Coming from behind has a way of getting inside of your head. You feel like you’ll just never catch up. So, it's best not to let yourself fall behind in the first place. But, that's not real life, right?
Live long enough and you're bound to experience some type of setback one way or another. Perseverance and determination are key to finishing the race, regardless how far behind you might be.
That's why I've had tunnel vision lately, reading three days worth of chapters every day. I'm determined to catch up to where I'm supposed to be on this one-year schedule, and I've had time for little else.
So, instead of getting off the expressway for a quick snack at the rest stop, let’s just keep on going directly to some of my raw, unprocessed, undigested notes...
Day 97-99 - 1 Kings chapters 11-19
(Click the links if you'd like to read the Bible passages.)
11:1-2 - What's up with Solomon's preference for foreign women? The local girls weren’t sophisticated or exotic enough for him? I can almost hear him saying, “I got this! They can’t sway me. I’m in control of my own mind, not them.”
11:5-8 - So much for Solomon’s wisdom, huh? As wise as he was, he still wasn’t smart enough to resist the temptation to embrace foreign gods. None of us is immune to the type of spiritual influence that accompanies idol worship, especially when those influences are introduced by people we care about. In modern times, that could be the music we listen to, the compromises we make in the area of sexual encounters, the white lies we are convinced by our peers to tell.
11:9-10 - It's interesting to me how Solomon seemed even closer to God than David, experiencing peace and prosperity like never before. And here his kingdom, like its king, is about to fall. Aren't we all kings and queens of our microcosmic kingdoms? Shouldn't we all take a lesson here?
12:10-11 - This is a classic example of how people ask person after person for advice until they get the answer they wanted all along. All we want is validation to do what is in our hearts to do already. This is also a classic example of how young people foolishly toss aside the advice of those who have lived long enough to see it all. The elders have already fallen out of the trees the young folks are trying to climb, as they say. Yet the young folks refuse to listen.
12:28 - Oh for goodness sake!!! What is wrong with these people? Why do they keep creating gods to worship when they have example after example of what has happened to those who made the same fatal mistake?!?
12:29 - According to a map I looked up, Bethel was near the southern border of Israel not far from Jerusalem in Judah, and Dan was near Israel's northern border with Syria. So Jeroboam made it easier for the people to travel shorter distances to worship. And just like human nature dictates, the people probably fell into this trap of convenience. Instead of doing what's right, we do what's easy. And that leads to destruction every time.
12:33 - And he did all this to please the people, not to please God. Because he was fearful of losing his people, Jeroboam made up his own religion, his own religious days of observance, and his own feasts to attract the attention of the people away from Jerusalem and the temple. Isn't this what society does today when people toss aside Biblical teachings for feel-good, self-help, motivational messages of convenience?
14:9,16 - He turned his back on God, and God considers that to be more evil than murder apparently (as in David and Uriah). Not only did Jeroboam turn his own back but he led the people into the wrong direction as well, which apparently was more evil than just worshiping idols himself. When we turn our backs on God, and take others with us, that's the ultimate betrayal in His eyes.
14:21-22 - Did Rehoboam simply pick up and continue his mother’s religious practices? How many of us are raised in a certain religion that we continued practicing out of tradition? When we’re raised doing something, we don’t see the harm in it. It’s difficult to turn your back on it.
14:23 - Idol worship and false gods seem to anger God more than anything else. Maybe that's why the first of the Ten Commandments says not to put any other gods before Him.
17:13 - I might have thought, “Make something for you first? But did you eat today? My son and I haven’t eaten since who knows when. And my child is starving! But you want me to make you something to eat first? Then feed my child? Alright but it’s only because you come in the name of the Almighty God.” Then I would’ve walked away looking at him sideways. God’s instructions may not always make sense to us. But if we trust Him in those instances, the reward is plentiful.
18:21 - You cannot serve two masters. Were the people so severely misled that they didn't know that worshiping Baal was an insult to God? Were they not taught the commandments? How many generations removed from truth were they at this point?
I guess after being led by so many kings in Israel who worshiped pagan gods, the people were not only desensitized, but embraced the values of the current culture. Doesn't this sound familiar?
Our current culture is so uninformed about God that they are offended by His Word. For so long, the Scriptures have fallen out of favor. God is like Santa Claus to many. Jesus is a fraud to many. Prayer is wishful thinking to many. Worship is directed toward material possessions.
People idolize actors, musicians, and athletes more than they idolize God. What's sad is that most people don't even realize that they're doing anything wrong, just like these people in the above verse apparently.
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