February 23, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 12

The Kingdom Torn Away. As Moses once led his people out from slavery under the Egyptian pharaoh, so Jeroboam now leads Israel out from “slavery” under the house of David; but “Jeroboam as Moses” is soon transformed into “Jeroboam as Aaron” as he fashions golden calves for Israel to worship. Such idolatrous worship will eventually result in disaster for Israel. (ESV Study Bible)

This passage today shows the sinful heart of people. The kingdom was divided, and there was much strife happening among the people. Perhaps the most telling demonstration of the condition of the people’s hearts is that they build and worship golden calves instead of God.

28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of goldAnd he said to thepeople, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enoughBehold your godsO Israelwhobrought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Betheland the other he putin Dan. 30 Then this thing became a sinfor the people went as far as Dan to be before one. (ESV)

The king falsely gave credit to the man created gods bringing the Jewish people out of Egypt. Based on the quote at the top of this post, it should not surprise us that the Jewish people (or us) are quick to turn from the God of the Bible to counterfeit gods that are as powerful as the figments of our imaginations.

Paul David Tripp once wrote about an experience he had in India. He was touring the region and came across grotesque idols that people came from around the country to worship. He recalls a sense of superiority in being thankful that there was nothing in his life that he worshipped like those people. That superiority was quickly squandered when God brought to mind all of the other things in his life that he worshipped instead of God. Even though it was not something he was physically worshipping other than God, his heart was still worshipping counterfeit gods instead of the One True God.

What in your life do you worship other than God? Why are we so quick to forget the place that God rightly deserves in our hearts and instead worship idols instead?

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice


February 22, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 11:26-43

14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it. God has made it this way, so that men will fear him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14, NET)

Sadly, the Bible records very few lives that finish well. Today’s reading is yet another example of this fact. Solomon had more potential than any person in history. Yet, “When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been” (1 Kings 11:4, NET). He had been warned through the law that this would happen, and yet, he pursued folly with wisdom, as he later wrote in Ecclesiastes. However, as quoted above, “whatever God does will endure forever.”

Solomon’s folly led to disobedience and a wandering heart—his allegiance to the Lord faded. I believe Ecclesiastes was written toward the end of his life and the anguish and regret can be felt on every page. It’s the book to which every Emo kid can relate. His ultimate conclusion is that a life is better spent in the pursuit of Godly wisdom than anything else (and he had more of everything else than most of us can possibly imagine).

In our passage today, God makes a promise to Jeroboam. Because of Solomon’s disobedience, Jeroboam would receive all but two of the twelve tribes. The only condition is that “38 You must obey all I command you to do, follow my instructions, do what I approve, and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel” (1 Kings 11:38, NET). That’s it, it’s that simple. Take God at his word, Jeroboam, and you will have an unending throne. By the way, that is almost exactly the same promise Solomon received and look what happened.

There are two very important points in this passage, first, God’s promises last forever; and, second, God’s promises, while irrevocable, require obligation. First, although Solomon’s sin led to the division of his kingdom at the end of his life, God had made a promise to David that would not be undone. This is made abundantly clear in verse 39. As we think about the New Testament, the same is true for those who have trusted Christ for salvation, sin cannot break the promises of God (1 John 5:13).

However, to my second point, God’s promises require obligation. Based on my first point, you might say, “Tyler, are you saying that a person can be truly saved and live in unrepentant sin the rest of their life?” The answer is hypothetically, yes (see Romans 6:1–2). I use the word hypothetically because if a person is truly saved, life-change should be evident (see James 2:18). God made a promise to David, Solomon did not live faithfully, God allowed Solomon’s line to endure because of his promise to David and, ultimately, that’s the line through which Christ fulfilled God’s promise. That should be a huge comfort for Christians to know that your salvation is based on God’s promise and not your goodness. However, in your salvation, the right response is good works (see Ephesians 2:10).

Salvation was, is, and always will be in taking God at his word—faith in God’s provision. Take another look at Romans 10:13 and ask yourself, “what is a right response today for such a great salvation?”  

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

February 21, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 11:1-25

What in the world was Solomon thinking? That’s the first thing I ask myself when reading 1 Kings 11. Verse 2 repeats Exodus 34:16 You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” This is concerning women of different religions and outside of his first marriage. One verse later (v. 3) it then says Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (prostitutes). Solomon didn’t just cross the clear line God gave regarding the covenant of marriage between one man and woman, but instead bulldozed past that line.

In the passages following verse 3 we see how this was a great evil in the eyes of the Lord and led to the false worship of those other women’s false gods. Not just for Solomon but for God’s people who he influenced. We see how wide and far these consequences effect the kingdom in this chapter and sadly it’s part of his legacy as he passes at the end of this chapter.

This is especially relevant for us today as we see how tempting it is for husbands and wives to break their marital covenants between God and each other. We may even justify it by saying the “wisest” king in the Bible had 699 and 300 more affairs than my one, tryst but the consequences are the same and the legacy we can leave is similar. In fact, Russell Moore (President of ERLC) recently said that a wise pastor friend of his told his congregation concerning adultery: “Jesus will forgive you. Your wife might. Your children will not.”  This is not going to be Gospel truth for every circumstance but we get the point when we read about the consequences of Solomon’s affairs and even think about others today.

May this be a warning from God to fight against temptation and to not put our selves in the places where those desires and opportunities meet. God is faithful in His covenant with us and gives us hope as we see the fruit from that faithfulness. We can give that same security and peace to our spouses and children that we receive when reflecting on His promise-keeping covenantal love with us.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

February 20, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 10

Today, we see the interaction between King Solomon and the queen of Sheba. This queen, having heard of Solomon because news of his wisdom and wealth has spread around the world, comes to test him with “hard questions.”

We have already seen that Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom (1 Kings 3), and the Lord answers his prayer! Solomon passes the queen’s test easily, and she is amazed by his wisdom. The king actually took her breath away (v.5)!

This chapter also details all the wealth that Solomon had acquired. He received 25 tons of gold each year! Take a moment to think about how much that really is… His wealth and wisdom surpassed that of anyone who had ever come before him!

23 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 24 People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 25 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.

Solomon was certainly richer and wiser than any other king on earth. Yet, despite all his wisdom and wealth, he isn’t the greatest king in the history of the world. In comparison to the King of kings, he falls overwhelmingly short.

Sometimes I underestimate the power, authority, and majesty of our King Jesus. Solomon was richer than any other person on earth, but Jesus, creator of all things (Col. 1:15-16), has ruled over all the riches and wealth from the beginning of time. Solomon had much wisdom, but in Christ there is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Solomon’s reign came to an end after his death, but Jesus’s reign began after he died and rose again, establishing himself as the Supreme Ruler — even over death.

Some questions to ask yourself this week:

Am I more impressed with the accomplishments of man or the majesty of my Savior?

Solomon’s wisdom was from God…  Do I trust more in the advice of man or in the wisdom of God’s & His Word?

By: Lucas Taylor — Worship Ministry Intern