warriors. The linen was also interesting for linen was the base material for making clothing a symbol of the righteousness of Jesus. To get linen from Egypt would indicate that one was seeking their understanding of spiritual things from Egypt which would be an abomination to God. All of these things, in direct violation of the straight testimony of God, indicate that Solomon was beginning to depend upon his wisdom rather than the God who gave the wisdom. This would tell us that Solomon was preparing to go farther and farther in his rebellion against his God.

Prayer for Today: God, You have granted us so many gifts and blessings that it is often difficult to remember how many things come directly from You. Help us not to get so caught up in the gifts that we forget that You are the Giver. You know how easy it is for us to forget that You are our God and we depend upon You and not on Your gifts apart from You. Thank You for allowing us to see what will happen to us if we get so caught up in our activities that we get things out of order and put Your gifts before You. Thank You for Your patience and Your willingness to get us corrected again if we go off the path of recovery.