Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Downfall and Destruction

Today's Reading:
1 Kings 12:20-13:34
1 Corinthians 15:29-58
Psalm 92:1-15
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Focus Verses: 1 Kings 12:31-32; 13:31
12:31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. - - - 13:31 This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.

Jeroboam was promised, through the Prophet Ahijah, that God would make him a great king like David if he would walk in obedience to God and do what was right in God's eyes by obeying God's decrees and commands, as David had (1 Kings 11:38). Instead, Jeroboam decided to seek other advice and take things into his own hands. Rather than trusting God, he decided to invent his own religion.

Jeroboam was afraid that the people in the northern ten tribes under his rule would not be politically faithful to him as king if the priests, practices, and temple for their worship were located in Jerusalem. He set up new altars, new practices, a new priesthood, and a new worship center within the geographic borders of his kingdom. Instead of it being a pathway for true faith in the true God, Jeroboam saw religion as a political tool. Instead of trusting God's promise, he trusted his political and military advisers.

Response and Action:
I want to trust God's promises more than I trust my own abilities and understanding. I need to examine all of my personal goals, thoughts, beliefs, and efforts by the light of God's instruction and promise. I need to be sure that my religious practices and perspectives are rooted in a genuine relationship with God. I need to trust that when I acknowledge God in every aspect of life—submitting to his commands and leaning into his gracious provision—he will make my path straight.

O God, help me to live for you and through you in thought, word, and deed. Help me to turn away from what is wrong and to do what is right. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. By the power and grace of your Holy Spirit, lead, teach, transform, shape, and strengthen me, that I might delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your Name. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Counterfeit Gods
by Timothy Keller

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